Poker Bankroll Texas Hold 'em Preflop Odds Explained

Texas Hold 'em Preflop Odds Explained

In Texas Hold'em, there are different kinds of “odds” when dealt a hand. There are preflop, flop, and pot odds. The preflop odds are the easiest to calculate, and only change with the amount of players in a a hand, as there are less cards left in the deck to flop. There are many printable charts that will show you all kinds of information regarding preflop odds, but the thing to keep in mind are the “outs” for a particular starting hand. The outs are even more important when playing against many players (most tables can seat 8 or more players), and while hardly anyone knows every single mathematical variation for any given hand, it's wise to know the averages.

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The average out for a given hand should be used as a guideline only, because the “equation” of poker has many more variables than just the starting Texas Hold 'em Preflop Odds. Starting hand odds mean even less in competition, as heavy bluffing and large stack bullying will push out the mathematician quickly. If you have seen many starting hand charts, as the one linked above, you can readily assess your starting hand with relative accuracy because the odds won't change considerably when accounting for the number of players. Memorization is not required either, because after playing a few thousand hands the odds will become easier to remember. Odd charts are GUIDELINES.

Most player confusion comes when sitting at a table with eight players, and being dealt something in the middle, like K-5 suited. While charts and mathematics will tell you to fold this hand, knowing your opponents and how they have been playing is often far more advantageous than numbers from a chart. The charts will tell you that this hand should be either folded, or limped in (called) late. If a K falls on the flop as an overcard, the numbers shift, and this hand is now highly playable.

Also, coming “over the top” (raising large) when you are first to act will push out over half of the players, and the ones who remain either have decent hands or think you are bluffing. Having a K-5, coming over the top, and having one or more Kings fall on the flop almost guarantees a win. If no kings or 5's fall on the flop, or someone re-raises you after the flop, it would be a good idea to fold this middle hand. Many tournament players who adhered strictly to math and charts alone will eventually lose because of high bluffs, and having the “Starting Odds” not cull in their favor.

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