Poker is a game that’s rooted in mathematics and percentages. Other skills like bluffing or reading people play a big hand in poker strategy but the foundation of poker is math.
That being said, you don’t need a genius-level IQ to excel at poker. Plenty of poker tools to make things easier for yourself. Here are some of the most important poker odds and poker outs that you should know before entering any online poker rooms or poker tournaments.
Common Poker Odds & Outs
There are a number of basic poker hands odds that you should know when you are just starting to play Hold’em. These numbers help improve your online poker game.
There’s always going to be more advanced poker math that you can learn but this is a great way to get started for a positive online poker experience. The following poker odds chart illustrates on average how many poker hands it takes for something to happen.
|331-1||Odds of being dealt ace-king of spades (or any specific suit)|
|221-1||Odds of being dealt pocket aces|
|118-1||Odds of flopping a flush with suited hole cards|
|81-1||Odds of getting ace-king (including suited and non)|
|74-1||Odds of flopping a straight with connected cards J-T through 5-4|
|54-1||Odds of suited cards (jacks or better)|
|41-1||Odds of getting one of the top five pairs (AA, KK, QQ, JJ, TT)|
|24-1||Odds of getting suited connectors|
|16-1||Odds of getting a pocket pair|
|8-1||Odds of hitting a set on the flop with a pocket pair|
|5-1||Odds of getting connected cards (consecutive rank like 3-2, 8-7, Q-J)|
|3-1||Odds of making a pair on the flop with any two cards|
Common Texas Hold’em Match-Ups
When you’re playing Texas Hold’em poker, the goal of the game is to get your money in the middle when you have the best poker odds. Sometimes you will get unlucky and lose a pot where you technically had the best chance. Over the long term, though, you’ll end up a Sportsbook if you consistently get your money into pots in good situations.
Because poker players tend to play strong poker hands like pocket pairs and ace-king suited, you’ll see certain poker hand match-ups more often than others. The chart below looks at the various poker hand match-ups that tend to happen quite frequently:
|Match-up||Approximate Odds (in percentage)||Example|
|Higher pocket pair vs. lower pocket pair||At least 80% favorite||AA vs. JJ|
|Pocket pair vs. overcards||55% favorite||JJ vs. AK|
|Pocket pair vs. overcard and undercard||70% favorite||TT vs. Q8|
|Pair pair vs. overcard and one of that pair||90% favorite||KK vs. AK|
|Two high cards vs. two lower cards||65% favorite||JT vs. 87|
Common Poker Outs
A poker out is simply any card that makes your poker hand. Below are the outs for some of the most common situations that card players tend to encounter.
Here’s a chart of the various poker outs situations you might run into:
Calculating the Turn and the River
Once you understand the poker outs that are available to you with one card to go you can then start thinking about the turn and the river.
Most of the time the poker odds are roughly double when you have two cards to go but here’s a complete poker odds chart. As you can see, the poker odds chart displays your exact poker odds for every available amount of poker outs:
|Outs||% 2 Cards to Come||% 1 Card to Come|
We recommend printing this poker odds chart and using it as a source of reference. It should come in very handy.
How to Calculate Your Own Outs
Of course, you don’t need to memorize a poker odds chart if you can just calculate your own poker outs. All you have to do is figure out just how many cards will improve your poker hand.
For instance, if you have 5d5c and you need to improve to a set or quads, the math is quite simple:
That means there are 48 cards that won’t help you and two cards that will. Therefore you have 2 poker outs.
Other players in the game may have folded one of the fives but that’s ignored for the purposes of calculating poker odds.
Here’s a slightly more advanced poker hand:
You have king-jack of diamonds on the turn of a Ad-5s-2d-9s board. The other poker player hit a pair of aces and you need to improve to a flush. How many poker outs do you have?
Advanced Poker Odds and Outs
First of all, you need to reduce the deck down to 46 cards because you have two cards and there are four cards on the board. There are 13 cards of each suit, but you have two cards in your poker hand and there are two more cards on the board.
That means there are nine diamond cards in the deck that will make your flush and win the poker hand. Meanwhile, there are 37 cards that, by default, will help the opposition. That means you are 37-9, or more simply, 4-1 to win. That means you’ll only pull it off 20% of the time so hopefully, you don’t have to pay much to see the river.
You can always use this math to calculate your poker odds. Here’s an extremely simple reference chart to the make-up of the standard 52-card deck:
|20||Broadway cards (4 aces, 4 kings, 4 queens, 4 jacks, 4 tens)|
|13||Cards of each suit (spades, diamonds, clubs, hearts)|
|8||Cards that can complete an open-ended straight|
|4||Cards of each rank (for example AsAhAdAc or 5s5h5d5c)|
Should You Call? Basic Pot Odds
When people are just starting to play poker they often get stuck on the decision of whether to call a particular bet or not.
