# Poker Odds and Outs

March 20, 2009

For most new poker players, the thought of all this math can seem overwhelming, even intimidating. You are too busy trying to keep track of tells, what cards to play in what position, and how much to bet on your “Cowboys.” So where do outs belong? Everywhere! If you need to make a better hand, you need an out. If you look below, we have described what poker outs are and how to use them. While you continue to progress, you will need to combine your knowledge of poker outs with pot odds to eventually learn your overall outcome, or expected value.

What Are Poker Outs?

Simply defined, poker outs are the remaining cards in the deck that will better your hand. Not always to the best hand or the “nuts”. For example, if you have Ac 10c and the flop comes 2c 5c Jd then you are drawing to the “nut” flush. So how many outs do you have? How do you figure that out on your own? Using the example above, like this:

52 cards = 13 cards per suit
4 suits

13 cards per suit
-4 suited cards you see ( hole cards & flop)
9 outs to make your hand
Simple enough right? You apply the same idea to the Turn as well. In most cases you will hardly notice a difference in odds when applying the same outs to the Turn and the River. This is an essential tool and a “must have” for every poker player, especially beginners. And if all this math intimidates you, do not worry, most of your outs and odds will be similar and you will eventually memorize them.

What Are Poker Odds?

To know whether or not you are getting a “good price” to call to chase your draws, you need to have an understanding of pot odds and how it relates to your draws and overall expected value. So what are pot odds? They are the ratio of the money in the pot to be won, and the current amount of money to call to potentially win that pot. To explain better, here is an example:

You are sitting at a 6 handed table with the blinds at 100-200. Everyone folds to you and you limp in for \$200. The Small Blind calls for another \$100 and the Big Blind checks his option and you see the flop. The pot currently has \$600 in it. After the flop the Small Blind decides to lead out with a bet of \$300 and the Big Blind calls. Now it is up to you. What are your pot odds? \$1200 in the pot and \$300 to call is equaled to 1200-300 or simplified 4-1.

\$1200 or simplified \$4 or 4 to 1
\$300 \$1

So as you can see, it is pretty simple to figure your pot odds. And using the example above, if you called and it went to the turn, there would be \$1500 in the pot. Now if the small blind bet \$300 again and the Big Blind called, what would your odds be now?

\$1500 + \$300(SB) + \$300(BB) = \$2100 = 7 to 1
Your bet/call should be around \$300 or less.

Hopefully now you understand how to figure out pot odds. In the long run, this is one of many tools you will need to know to make correct decisions at the poker table. When used with your card odds you can figure out your expected value, or to simplify it, how much money you will make or lose in the long run.

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