A Quick and Easy Lesson in Calculating Outs and Pot Odds

Calculating outs (the number of cards that could improve your hand) and pot odds (ratio of the money in the pot versus the amount required to make your next call) is often used as a basis for a Texas Holdem Poker player on whether to draw and try to make their hand.

However this in my opinion should not be the sole basis of your decision on whether you should draw for another card.

You also have to decide on whether the hand that you are trying to hit will win you the pot or not.

How to calculate pot odds:
In this example, if the current pot contains $80, and the amount required at the next call is $20, the pot is laying you odds of $80 to $20 or 4 to 1.

As long as your odds of making the best hand are 4 to 1 or better than making the call is the right move. A hand that is 4 to 1 means that you will hit once in every 5 tries. You will hit the draw 20 percent of the time.

This next example takes into account calculating pot odds and outs.

Assume that your hole cards are a six and a seven (for this example suits do not matter) and the flop came down 8-9-3.

In order to complete your hand you need a 5 or 10. You have eight outs – 4-5’s and 4-10’s. Multiply your outs (8) by 4 and you get 32. You have a 32 percent chance of making your hand. If there was only one card left to draw you would multiply by two.

A 32 percent chance of making your hand means you have a 68 percent chance of NOT making your hand. This is roughly 2 to 1 that you won’t make the hand. So, as long as the pot contains $2 for every $1 that you have to call, it is worth going after your straight.

Doing these quick calculations and interpreting them can be very difficult and confusing for a beginner (and many advanced players as well!). But I would recommend that you at least be able to quickly calculate your outs to give you an idea of just how likely you are to make your hand.

Then decide if that hand will win the pot for you or not.

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