Quick Tip: Calculating Odds in Your Head

Posted on Mar 20, 2009 by Gugel in Math and Statistics

Here’s a neat little trick that even some intermediate players don’t know.  Let’s say you want to calculate the percentage of the time you’re going to win this hand:

Hero (SB) ($100.00)
Button ($100.00)

Preflop: Hero is SB with 9♣, T♣
Button bets $3, Hero calls $2

Flop: ($6) 8♣, Q♣, 2 (2 players)

Sure you can plug the information into PokerStove, but that’s pretty time consuming and you won’t always have access to a computer when you’re playing poker (AKA brick and mortar casinos).  The good news is that there is an easy and pretty accurate way to predict your chances of winning in 3 easy steps.

Step 1:
Figure out how many outs you have.  In this case, there are 9 clubs remaining in the deck and I can hit an additional 3 jacks to make a straight.  That’s a total of 12 outs.

Step 2:
To predict your chances of improving your hand on the turn, multiply your outs by 2.  So in this case, I have about a 24% chance of hitting a flush or straight on the turn.

Step 3:
To predict your chances of improving your hand on the turn and on the river, multiply your outs by 4.  So in this case, if we get all in on the flop, I’ll have a 48% chance of having the best hand by the river.

Easy, quick and accurate.  Use it wisely.

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6 Responses to “Quick Tip: Calculating Odds in Your Head”

  1. KEV

    26. Mar, 2009

    Nice tip ANSKY cheers,keep them coming.

  2. Gugel

    26. Mar, 2009

    >>Nice tip ANSKY cheers,keep them coming.

    Hey Kev,

    It’s actually me (Gugel) that’s posting nowadays. Ansky has moved on to PokerSavvy.

  3. KEV

    28. Mar, 2009

    Ok Gugel good blog read it often keep it going.

  4. Marko

    30. Sep, 2009


    I have some doubts……
    Your calcualting method is correct but ain’t that vice versa? I mean with this example Hero has 12 outs. Turn = Outs * 4 + 2 = 12 * 4 + 2 = 50%.
    River = Outs * 2 = 12 * 2 = 24%.

  5. Gugel

    30. Sep, 2009


    Not quite sure what you mean. Why are you multiplying the number of outs you have by 4 and adding 2 on the turn?

    It should be:
    (# of outs) * 2 = chances of making your hand from the flop to the turn
    (# of outs) * 4 = chances of making your hand from the flop to the river

  6. blah

    23. Jun, 2010

    Thanks phil gordon