In texas hold'em poker tournaments there will be situations where you are trying to make a hand and you will be faced with a decision as to fold the hand or call a large bet to stay in. In these situations if you know the odds of you making your hand then you will be able to make an informed decision.
There are many factors to consider when deciding weather or not to "chase" a hand in texas hold'em poker. One factor is if you make the hand will it be the winning hand. Another factor is what does your opponent have and is he chasing a hand. If he is chasing a hand what is it likely to be, and if he makes his hand will it beat your made hand. The final factor to consider is what are the odds you will make the hand your "chasing".
First of all you should take some time to study some of the common hold'em strategy and tactics. This way you will know what starting hands are likely played in given situations. Also you should have some understanding of the common methods of hold'em poker. This will help you to identify opponents hand strengths by the way they play a given hand.
I think it would be good to cover a few of the common hold'em poker hands you will find yourself chasing. Below are some of the most common situational hold'em hand odds:
1. Your starting hand is ace of clubs and 4 of clubs. The flop contains two clubs. Now you have four clubs of a flush and you only need one more club from the next two community cards. What are the chances you will make your flush? The answer is you will make your flush 54% of the time. If you miss the club on the turn then you are down to a 24% chance of getting it on the river.
2. Your starting hand is ten of hearts and ten of diamonds. The flop comes and there are no tens in it. What are your chances of making your set. The answer is only 9% of the time will you make your set on the turn or river. If you miss your third ten on the turn your chances of making your set on the river drops to 4%.
3. Your starting hand is eight of clubs and nine of spades. The flop is 7-10-2 all of different suits. This gives you and open-ended straight draw. You now only need a jack or a six to make your straight. Your chances of making your straight in this situation is 46% to make it on one of the next two community cards. If you miss it on the turn you are still 21% to make it on the river.
Another important factor when determining your odds of making a given poker hand is how many players folded their hole cards and what that can tell you about there starting hand strength. This intern can give you some idea of cards that may still be in play. Also the number of people in in any given texas hold'em poker hand greatly effects the hand strength of many starting hands. An example of this is that with a table of ten players playing texas hold'em poker the top five starting hands according to hand strength and hold'em hand odds are A-A, K-K, Q-Q, J-J,A-Ks. However; When only six players are in the hand the top five starting hands according to hand strength and hold'em hand odds are A-A, K-K, Q-Q, J-J,T-T. Notice when less players are in the hand the pocket tens have a higher starting hand strength and better hold'em hand odds than the ace-king suited. When there are only two players in a hand(heads-up) the top five starting hands according to hand strength and hold'em hand odds are A-A, K-K, Q-Q, A-Ks,A-K. Notice in heads up play the ace king suited and ace king off suit have a higher starting hand strength and better hold'em hand odds than pocket jacks and pocket tens. This should give you some insight into what pocket cards are best in different situations. Your hole cards may be have a great starting hand strength at a full table, but the same pocket cards may be at a disadvantage just because there are less people at the table or in on the poker hand.
Texas hold'em hand odds have to be put into the right context. Just because your starting hand strength is higher than your opponents doesn't mean you will win. It doesn't even mean you are necessarily more likely to win. The only thing starting hand strength means is just that. Starting hand strength. To illustrate my point I will use an example. Say your starting hand is pocket aces. Your opponents starting hand is also a pocket pair. You have only a relatively small advantage over your opponent. This is because you will win the hand if no one improves their hand or if you improve your hand. Your opponent has the same hold'em hand odds of making a set as you. So even though your opponent has his pocket twos against your pocket aces if there is a two in the community cards and no aces you will lose just the same as if he had pocket kings and made a set of kings. The mathematical probabilities are the same. However; it is more likely the aces will win because in two of the three possible outcomes the aces would have the higher hand strength. Perhaps a better example would be the same starting hand of pocket aces against a king and queen of the same suit. The starting hand of pocket aces can only be improved for the most part by one of the two aces remaining in the deck coming out in the community cards. The king queen suited has a higher probability of making two pair than the aces do of making their set. Also the king queen suited has the possibility of much higher hand strengths like a flush and straight. Again the starting hand strength of pocket aces is very high, but as you can see there would be many cards that could come that would give the king queen suited the winning hand in the end. In this example the pocket aces still have the starting hand strength and hold'em hand odds to their advantage so more often the pocket aces would win.
Finally you have to understand that all the hold'em hand odds take for granted that your two hole cards are known, the community cards are known, and treats the remaining cards as unknown. What this means is if your starting hand is pocket queens and two of your opponents starting hands contain a queen then your chances of making a set of queens isn't very good. In any given poker hand the cards of your opponents can only be guessed at and it is in studying their behavior over time that will help you make this determination. Taking into account hold'em hand odds and starting hand strength are tools to be part of any texas hold'em poker players decision making process. In doing so your chances of winning any given texas hold'em poker hand will be greatly increased.