Calculating Poker Odds And Outs

In poker the term "outs" refers to the number of cards that could further enhance a player"s hand and the term "odds" refer to the probability of him winning the hand and taking the jackpot. Pot odds are frequently used in poker terminology to accurately determine a player"s realistic chance of winning the pot and weigh it against the amount required to continue in the betting process. "Outs" and "Odds" are often central, though not exclusively, to players" decision to continue in the game or to withdraw his hand. Accurately determining poker odds is critical because it allows players to decide whether they are in a positive or a negative playing situation in the game.

Odds in poker are broadly of two kinds-hand odds and pot odds. While hand odds refer to the probability of players landing a winning hand, pot odds are the statistical chance of him winning the jackpot. Pot odds are expressed as the total amount of money in the pot as divided by the amount of money that is required to continue in the game. Pot odds shift with every passing turn and every player needs to continually assess them in order to determine the feasibility of their persisting with the hand.

The concept of "outs" is key to calculating hand odds. "Outs" is the number of cards that could bring about a further improvement in the player"s hands. Even though theoretically "outs" are calculated for the best hand possible, it is often practically seen that this might not always be the most probable hand. For example, if a player holds an ace and king of diamonds and there are two more diamonds in the flop, there must be a further 9 cards of the same suit with the dealer in the deck. The number of outs in this example is thus 9. The above example assumes that all the cards of the suit that is not present in the flop or the player"s own hand must be in the deck and not with the opponents even though this might not be the case in most scenarios. However, because players have difficulty in assessing whether opponents hold cards of the same suit they would still count the absentee cards as "outs". In scenarios where for some reason a player is more or less positive that an opponent holds a card of the same suit he should obviously deduct it from the total number of "outs".

While counting outs it is always a tendency amongst players to double-count their cards. For example when a player holds two consecutive cards of the same suit and the flop is two cards of that suit and a third card, he will require just one more consecutive card in the same suit (or 8 outs) to make a straight draw and any one card in the same suit (9 outs) to make a flush draw. Thus, if he is not careful he could end up counting similar sets of cards as "outs". By merely aggregating the "outs" under both scenarios, he will end up considering that 17 is the number of "outs". The correct number of outs in this example is actually 15, adjusting for the overlapping cards.

Once a player calculates the number of outs he can easily estimate his hand odds by dividing the total number of outs by the remaining number of cards in the deck. Adjustments are also made for situations where cards could hit consecutively also. Some poker experts recommend multiplying the outs by 4 to get a rough estimate of the hand odds. While this is not a foolproof method it is often much more simplistic than the statistical way of calculating hand odds.

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