We know well which hands to play with based on position , stack and our opponents. But now the time has come to see how to move on the “flop”, and to do so we must start from a necessary basis: to know the mathematical possibilities of being able to further improve our hand, or to know how many of our possible ” outs “, the cards useful to improve the point.
What are the “Outs”
Whether it was we who opened the game or that we followed an opponent’s raise, it doesn’t matter at the moment, what we are interested in focusing on is that we are on the flop with three cards on the table that gave us our first possible hand combination.
But, except for very rare cases, the two cards that remain to be put into play in the Turn and River could still improve our point and it is precisely these that interest us to better define which and how many are our ” Outs “, or the number of cards that can close a major point for us.
How the “outs” are calculated
In principle, the calculation of the ” Outs ” is an operation that must become automatic every time, and it consists very simply in counting the number of these cards that improve our point, especially in those occasions where we will have projects to complete. Let’s take a couple of examples to make the basic idea immediately clear:
- Flush draw : We opened the game with our handsome A J and on the flop we are faced with 10 2 7. At the moment our point is “Ace High”, but as you can well imagine the board is actually quite favorable and interesting because it has opened a flush draw that would make us as they say “Nuts”, or with the best possible point at stake. What are our “outs”? Which cards would help us improve the point? Given that in many cases, perhaps an Ace or a Jack might be enough to beat our opponent (it will then depend on which “range” of hands we can identify our opponent to know what is enough to win the hand), let’s just consider those cards so we will certainly win, which tend to be all the remaining hearts in the deck: “9 Outs”.
- Straight draw : Another very common situation is to start holding a J 10 for example, and find yourself on the flop Q 9 5 .
- “Combo” project : in some cases we may find ourselves in an even better situation with both cases mentioned above together.
There are obviously many other possibilities to analyze and evaluate, and it will be important to train yourself to immediately recognize the number of “ outs ” in each of these. But now that we have this number, why is it so important to our game choices?
The “Outs” and the odds
Knowing the number of ” Outs ” is essential to then be able to calculate our statistical percentage to improve our score. We have already seen this when we talked about winning percentages for starting hands: poker is a game of probability and range, let’s always remember that.
In this case, after calculating the “Outs”, the next step is to calculate the ” Odds” we have, that is the percentage of probability. To give a rapt example, in the case of the flush draw of the previous example, the “9 Outs” translate into exactly a 35% chance of finishing the point. That is about once in three we will have flush in the River.
How did we get to that percentage and above all, how can we make the most of it?
The concept of ” Odds and Probabilities” is so important that we will dedicate the entire next article of the Guide to explain it in the best possible way because it will then become essential to understand when it is necessary to push, when it is useful to abandon the shot and also how much to bet precisely to make it profitable. choice. We will also explain a very simple method to calculate the percentage by heart even for those who are not very good with math (the famous rule of “x4 and x2” ).
For now maybe practice with some hand you have played or seen, stopping on the flop to calculate how many “outs” you had in that stroke. Familiarize yourself with this mental calculation, and prepare yourself for the next chapter.