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Poker Tutorials – Opportunities and outs

October 18th, 2011

Opportunities and outs

If you have a hand that is probably not the best at this time, but has the potential to improve and win, you must decide if it’s profitable to continue to play or fold. This article details the calculations needed to make the right decisions.
The first step is to identify which cards will improve your hand (books called outs) before calculating the chances of winning. And finally we need to calculate the rate of profit have, considering the pot size and cost of continuing the game taking such a decision depending on the profitability of each of these two options.

The term ‘outs’ means the set of pocket cards that improve your hand and with which you can win at showdown.

To calculate the probability to improve your hand with one of the books designated as outs, there are two very simple rules:

Probability to complete the draw the next card is:
[number of outs] x 2

Probability of completing the draw on the turn and / or river is:
[number of outs] x 4

Example I:

Do you have a draw to a flush on the turn (nine outs). The probability of completing the draw on the river is [number of outs] x 2 = [chances in percentage]. Thus:

9 x 2 = 18%

Example II:

You draw a straight in the hole (gutshot, 4 outs) on the flop and want to know the probability of making a straight on the turn or river. The rule is [number of outs] x 4 = [chances in percentage]. Thus:

4 x 4 = 16%

Pot odds

To decide whether you continue or should you fold, you must first calculate rations as in the examples above and compare the number obtained with pot odds. The “pot odds” means the ratio of the pot size and size of the bet that you must pay. Pot size is given by the sum of money in the pot and all bets made in the current round of betting. If the number of pot odds is greater than your chances of winning (calculated as odds or ratios) should pay (or in some cases, to make a raise). Otherwise, you should fold.

Example I:

You draw the largest possible color (nut flush draw), so nine outs and the pot is \$ 4. Your opponent bets \$ 1. So the pot is now \$ 5 (\$ 4 + \$ 1) and costs you \$ 1 to go anywhere, so you pot odds of 5:1. By consulting the above table, the chances of winning the hand that you are 4:1. So you should pay.

Example II:

You have a gutshot (four outs) on the flop and the pot is \$ 25. Your opponent bets \$ 5. Now the pot is \$ 30 (\$ 25 + \$ 5 bet) and costs you \$ 5 to go on. So you pot odds of 30-5 or simplifying the division by 5, 6:1. After the table chances of winning the hand are, however, 10:1. The pot is large enough compared with the bet to be paid (of pot odds too small), so you should fold.

Conclusion:

In the beginning is a little difficult to calculate chances, probabilities and outs, but the effort deserves. If you pay too much trying to fill draws will lose money long term. Will always be players who do not care opportunities and who will pay too much and too long. They will be lucky sometimes they win some pots, but eventually will lose more than they earn. This is a very common mistake and leads to negative results. If you use the strategies presented in this article consistently you can avoid such mistakes and you have a big advantage over opponents.