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Why do they talk about the opponents hand for outs?

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Why do they talk about the opponents hand for outs? - Thu Jan 03, 2013, 08:52 PM
laneydawn's Avatar
Since: Nov 2011
Posts: 3
I just cannot figure out why. when calculating outs that a person is supposed to take into account an opponent's hand. How am I supposed to know what hand they have? There could be a zillion possibilities. I just cannot figure out how to calculate outs more complicated than a flush, straight, or gutshot. What is wrong...why can't I get it????
Thu Jan 03, 2013, 09:38 PM
joker41673's Avatar
Since: Aug 2010
Posts: 1,850
Understanding your opponent/s and getting good reads is what I would say THE hardest thing to do in poker.

Try railing some tables and put people on a range of hands that you think they would open or call with and as the hand plays out try to eliminate the hands they shouldn't have and see how close you get to reading what their hand is.

This way it costs you no money and you can learn to better understand what types of hands people would open and/or call with.

Fri Jan 04, 2013, 02:06 PM
ArtySmokesPS's Avatar
Since: Oct 2011
Posts: 7,353
When you are counting your outs, the figure you come up with is usually the maximum number of outs you may have. Depending on an opponent's hand, you may have many fewer. e.g. If you have 87s and flopped a flush draw, you might think you have 9 outs to a flush, but if the opponent has top pair plus a bigger flush draw, you're virtually drawing dead.
Start by putting villain on a range of hands pre-flop, and then narrow it based on the post-flop action. If you think villain is betting with top pair, then you might be able to chase a flush/straight draw profitably. Ideally, you don't really want to get a lot of money in the pot unless you have a combo draw, with straight AND flush possibilities.
Since draws don't hit as often as you might think, I recommend beginners avoid playing hands like medium suited connectors until they've become better hand readers. Focus on playing big cards and pairs, with which you know exactly what hand you have, can focus on betting for value, and let your opponents make the mistake of chasing draws without the right odds.
Fri Jan 04, 2013, 05:12 PM
baud2death's Avatar
Since: Nov 2012
Posts: 1,249
Determining the outs for your hand is one of the easiest things to do once you know how but hard to do at first... sort of like driving a Car.

The easiest ones to remember are

Flush Draw = 9 outs
Open Ended Straight = 8 outs
2 Overs = 6 outs
Gutshot Straight = 4 outs
1 Over = 3 outs

There are other outs such as Trips, Two Pair, FH etc but the key ones are the 2 straight draws, overs and flush draws.

So if you have and board is 2 diamonds with all undercards, if you feel your opponent is betting a pair (such as 8s) then you will improve with either an Ace, King or a Diamond.

Using the information above that is 9+3+3 which is 15 outs.

Using the rule of 4/2 if you got it in on the flop with 2 cards to come you would be around 60% fav to win the hand assuming your opponent has just an underpair.

However lets say your opponent made Two pair, not just one pair. This removes 6 of your outs and you only have either a Backdoor Two Pair yourself (which we wont bother calculating just right now) but typically its just the Diamond you need which now makes 9 outs or about 36%

If you are the kind of player that bets draws only when you have a favorite (such as the 60% spot above) then you need to make sure that your outs are discounted by your opponent having removed some of them.

Its impossible to know what an opponent has, sure, but if you have a good idea based on the type of play and betting patterns what your opponent could have, it allows you to make a good decision on how to bet your outs.

Say you have and the board is filled with 3 diamonds. Your opponent bets and you need to figure if it is worth drawing to the nut-flush.

With 1 diamond in your hand, 3 on the board that gives you the standard 9-outs for a flush draw however if you feel your opponent has made the flush already, that removes 2 of those outs and you are down to 7-outs for the nut flush.

Your overcard here is not worth anything if your opponent has a flush since making a pair of Aces is not going to help you.

So with 7-outs and your next decision coming on the Turn, that is 7x2 for 14% chance to improve.

So now lets say your opponent bets it and it is 200 to call into a 1000 pot.
From a pots odds point of view, calling it here requires around 9 outs.

So here is the Dilema

If you believe he has the Flush, you don't have Pot Odds to call
If you don't believe he has the Flush but has a better hand than Aces (like Two pair or Trips) then you just about have Pot Odds to call
If you don't believe he has the Flush and still think your Ace is good, this gives you an extra 6% chance to improve and is an easy call to make in that spot as you are more than priced in.

Although you have no exact way of knowing your opponent has a low pair, a flush or two pair/trips and this is why discounting your Outs is such a hard thing to do and what even Poker Pro's struggle with day to day.

The best Poker Pro's know how to apply discounted outs to their odds.

Personally... I don't worry about discounted outs as much - its a level of Poker Math that I don't feel I need to confuse myself with. I am happy to bet non-discounted Outs and just assess the strength of my/my opponents hand as normal.

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