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Counting & Calculating Outs

Poker Article: Counting & Calculating OutsPoker playing class is in session. If you’ll all find your seats and take out your notebook it’s time for today’s lesson: counting and calculating outs– we will be learning some of the math of poker. (collective moan from the classroom).

Now, before you all ask for your hall pass and beg for no homework, just pay attention for a few short minutes and give it a chance. After all, this isn’t algebra or trigonometry – it is a matter of calculating simple math, and it will help you be better equipped for decision making at the card table.

Outs are the number of cards that are left in the deck that will make your hand

After being dealt two hole cards and seeing either three or four cards on the flop or four on the turn we begin calculating how many outs we have remaining in the 52 card deck. Here’s a few quick examples:

  • You have the nut flush draw after the flop with two diamonds in your hand and two on board. There are 13 diamond cards in the deck and you know where 4 are. This means you have nine outs to make the nut flush.
  • You are holding A-K on the turn with all low cards on board. You are pretty sure if you hit an ace or a king you will have the best hand. There are three more kings and three more aces in the deck – you have six outs.

While calculating and counting how many outs you have is important, it is only part of the puzzle. Part two of our lesson will be approximating what the likelihood of you hitting your hand will be, an important part in knowing the odds. Searching various resources will allow you to find the exact odds of making any hand, but what use is that while we’re at the table?

Besides, we’re poker players: we don’t have the time or patience to memorize every percentage. Instead your professor is going to give you a quick shortcut to calculating these complex odds.

After the flop

To find the odds of catching your card after the flop apply the following formula:

  1. Determine the number of outs that you have.
  2. Multiply that number by four.
  3. Take the answer and put it in a percentage.

Here’s some examples:

  • Two over cards – 6 outs * 4 = 24%
  • Flush Draw – 9 outs * 4 = 36%
  • Straight draw with one over card – 11 outs * 4 = 44%

By using this formula for calculating your odds you will never be more than 3% off on any calculation. When you have 14 or more outs this formula is not as accurate, however, you will be the statistical favorite to win the hand.

After the turn

To find your outs after the turn, follow a similar formula with minor adjustments. After counting the number of outs that you have:

  1. Multiply that number by two.
  2. Add two.
  3. Take that answer and put it into a percentage.

Here’s some examples:

  • Straight draw – ( 8 outs * 2 )+ 2 = 18%
  • Straight flush draw – (15 outs * 2) + 2 = 32%

Calculating your odds by using this formula yields more accurate results, as you will never be off by more than 1% than the real calculation.

Most can remember sitting in math class back in high school wondering “When will I ever need to know this?” Hopefully this is one math lesson that you can remember. Now, go do your homework, make some smart math-based decisions that will help you make money and I’ll see you at the tables for your pop quiz.

By Thomas Bostic
Poker Expert

Article courtesy of Vegas Poker rakeback program.

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