The Concept of Odds in Poker and Sports Betting

Poker and sports betting may have more in common than you think. Not only that, in both games, you can bet on a particular outcome (who will win the WSOP Main Event or the Super Bowl) but also on the strategy applied in the decision-making process.

Poker odds

The concept of poker odds is applied in two ways:

  1. As a relationship between the money on the table and the bet you are facing (called pot odds);
  2. As the probability of winning a hand according to the available cards.

A professional player uses poker odds to make decisions on each hand he plays. In the long term, EV+ choices are rewarded in profits. Interestingly, poker is a game of math and people because when you bluff your opponent (that is, betting when your hand is not good, so the villain folds), you are instinctively betting, and you don’t follow the odds.

Professional poker players use advanced software to calculate poker odds and develop comprehensive strategies to beat the game in the long run.

Sports betting odds

Sports betting is all about odds. In this game, you choose an event (recently the bookmakers accept bets on sports games and elections, who will win an award, etc.).

Therefore, no matter what kind of bet you make (teaser, spread, parlay, etc.), you will always get specific odds.

Odds are related to the probability of the outcome of any event and are usually shown as two numbers divided by a slash, for example, 4/1 means that there is a 20% chance that the particular event will occur.

But in sports betting, odds tell bettors how much money they will make if their prediction is correct. Using the same 4/1 example, it means that for every $1 you bet, you win $4.

Bookmakers study events, such as checking the outcome of the latest games, teams, best players, etc. and then offer odds to bettors. Of course, the more likely an event is, the lower the odds are.

A professional gambler will always try to find a balance between good odds and the likelihood of an event.

Odds in sports betting and poker

Although both disciplines use odds, poker odds can be considered a decision-making tool, while sports betting odds are mainly used to determine how much money you can:

  • In sports betting, better odds mean a better payout;
  • In poker, the best odds are a higher probability of winning a particular hand;
  • Higher odds are always a right decision in poker;
  • The higher odds in sports betting are usually related to unlikely events (like a world champ losing to a rookie);
  • A poker player must calculate the odds;
  • Odds are available for sports betting.

As you can see, the concept of odds is used in poker and sports betting, but from a different perspective. A poker player will always search for the best odds, which means that he is making the right bets according to the money in the pot and the probabilities.

Many people compare poker to the stock market, and most of them are right because the tools used for making decisions at poker tables can also be used to buy and sell stocks.

A sports fan should check out why the odds are so good and be sure to understand that even with high odds, it may be a better decision to choose another bet.

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Having worked in the marketing department at two online sports betting sites, John brings his love of sports to serve BigOnSports as chief writer. He will be researching and writing about the sports betting community to improve your experience as a sports bettor.