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Odds: Part I - Introduction

by Steve Zolotow |  Published: Feb 18, 2015


Everyone who does any kind of wagering, betting, or investing should become familiar with odds, probabilities, and many related concepts. This column will introduce some of the basics of odds, and discuss the poker-related ideas of pot odds and card odds. Odds are a method of comparing one group of outcomes to another group of outcomes. True odds reflect the real chance of something happening. If you roll one die, there are six possible outcomes. What are the odds of rolling a one? There are five numbers that aren’t one, and only a single one. The odds against rolling a one are 5 to 1. This simple statement compares the two groups of outcomes, but it conceals several important ideas. First, if something will happen less than half the time, it is ’against’ the odds. These events are often referred to as underdogs or dogs. If something happens more than ...

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