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April 04, 2005

Understanding Your Poker Outs

Posted at April 4, 2005 04:24 PM in Beginner Topics , by Greedy Gecko.

What are Outs?
In basic terms, your outs in a poker hand are those cards that you believe will make you a winning hand. Note that you are not guaranteed to win a hand when you hit your outs because you do not know what your opponent has. For purposes of explanation, however, let’s assume your careless opponent let you peak at his cards.

You hold and your moronic adversary shows you his preflop. The flop comes . Ordinarily, you would know that a flush draw gives you 9 outs. This is because there are 14 cards of each suit, and 4 are known to have been played (2 in your hand and 2 on the flop). However, you cannot count the as an out, as this card would give your opponent a full house. Consequently, you have 8 outs to the flush rather than 9. In addition to the outs related to the flush, any ace or king will also give you a winning hand. Consequently, you can count the 6 remaining aces and kings towards your outs, giving you a grand total of 14 outs.

On the same flop, let’s assume you saw that your opponent had . You still have 8 outs to the flush (the remaining 9 less the your opponent holds). However, you can no longer count the remaining kings as outs, because they will give your opponent a straight. On this hand, you have a total of 11 outs.

To go one step further, let’s assume your opponent held and flopped the full house. You can no longer win with a flush, or with either an ace or a king. Your only chances of winning the hand are if two aces or two kings come in succession on the turn and river.

What the above examples go to show is that your available outs vary based on what you believe your opponent to hold.

Once you have calculated your outs, you can compute the odds of hitting an out during the remainder of the hand. See further discussion of odds, and subsequent discussions on other beginner topics.

The Greedy Gecko