Today I´m going to teach you how to calculate poker odds and outs. Counting odds and outs is very simple math. If you don´t like math, don´t worry. I don’t´t really like math either. There is a stereotype out there, that all people with Asperger´s syndrome are into math, computers and technology. That is not correct! I´m not good with either math, computers or technology. Luckily, you don´t need to be talented in math to become a good poker player. You only need simple math. No quantum mechanics are needed! And if you are good at math, odds and outs are going to be piece of cake for you.
On today´s post, I´m going to teach you how to count your outs first. Then I´m going to reveal a very easy way to count your odds. I´m also going to explain how to count your pot odds, so that you can decide can you call a bet profitably. Last, I will talk about implied odds and how they affect the pot odds.
How Many Outs Do You Have?
An out in poker is a card that you need to make a hand. So counting outs means counting how many cards there are left in the deck that can make your hand.
An example: You are hoping to make a flush, say, a diamond flush. Your pocket cards are two diamonds, and there are two diamond cards on the flop. You are hoping to get the fifth diamond on the turn or river. There are 13 cards of each flush on the deck. You have two of them, and another two are on the flop. So there are 9 diamond cards left in the deck. That means you have 9 outs to hit the flush on the turn or river. Counting outs does not take into account the possibility, that your opponent may have some of your out cards. We can´t know what our opponent is holding, so we count outs as if all the outs were in the deck.
There are some common drawing hand outs on the flop you should learn by heart. The more there are outs, the better the probability of making the hand. Here is a list of the common drawing hand outs on the flop:
Drawing Hand Number of Outs Example Pocket Cards / Flop Cards
3 of a kind 2 K♠ A♥ K♣ 8♦ 2♥
8♥ 8♦ Q♥ 3♥ 9♣
Full house 4 8♦ 7♦ 8♥ J♠ 7♠
6♥ 6♠ 5♠ 5♣ K♣
Inside (gutshot) straight draw 4 Q♠ J♠ 9♠ 8♦ A♥
Open-ended straight draw 8 T♦ J♥ 8♣ 9♥ 4♠
Straight and flush draw 15 9♥ 8♥ T♥ 7♣ 3♥
An Easy Way To Count The Odds
Odds in poker are the probability to hit an out on the turn or river. That means the percentage of times you hit the out. There is a very easy way to count the odds. Of course, there is also a complicated way to count the odds, which gives a more accurate number. However, we don´t need to deal with that. The simple calculation gives a result close enough to the accurate result to make the right decision. This is the easy way:
On the flop: Outs x 4
Simply multiply your outs by four, and you will get the odds to hit your out either on the turn or on the river.
If you have 2 outs, count 2 x 4. You get 8. That is your odds. So you have an 8% probability to hit an out on the turn or on the river.
With 15 outs, count 15 x 4. You get 60. You have a 60% possibility to hit an out on the turn or on the river.
On the turn: Outs x 2
On the turn you multiply your outs by two. You will get the odds to hit your out on the river.
Again, if you have 2 outs, count 2 x 2. You get 4. You have a 4% probability to hit an out on the river.
If you have 15 outs, count 15 x 2. You have a 30% probability to hit an out on the river.
Easy, right? As you can see, counting the odds is easy enough to do in your head. But you need to know the outs, so that you can count the odds. That´s why it is a good idea to learn the most common outs.
Pot Odds – Can You Profitably Call The Bet?
When you know your odds, you can also count your pot odds. Pot odds mean basically is there enough money in the pot to make a call profitable.
You get the pot odds by comparing the size of the pot with the size of the bet. An example: There is 3000 in the pot. Your opponent bets 1000. That is what you need to invest if you call. You need to add in the pot the opponent´s bet and your call: 3000 + 1000 + 1000 = 5000. 5000 is the total pot including your opponent´s bet and your call. Now you have to compare the total pot and the bet size: 5000:1000. Pot odds are 5:1. So the investment you need is 20% of the pot.
Now let´s say you have an open-ended straight draw on the flop. You have 8 outs on the flop, which you multiply by 4. Your odds are 32%.
Should you call? Yes. Your odds to hit your draw either on the turn or on the river are 32%. You only need to invest 20% of the pot, so your odds are bigger than the investment needed.
In the same situation, let´s assume the opponent bets 3000 into a pot of 3000. Now the total pot is 3000 + 3000 + 3000 = 9000. Pot odds are 9000:3000 or 3:1 or 33%. Now you should fold, because the investment needed is slightly bigger than your odds, 32%.
Implied Odds Affect The Pot Odds
There is a factor that can increase your pot odds: Implied odds. If you can expect your opponent to make another bet or call your bet on the turn or river, you can expect to win more than just the original pot if you hit your draw.
An example: Let´s return to the previous example with the pot of 3000. Your opponent bets 1000. The total pot is 5000. However, after making the bet on the flop, your opponent has 2000 left in his stack. You expect him to go all-in with his remaining stack on the turn. So if you hit your draw, you can win 2000 more. Add the 2000 to the original pot: 5000 + 2000 = 7000. Compare this pot with the 1000 bet. 7000:1000 = 7:1. That is approximately 14%.
Implied odds make the pot odds better for you. However, you should not overestimate the implied odds. You need to be realistic and analyze your opponent. Can you really expect him to bet again or call your bet if you hit a flush, for example?
Poker Odds And Outs – Master Them To Perfection
Once you learn how to calculate poker odds, outs and pot odds, you should keep practicing and making calculations. You can think about them in a way that is easy to remember for you, as long as it´s mathematically correct. It´s going to be very helpful for your game, if you don´t need to count the odds too much at the table, because you know them so well you know them automatically. To get to that point, you need to calculate different pot odds scenarios off the table.
Odds and outs are a very basic aspect of poker, and mastering the basics to perfection is the key to becoming a great poker player. In fact, mastering the basics is the key to becoming great at almost anything.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comment section below!