I usually calculate the odds in percentages using a simple
formula for calculating outs. It works well up to a high
amount of outs, such as 15, where a decision is usually easy
You probably know what I mean but what you do is take the
amount of outs and times them by 2 and add 1, this is the
chance you will make your hand on the turn if on the flop or
the river if on the turn…
Then it’s just a matter of seeing if this percentage is
higher than your bet or implied odds percentage.
What are your thoughts on this approach?
>>> MY THOUGHTS:
I actually LOVE this method for calculating odds, because
it’s fast and EASY.
However, just like anything else, it has some pitfalls…
So basically, what you’re saying is that you can calculate
the PERCENTAGE CHANCE you have of making your hand by
DOUBLING the NUMBER OF OUTS and adding one:
(OUTS X 2) + 1 = % of getting a card you need
Remember, “outs” refers to the number of cards in the deck
that will complete (or “make”) your hand.
For example, let’s say you’re holding J-10 and the board
That means either a seven or a Queen will complete your
straight. Since there are four sevens and four Queens in the
deck, you have EIGHT OUTS.
OK… so let’s take a look at how this works:
First, let me give you the REAL percentages for each
situation. I’ve created a chart.
The first column is how many OUTS you have. The second is
your chance of hitting on the TURN card. And the third
column is your chance of hitting on the RIVER card.
OK, so here’s the chart:
OUTS TURN RIVER
1 2.13% 2.17%
2 4.26% 4.35%
3 6.38% 6.52%
4 8.51% 8.70%
5 10.64% 10.87%
6 12.77% 13.04%
7 14.89% 15.22%
8 17.02% 17.39%
9 19.15% 19.57%
10 21.23% 21.47%
11 23.40% 23.91%
12 25.53% 26.09%
13 27.66% 28.26%
14 29.79% 30.43%
15 31.91% 32.61%
16 34.04% 34.76%
17 36.17% 36.96%
18 38.30% 39.13%
19 40.43% 41.30%
20 42.55% 43.48%
21 44.68% 45.65%
As you can see, the formula holds true… for the most part.
If you have three outs or fewer, there’s really no need to
But then again, if you have three outs or fewer, you
probably shouldn’t be calculating odds… you should be
And if you have more than ELEVEN outs, you should probably
add TWO, instead of one.
So… to break it down:
1-3 Outs: Outs x 2 = % of hitting
3-11 Outs: (Outs x 2) + 1 = % of hitting
12+ Outs: (Outs X 2) + 2 = % of hitting
So already we’re getting kind of complicated, and these
aren’t even giving us EXACT numbers.
However… here is why this simple little formula is SO
For the most part, in REAL LIFE poker situations, the times
where you want to calculate odds are in situations where you
have about 3-11 outs.
Think about it… in order to have MORE than eleven outs,
you’d have to have something like an open-ended straight
draw AND a flush draw. And that’s a situation where you
should probably be aggressively BETTING or RAISING… not
OK… so now you know how to QUICKLY and EASILY figure out
the odds of making your hand. What REAL VALUE does this add
to your game?
The answer is, “Not much.”
You must know how to APPLY this knowledge to bet sizes…
that way you can make the right decision on whether to call,
raise, or fold.
*** HOW TO CALCULATE “BETTING PERCENTAGE” ***
So now we need to learn how to calculate “betting
percentage”. Luckily, this is very simple.
The two numbers you need to compare are:
1. Bet size
2. Pot size
The FORMULA is this:
Bet Size / (Pot Size + Bet Size)
For example, let’s say there’s $90 in the pot and the bet is
$10. The betting percentage would be $10 divided by $100
($90 + $10)… or 10%.
If you were looking at it strictly in terms of odds, you’d
say your chances were 90:10.
90:10 means you’d miss 90 times and hit 10 times. That’s a
total of making it 10 times out of 100 times, which equals
Now… the FINAL part to all of this is to compare your HAND
ODDS to your BETTING ODDS.
If you have a higher percentage chance of MAKING your hand
than the betting percentage, you should call…
Let’s look at some examples to make sense of all this
You’ve got A-2 of diamonds and the flop hits:
That means there are two diamonds on the board and two in
your hand… so you’ve got the nut flush draw.
