Counting Outs

One of the skills that is most important to improving your poker game, yet is still something that many players overlook, is being able to determine how many outs you have to make a winning hand. Poker is a game that requires you to be comfortable with math, and while it may seem difficult at first, after some practice you will be able to make calculations very quickly.

In a perfect poker world, every hand that you play should always be getting your money in ahead. Unfortunately this just isn’t possible for most player, there will eventually be times when you make a mistake and stick money in the pot while your already behind in the hand.

In the event that you put your money in behind, you at least want to be able to be able to make your hand at some point on a later street. The cards that possibly might come out that will give you the winning hand are referred to as your Outs

If you are in a hand, and you are dealt AK of diamonds, and you put your opponent on a hand like 9cJc on a 8sJd4d how many cards give you the best hand?

In this hand, you now have two cards larger than his jack, so the three remaining aces in the deck, as well as the three remaining kings all will give you a higher pair. If one of the four queens comes out, you then make the best straight possible, also known as the nut straight. You also have the ability to make the nut flush if any diamond hits the board.

Now while you can’t count the queen of clubs twice, you can still figure out that you have eighteen outs in this situation. What this means to you is that there are a lot of cards that help you, and are actually favored in this situation when facing top pair after the flop.

The problem is it usually isn’t all that easy to put your opponent on a particular hand. So one of the most crucial skills in poker is being able to put your opponent’s on a range, as you can then deduce what they have down to a more specific hand. Calculating your outs is usually not an exact science because putting your opponent on an exact hand can be extremely tough. You will only be as accurate as you are skilled at putting your opponent on his hand.

If still in the same hand above, and your opponent was holding pocket jacks, your outs drop significantly. Now if an Ace or a King comes, it gives your opponent a full house. Here you might also make your hand on the turn, and have the board pair on the river, and lose.

Being able to put your opponent on a range and knowing your outs gives you a lot more information in a hand. Knowing this will give you the ability to determine your pot odds more accurately. In poker you will almost always be profitable if you can put your money in ahead most of the time, and knowing the odds while enough to know when to play a drawing hand.

Hopefully this poker article gave your a bit better understanding on what people mean when they mention outs in poker and hopefully you also got few good tips on how to count your outs when you are in a poker hand.