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 Poker Outs in Texas Holdem Poker


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Poker Outs in Texas Holdem poker


Poker Outs in Texas Holdem Poker

The importance of poker outs

How to calculate poker outs

The types of poker outs

Full outs

Partial outs

Hidden outs

Poker outs and poker odds


Poker outs in Texas Holdem Poker

Definition: Poker outs are the cards in the deck, which can improve a poker hand. For ex. if a player has two suited cards and two out of three cards on the flop are of the same suit, then a player has a flush draw. A fourth card of the same suit on the flop or on the river is obviously one of his poker outs, which improves a player’s hand from a flush draw to a flush. If a poker player has two overcards on the flop, then one or more of these cards on the turn or river will improve his hand giving him a top pair on the turn or river. Thus, in this case those cards are his poker outs.

The importance of the poker outs concept in Texas Holdem poker

The concept of the poker outs derives its importance from introducing mathematics into a poker player’s decision making process. When a poker player knows the exact number of his outs he has a clear picture of what is the probability and the odds are of improving his hand on the turn and by the river. When he’ll compare those odds with the payout by the pot expressed by the “pot odds”, a poker player will have a precise idea of how profitable his betting will be on a long-term basis. The poker outs concept removes guessing and an emotion from a poker player’s decision on what to do – check, bet, call, fold, raise etc… - and substitutes them with the mathematics-based solution.

How to calculate poker outs in Texas Holdem poker

Calculation of the poker outs number is a simple and fast process. All you have to do is to see what kind of a hand or a draw you have on the flop (or turn) and then estimate the number of the cards among unseen 47 (46 on the turn) cards that can improve your hand. That number is your poker outs. For ex. if you have two suited cards and the flop shows two out of three cards of the same suit, then you obviously have a flush draw. There are 13 cards total of the same suit in the deck. Since you have two cards and there are two more cards on the flop then 9 more cards of the same suit are still in the deck. Thus, in this case you have 9 poker outs that will improve your hand to a flush. If for ex. you have QJ and the flop is “rainbow” (the cards of different suits) 982, then you have a “gutshot” straight draw. Four 10s will improve your hand and give you a straight. Three Qs and three Js will give you a top pair with a decent kicker. Thus the total number of poker outs in this case will be 4 tens, 3 Queens and three Jacks or a total of 10 outs etc… The table below gives the number of poker outs for some of the common situations.

                                                                          Table 1



Number of poker outs

Odds on the flop

Approximate numbers

Straight draw

8 outs

 odds  5 to 1

Straight draw and an over card

11 outs

 odds  3 to 1

Straight draw and a pair

13 outs

 odds  5 to 2

Gutshot straight draw

4 outs

 odds  11 to 1

Gutshot straight draw and an overcard

7 outs

 odds  6 to 1

Gutshot and two overcards

10 outs

 odds  7 to 2

Gutshot and the flush draw

12 outs

 odds  3 to 1

Flush draw

9 outs

 odds  4 to 1

Straight flush draw

15 outs

 odds  2 to 1

Flush draw and a pair

14 outs

 odds  7 to 3

Two overcards

6 outs

 odds  7 to 1



Types of poker outs in Texas Holdem poker

Not all poker outs were created equal. The difference between them is to what degree they improve a poker player’s hand. That degree ranges from assuring the best hand and winning the pot to giving only a second best hand and possibly losing the pot and to just helping a player to split the pot despite having initially an inferior hand. Since the poker outs may provide drastically different results in terms of the eventual outcome of a poker round, they should not be counted the same way – their effect on a poker hand and the possible eventual outcome should be taken into a consideration. Otherwise, in some cases the number of outs will be overestimated leading to unjustified action on the part of the player. If, on the other hand, the number of outs will be underestimated, a poker player will be playing too tight missing many lucrative opportunities.

Full outs in Texas Holdem poker

Full poker outs are those cards that improve a poker player’s hand to the best possible hand – the poker “nuts”. For ex. if a player has Ad7d and a flop is 10d5dJc, then 9 diamond cards will give a player Ace high diamond flush, which will be the “nuts,” if the board will not be paired. Thus a player in this example has 9 full outs.

Partial outs in Texas Holdem poker

Partial poker outs are those cards, which improve a poker player’s hand but won’t guarantee him the best hand. In the previous example 3 Aces will improve a hand to a top pair, but since a “kicker” is a weak 7, the top pair probably will not be the best hand especially if the action indicates a possibility of another player holding an Ace. In this case 3 Aces are the “partial” outs. They should not be counted as full outs. It will be more realistic to assign them a value of a half an out.

Hidden outs in Texas Holdem poker

Hidden poker outs are those that are not obvious for a poker player. The reason is that they do not give a player the best winning hand but instead just help him to split the pot. For ex. a player has A4, an opponent has A10 and the board on the turn is AQ96. There are obvious three full outs – three 4s – that give a player the nuts. There are also hidden outs – three 9s and three 4 let the player to split the pot. For obvious reason these hidden outs should not be counted as full outs. Here is another example when hidden outs counterfeit an opponent hand. Suppose a poker player QJ, his opponent Q6 and the board is Q86. A poker player has obvious 3 full outs – 3 Jacks to beat an opponent’s two pairs of Queens and 6s. However, there are three hidden outs – three 8s, which will counterfeit an opponent’s two pair. A player will have two pairs of Queens and 8s with a Jack kicker to win the pot.

Poker outs and poker odds in Texas Holdem poker

As long as you know the number of outs it is easy to calculate the odds of improving your poker hand. For ex. if you have a flush draw on the flop you have 9 outs out of 47 unseen cards. Nine cards will help your hand, while 47-9 = 38 cards won’t. That means that the odds of making a flush on the turn will be 38 to 9 or roughly 4 to 1 against it. Table 1 above gives you the odds for some common situations.

Copyright Progress Publishing Co.

Selected References:

David Sklansky Mason Malmuth    Holdem Poker Phil Hellmuth  Jr   Play Poker Like the Pros
Ed Miller  David Sklansky   Small  Stakes Holdem Poker Doyle Brunson   Super System  - A Course in Power Poker
David Sklansky    The Theory of Poker Dan Harrington   Harrington on Poker
Lee Jones    Winning Low Limit Texas Holdem Poker John Vorhaus   Killer Poker
Ken Warren   Ken Warren Teaches Texas Holdem Poker Gide to Bobby Baldwin  Bobby Baldwin's Winning Poker Secrets
Tom McEvoy Shane Smith  Beat Texas Holdem Poker T J Cloutier Tom McEvoy Champiomship Texas Holdem Poker