Poker Outs & Poker Odds

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Wonder how televised poker knows the exact odds of winning for all players at the table? It's not magic. They calculate poker outs and formulate odds on the basis of these.

As a player, calculating these figures is extremely important as it will guide the decisions you make at the table. Whether you are just a poker beginner or want to improve your poker game it's essential you learn how to count your outs and calculate your odds.

This article will show you how to count the exact number of poker outs you can hit to win a hand and how to convert your outs into odds.

What is a poker out?

Ace and KingIf you are planning to place a bet or to try your luck playing poker, pay attention to these tips and tricks.

After you've gotten your initial cards dealt, you usually need to draw or hit certain cards to make your hand a winner. Outs are the all the possible cards you could get to improve your hand. In simpler terms, an out is any card that will give you the best hand.

Before you start, it is a good idea to learn your poker hand rankings. After you know these rankings you need to be able to read the table. For example, look for possible straights, flushes, or pairs.

The more time you spend practicing counting your outs, the simpler it will become. Most commonly, you'll be talking about how many outs you have after the flop in Texas Hold'em.

How to count your outs?

Calculating Poker outs is basic arithmetic. The more outs you have, the better your odds are of improving your hand or winning.

As mentioned before your outs are generally determined after the flop is dealt. However, they can come into play as odds before the flop.

Just to note, a player with a hand of AA (double aces) has more outs than anyone else as there are many other cards that can be paired with AA to form a winning hand.

Counting your odds is quite simple. Its all about counting the cards left in the deck that would give you the best possible hand.

For example, if you have two hearts and you get two on the flop there are still nine hearts left. Therefore you have nine outs. Likewise, if you have an inside straight draw and just need a seven, there are four sevens left. That means your outs are four.

The chart below illustrates the number of outs for the most common poker hands.

Poker Outs

What are poker odds?

poker chipsPoker is a game of odds, every hand you play has a different effect on your odds and probability.

Poker odds are any player's probability to win that game with the cards in their hands. In other words, the odds players are offered by the pot to make a call.

How to calculate your odds?

After you have mastered how to count your outs you can then calculate the chance of the card you need coming next out of the deck.

For example, you hold a pair of 2's and you want to make a three-of-a-kind.

There are 2 2's left in the deck which means you have 2 outs

You are holding 2 cards in your hand and there are four cards exposed on the table from the flop and the turn, which means that there 46 unseen cards left.

It's important to ignore the cards that your opponent is holding as the calculations are only based on the cards you can see and what should be left in the deck.

Next, subtract the number of unseen cards left in the deck from the number of outs you have: 46 unseen cards – 2 winning cards = 44. Therefore, the odds of you getting a card to complete your flush is 44 to 2. This simplifies down to 22:1 odds, as shown in the chart below.

This means that you have a 22-1 chance of the card you need coming out of the deck.

What constitutes good odds

After you have learned what your odds are it's equally important to know whether you should call a bet, go all in or fold.

It is simple to spot good odds, good odds give you a high percentage chance of winning a hand.

If your odds are similar to  4-1 or 3-1 odds it is best to bet with caution.

If your odds are 2.5 -1 or above, there is a high chance of winning. Therefore, players could go all in if they wish. Odds of 4.88 or lower are considered bad odds. So, it is advised that players fold or bet the minimal amount.

The chart below illustrates some common poker odds and their percentage of winning. 

poker odds chart

 

For readers interested in learning about basic poker strategy, check out our guide and tips to get your first win!