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Figure Poker Odds Easily!

Jul 13, 2008
When you're sitting at the poker table, calculating the exact odds of hitting a drawing hand is very difficult to do. You will not be able to do it, unless like one well known pro, you're a genius with a gift for mathematics. Therefore, most of us can do one of two things. The first thing you can do is to spend time using a calculator, which would make you look like a total idiot at the tables, to compute the countless number of combinations of draws -- then memorize them. If you have a remarkable memory, you'll always know the odds this way -- no matter what hand you draw. There is a second, and easier way to estimate the odds.

First, you have to determine the number of "outs" you have. Any card that gives you a made hand is an "out". Simply count the number of cards that remain in the deck that could potentially make your hand. Suppose, for example, you hold Ac 8c and the flop comes Qh 9c 4c. You are looking at a potential flush. With the two clubs in your hand and the two on the board, you are looking at four of the thirteen clubs in the deck. Nine clubs remain in the deck, and you have two chances to hit one of them.

Now you will estimate your chance of hitting the flush by first multiplying the number of outs by the number of chances you have to hit the one of them. In this example, your result would be 18 (nine outs times two chances). Then multiply your result by two and add a percent sign after it. This will estimate the odds that you will draw a winning card. In this example, you should draw to the flush about 36 times out of 100. (34.97% is the exact percentage.)

Let's try it again. On the same flop, let's say you hold the Jd Th. You would have an open ended straight draw, in this case, with eight outs to hit the straight (four kings and four eights). You have two chances to draw one of eight outs giving you sixteen outs. Multiply this number by two and you can approximate your chances of getting a straight at 32% (31.46% exactly.)

The percentage stated is merely the percentage of the time that you will hit the hand you are drawing to; it's important to keep in mind that it's NOT the percentage of time that you will win the pot. You can still lose even if you hit your hand. In the first example, the Qc would pair the board and could give another player a full house. In the second example, either the Kc or the 8c would put a possible flush on the board. You could get your straight and still lose. Although not a guarantee to win, knowing the odds and how to estimate them should help to improve your game.

Good luck at the tables,
Scott
About the Author
I have played poker online and live successfully. I have compiled a totally free mini e-course on Texas Hold Em designed to improve both your game and your bankroll. Please access this complimentary course at: http://hstrial-pokerbook.homestead.com/indexpoker.html
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