ALL ABOUT POKER:
KNOW YOUR OUTS
By Bill Burton
Bill Burton is an advantage blackjack player and skilled poker player. He is the author of the book, "Get the Edge at Texas Low Limit Hold’em", available at 10% discount from the BJI online store, and the guide atwww.casinogambling.about.com.
In poker your outs are the unseen cards that will complete or improve your hand to make it the winning hand. Each additional card or "Out" will improve the probability of making your hand. You will compare the odds of making your hand to the pot odds that we discussed last month to make a determination as to whether or not it is profitable to continue with your hand.
First let me define two words that come up all the time. Probability and odds are the same thing but expressed differently. Probability is the amount of times an event will occur and is expressed as a percentage. In Texas Hold’em you will be dealt a pocket pair once in 17 hands or 5.88 percent of the time. The Odds tells you the number of times an event will not occur. The odds against getting a pocket pair are 16 to 1. You subtract 1 from the amount of times something will happen to get the odds against it not happening. So in the case you subtract 1 from 17 to get 16:1.
Where did this figure of 16:1 come from? First we divide 100% by 5.88% and we get 17.006. So the probability of the event happening is once in 17 attempts. The odds are 16 to 1 against it happening.
When you figure your outs you will use that information to help you determine the odds of having the winning hand. Once you know that information you compare the pot odds you are getting to the odds of making your hand. This will determine whether or not you continue with the hand or fold.
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