Many poker calculations begin with counting your outs - here's a definition of an "out" and how you count them with a flush draw, straight draw and a combination of both.
If you have a hand that is probably losing, but has the potential to improve to a winner, (ie, a drawing hand) you need to decide whether it is worth continuing with it through the various stages of the pot.
In short, you need to identify the cards that will improve your hand - known as "outs". In later lessons you will learn about making further calculations based on your "outs", but first you need to identify what is an "out".
The best definition is simple: "outs" are the cards left in the deck that improve your hand, ideally to make it strong enough to win the pot at showdown.
There are 13 cards of each suit in the deck. You hold two of them, and another two are on the board. Four of the 13 hearts have therefore already been dealt, meaning that there are still nine hearts left in the deck.
This means there are nine cards that can improve your hand to a (probable) winner. You have nine outs.
You have and the flop is . Now any ace or nine will complete your straight. There are four aces and four nines in the deck, so you have eight outs.
If one card is missing to complete a straight, you have four outs. For example, if your hole cards were and the flop was , your outs would be .
You have , and the board is . One of the four queens in the deck will make you a straight. If your opponent has a middle pocket pair, e.g. , then you have additional outs, as any king or any jack would give you a higher pair.
In this case, the number of your outs would increase to ten (four queens, three kings, and three jacks).
If you hold and hit a set on a board showing , you have a pretty strong hand. But it is not definitely a winner and could already be behind to any opponent with two spades in his hand.
However, you still have the chance here of improving your hand even further. There are seven cards that could make you a full house or better (a seven, three remaining twos and three remaining jacks), or the turn and river could be the same rank, which would also give you a full house.
You hold and the board is . You have both an open-ended straight draw and a flush draw. This means you have nine outs to make the flush and eight outs to make the straight. At the same time, you have to consider that two cards are counted twice (in this case the and the ), which have to be subtracted. Therefore you have a total of 15 outs.
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