Calculating Pot Odds on a Draw
This is particularly helpful when you are on draws. Let's take a look at a typical scenario when you're four cards to a draw.
What Are the Odds Behind the Best Hold’em Hands?
There are five poker hands that are widely considered to be the best in Hold’em. Those poker hands are pair of aces (AA), pair of kings (KK), pair of queens (QQ), pair of jacks (JJ) and AK usually in that order. These poker hands are widely considered the power five in Hold’em and most of the time you’ll be playing these poker hands every time those cards are dealt to you.
There are a large number of poker odds and tips for playing the best poker hands in Hold’em and we’ve actually broken in down in the following standalone articles about each poker hand:
Pokers Hands Odds and Outs FAQ
Are straight draws or flush draws better?
This is counterintuitive but you actually have slightly more poker outs with a flush draw once you’re one card from completing:
It makes sense when you think about it. An open-ended straight draw has a total of 8 cards that complete it (ranked cards on both the high and low) while a flush draw is any one of the nine remaining cards of your suit.
Do I have to be a math genius to play Texas Hold'em?
No, you don't have to be a poker odds wizard. Math is certainly a fundamental part of Texas Hold’em and poker in general. That being said, there are plenty of successful poker players that excel in reading people and making well-timed bluffs over calculating their equity in marginal situations.
Other poker players incorporate the math aspects of the game without even thinking about the poker odds. They might say they go by "feel" when considering a call but there's a good possibility they will take into account the fact they are calling a small bet or a big one.
In general, you just want to minimize your risks and maximize your profits. That’s not exceptionally hard to understand.
Should I only play aces?
No, definitely not. As you can see above, you’ll only get aces on average once in every 221 poker hands that you play. That’s simply not frequent enough to be profitable.
In addition, other bettors would be able to easily categorize you as an extremely conservative poker player and would either fold immediately or attempt to suck out on you with a smaller poker hand and win a huge pot.
Poker is a situational game. It’s all about putting people on a hand range, reading people, and adapting as you go.
What's the best draw in poker?
The best draw in poker would be an open-ended straight-flush draw with overcards. An open-ended straight-flush draw with overcards is one of the only draws where you’re actually a favorite to win by the river.
Straight flush draws are usually played extremely aggressively by experienced poker players because there’s a possibility your opposition might be on a smaller draw and you would have them dominated.
In general, straight flush draws in poker are monsters and should be played accordingly. Keep in mind that you'll miss the draw at times but it's still worth the risk.
What are outs in poker? What do outs mean in poker?
Poker outs are simply the cards that will complete your poker hand and (hopefully win you the pot).
Sometimes you’ll know for sure that your poker outs will win you the pot while other times it won’t be as clear. For instance, if you’ve got ace-king suited and are one card from completing the nut-flush (with no pairs on the board) then you can rest assured that if you hit your card then you will win.
What are drawing hands vs made hands in poker?
Made hands in poker are poker hands that are likely to hold up without any help from the board. A good example would be pocket aces. It can improve but there’s also a good chance it will be just fine without any help from the board.
A drawing hand in poker is something like 8-7 suited because it gives you the chance to hit both straights and flushes. Generally, you want to be seeing cheap flops with your drawing hands and hopefully hit something good so that you can collect lots of chips from your opponent.
What are the best odds in poker?
If you can somehow get others drawing to one out, you’re doing pretty good. In most situations where your opponent is dead to one out, you’ll be pretty close to a 98% favorite.
If you can arrange that situation, there’s not a poker player on earth that wouldn’t take those poker odds on a regular basis. Generally, that’s rare, however, and your opponent will usually have at least a few poker outs.
What are the odds in poker?
The odds can mean several things. There are the odds that you'll hit a hand -- an idea closely associated with poker outs. There are the odds that you'll win the hand, based on the information available: your hole cards, the community cards, what you know about your opponent, and your opponents' actions.
Read our articles on poker hand ranges, calculating pot odds, and more specific situations like pocket aces and pocket kings.
How do you calculate poker odds?
Take a look at our Poker Outs Chart above for the percentages.
Also, read through our tips on the sections "How to Calculate Your Own Outs" and "Should You Call? Basic Pot Odds" to get a better understanding of how to calculate poker odds.
How do you calculate poker hand percentages?
In the guide above, we've provided a handy chart with the poker hand percentages. Study the chart and try to memorize it before you play poker for real money.