Every poker player needs to understand how to make pot odds easy. Pot Odds is simply the amount of money already in the pot relative to the bet size that we are facing. All money including what the blinds have been forced to put in the pot should be counted. Our Pot Odds will help to determine what kind of hands we should be playing. Generally, you should not play a hand simply because you are getting good pot odds, but it can be a contributing factor. Ex. You are in the Big blind at a $5/$10 NLHE game and an early position player min raises to $20. Three other opponents and the small blind call(total of 5 opponents counting the pre flop raiser) making the pot 20+20+20+20+20+10(BB)=$110. For just $10 more you can see the flop so your pot odds are 11-1. So why does all of this matter? I want you to think about the concept of Expected Value again. Heads up against the best hand in poker (AA) a hand like 65 suited will only have around a 20% chance of winning by the river. So generally when you are out of position even if you are getting 4-1 to make a call it still won’t make sense. However, if you are getting 11-1 on your money with a hand like 65 suited it is hard to imagine that you will not have the appropriate odds to make a call. The interesting thing about a hand like 65 suited is that it will probably have close to 20% equity even against 4 other hands including AA. The reason this hand plays so well in multi-way pots is because a lot of its equity is realized through straights and flushes. Having the fundamentals in your head will make pot odds easy for you to calculate on the fly.
Pot odds are especially useful when deciding whether or not to make a call with a flush draw. If you look solely at the pot odds you will not want to call a pot sized bet with a flush draw. Basically you will be getting only 2-1 on your money and you will need something more like 4-1. The odds are slightly worse for an open straight draw because you have only 8 outs. Gutshot draws are especially difficult to hit because you have only 4 outs and it is very important that you have the appropriate pot odds and implied odds if you plan to make calls.
I will leave it to the reader to determine the odds of turning trips, two pair, etc. All of those type of draws are relatively poor and generally should not be chased. As you can see pot odds and math plays a roll in our decision making at numerous points in the hand. However, keep in mind that while mathematics and pot odds can be precise how to play a hand will depend on a variety of factors. I will post about Implied odds soon and why those are in many ways much more important than pot odds