Saturday, October 20, 2007

How to easily calculate the odds of making a better hand post-flop

The Four/Two method for calculating the odds of making a better hand....
(Texas Hold'em)

Here's a really simple method to figure out what the odds of making a better hand after the flop.

Example 1. You are on a flush draw after the flop...

You have Ace/deuce of hearts and there are two hearts on the flop... What are the odds that you will make your flush? 50%? Nope... On pokerstars, I see countless people going all in after the flop assuming that it's a coin toss as to whether or not they will make a flush. why not? I will walk you through it...

1. There are 13 cards of each suit in the deck--as we all know.
2. 2 cards are already on the table and you have 2 cards in your hand. This leaves 9 outs for making the flush.
3. To calculate your odds of making the flush after the flop, you simply multiply the number of outs that you have for the flush (9) and multiply it by four to get 36% which is the the odds of making a flush post flop.
4. Please note, this method cannot and does not take into consideration what the other players have in their hand.
5. If just one more person is also on the flush draw, you're odds are considerably lower as you only have seven outs now which gives you 28% chance of making the flush.
6. If the turn comes and you still haven't made the flush, then you simply multiply the number of outs that you have by 2 now. So now you only have an 18% chance of making the flush.

Example 2, You are on an open-ended straight draw after the flop...

When I am the short stack in an online tournament, many times I will go all in post flop if I have an open ended straight draw. Sometimes, I will hit the straight, more often than not, I won't. However, this strategy has some added advantage as sometimes people will simply fold to your bet and you will at least win a pot you may otherwise would not. As well, if someone does call your bet and you make the straight, and you win, then you will at least, double up your chips stack.

If you don't make this kind of all in bet when you are short-stacked, then the other alternative is usually worse. Someone will raise and you will have to either simply fold or keeping calling them anyway until you miss the straight and you lose most of your chips. Further, if you just check till you hit the straight, when you actually do bet, no one may call which means you lost a chance to double up your chip stack.

Let's say that you have king ten(off suit) in your hand. The flop is Jack, Queen, deuce (rainbow). This gives you a 10,j, q, k open ended draw. This means that you either need a 9 or an ace to make the straight. There are obviously four of each of these cards in the deck, so you have 8 outs to make the straight. 8x4 is 32% chance which is not much worse than the odds of making a flush.

In addition to the 32% chance of making the straight. The other advantage of this strategy is that depending on your opponents hand, you probably have additional outs. Let's assume that your opponent has pocket eights. You now have two overcards to his pair which means that you can also win the hand if you pair your king or ten. There are three of each of these left in the deck, so you have an additional six outs. These six outs plus the 8 other ones to make the straight, now gives you 14 outs or a 48% chance of winning the hand.

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