‘Outs’ in poker is a term used to describe any unseen cards that will improve
your current hand. In community card games such as Texas Holdem there are 47
unseen cards after the flop has been dealt (you have 2 in your hand and there
are 3 more on the flop). You can calculate the chances of your hand improving on
the turn and river by dividing the number of unseen cards that will help your
hand by those that will not.
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For example if you hold 2 diamonds in your hand and the flop comes down with 2
more diamonds you hold a draw to a flush. That is to say that any further
diamond on the turn or river will improve you hand. On the turn there are 47
unseen cards – 9 of these are diamonds so your chances of improving are 47/9 or
19%. If the turn card is not a diamond the calculation for the river card is
similar. This time there are 46 unseen cards of which 9 are ‘outs’ for your
Players need to learn the common probabilities of hitting outs and compare this to the odds that are being offered by calling a bet. For example if you hold 4 cards to a flush with one card to come but would have to call an opponents last $20 to win $40 from the pot then you are getting a 2/1 price on an outcome that will only happen once every 4 ½ times.
Outs need to be calculated with both one card and two cards to come – this will cover the eventuality where the betting is over on the flop (either you or your opponent are all-in).
Here are the most common poker outs:
* 4 Cards to a Flush with 2 cards to come: Odds = 1.9/1 (35%)
* 4 Cards to a Flush with 1 card to come: Odds = 4.1/1 (19%)
* 4 Cards to a Straight with 2 cards to come: Odds = 2.2/1 (32%)
* 4 Cards to a Straight with 1 card to come: Odds = 4.7/1 (17%)
* Inside Straight Draw, 2-3-5-6, 2 cards to come: Odds = 4/1 (20%)
* Inside Straight Draw, 2-3-5-6, 1 card to come: Odds = 10/1 (10%)