You’re on the button. There’s $40 in the pot from before the
flop. Don bets $20 after the flop and three players call.
The action is to you.
So the pot size equals $120, and you need to decide whether
to call or not.
If you based your decision strictly on odds, here’s how it
You have nine OUTS… since there are thirteen diamonds in
the deck and you already see four of them (13 minus 4 = 9).
So we plug NINE into our handy formula…
9 x 2 = 18
Add 1 = 19% chance of making the flush
Now… if we look at the chart (we don’t need to), we see
that the real percentage is 19.15%.
Presto. Works like a charm.
Now we just need to compare the bet size and pot size to
find our “betting percentage”.
The bet size is $20 and there’s $120 in the pot.
So we divide $20 by $140 ($120 + $20).
We don’t even need to do the math. We just need to figure
out if it’s BIGGER or SMALLER than 19% (which can be rounded
Obviously, 20/140 is smaller than 20%.
Well that means our odds of GETTING another diamond and
completing our hand are HIGHER than the betting percentage.
This means our pot odds are GOOD. We should call or raise…
but not fold.
OK, now for another quick example:
Let’s say we’ve got K-J of spades and the flop hits:
No spades… but we have an inside straight draw. All we
need is the Queen.
Let’s use the same numbers from the last example:
Pot Size = $120
Bet Size = $20
Should we fold or call?
20/140 equals 1/7. We need to figure out if our odds of
hitting our inside straight are higher or lower.
Well, since the only card that can really help us is a
Queen, we have FOUR outs (the four Queens).
So we double the four and add one…
(4 x 2) + 1 = 9% of getting our Queen on the turn.
The REAL percentage is 8.51%. Pretty close.
So what’s bigger… 1/7 or 9%?
The answer is 1/7.
I always just round numbers to keep it simple. In my mind,
9% is about 10%, which would be 1/10. Obviously 1/7 is
higher than 1/10.
So that means our betting percentage is higher than our hand
odds… which is bad.
So we fold.
In order to call, the betting percentage would have needed
to be LOWER than 9%. And as you know, that’s VERY RARE.
So… that’s it. That’s the “quick and dirty” way to
calculate pot odds. Here’s the 3-step review:
1. Double your outs and add 1. This equals your approximate
percentage of “hitting”.
2. Divide the bet size by the pot size added to the bet
size. (Bet Size / [Pot Size + Bet Size])
3. Compare the “hand odds” to the “bet odds”. If the hand
odds are higher, you should stay in the hand. If the hand
odds are smaller, get out.
At first some of this may seem like an awful lot of work and
effort… and requires extra THINKING.
But if you’re serious about poker, you’ve got to try these
types of things. What you’ll discover is that after using
this stuff for a little while, it all becomes NATURAL in no
And soon you’ll never have to actually do ANY of this.
For example… after figuring it out a couple times, you’ll
quickly learn that you should NOT chase inside straights.
It’s not worth it.
Also, you shouldn’t stay in a hand with just an Ace high
hoping to hit top pair (unless it’s a heads-up match or
And so on.
But the BAD NEWS is that calculating odds doesn’t always
give you clear cut “answers”. Odds are just another piece of
the puzzle… to be added to your poker “weapons”.
In the first example I shared with you, we were on the nut
flush draw with multiple players in the hand. This is a
situation where the IMPLIED ODDS are so enormous that the
“real” odds don’t matter.
Because think about it: If you hit your flush, someone ELSE
probably hit it too… except you’ll have the NUTS. This
means you’re very likely to get someone’s ENTIRE chip stack.
Also… odds don’t tell you whether to CALL or RAISE. As you
know, raising is a key part of the game, and can often buy
you a “free card” while on a draw.
And in the same way, it’s not even really “possible” to
calculate the exact number of OUTS or the exact POT SIZE.
For instance… if there are three opponents in a hand and
two diamonds on the board, you’d better believe SOMEONE ELSE
is holding two diamonds. So you don’t REALLY have nine
outs… since more than four diamonds are being used.
If you aren’t last to act, the exact pot size is unknown
because you DON’T KNOW what the player(s) behind you will
do. They may fold, they may call, or they may RAISE.