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Figuring Odds Got You Down?

Jul 16, 2008
To calculate the exact odds of hitting a drawing hand in Texas Hold Em is very difficult while you are sitting at the poker table. You will not be able to accomplish it, unless you are a prodigy with a gift for mathematics like a well known pro. The rest of us have one of two choices: either use a calculator at home, you definitely can't use it at the tables, learning all the possible odds, and memorize the draws. You always know the odds in any situation comes up. There is a simpler method, though, if your memory is less than perfect. There is an effortless technique for approximating those odds.

First you need to figure out how many "outs" you have. Any card giving you a made hand is termed an "out". Simply count the number of available cards which give you the hand you are drawing for. For instance, let's suppose you hold Ac 8c, then the flop comes out to be Qh 9c 4c. Out of thirteen cards, you have four clubs available to you. You have to look out for four out of thirteen clubs left in the deck - two in your hand, and the two on the board. Nine clubs with two chances to hit one are left in the deck.

If you multiply your outs times by two, you will get the approximate percentage of hitting the flush. In this case, there would be nine "outs" multiplied by two chances, or eighteen. Take that number, multiply it by two and then add a percentage sign. 36 percent is the percentage of the time that is approximate in making the flush (actually it is 34.97%). Now, what if you hold the Jd and Th on the exact same flop? Four kings and four eights give you a straight draw. Eight "outs" with two coming cards give you sixteen "outs". Multiply twice and you will hit the straight approximately 32%. This is approximate odds. Exact odds are in smaller percentages.

It's important to note that these percentages aren't the percent of the time that you'll win the pot, but rather the percentage of the time you hit the hand you're drawing to. You might not hit the flop at all or you might hit but still not have the best hand. In the initial example, the Qc will pair the board and may be given some article a full house. In the second example, both Kc and 8c will put a possible flush on the board to give you the straight but not necessarily the winning hand. For a straight, if the highest possible part of the straight is in your hand or on the board, then you know if you have the "nuts" or not. To be aware of the approximate likelihood of making your hand, is a good beginning step on the road to be better poker.

Good luck at the tables!
Scott
About the Author
I have played numerous hours of Hold Em online as well as live. I have studied the games of various pros extensively. I have compiled a free mini e-course on Hold Em designed to improve your game and bankroll. Please get this free course at: http://hstrial-pokerbook.homestead.com/indexpoker.html
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