Work out the Percentages of Making your Poker Hand

Ever watched the poker pros on the TV sitting there after someone has raised all in pre-flop? Ever wondered what they are thinking about while they seem to take forever to make the call or fold?

They are doing a few things: firstly looking for any poker tells that will aid their decision and secondly they are trying to put opponents on hands that they would move all in with and then work out the percentage chance of them taking the pot. So here are a few useful ones to get you started…

Useful Poker Odds

  • AK against AJ = 71%
  • AK against 99 = 45%
  • AK against 87 = 62%

Some players will get very excited to see AK sitting there looking pretty, however unless their opponent turns over AJ or AX so that the other person is dominated then you are looking at a coin flip situation. Would you want to risk all your chips on a coin flip ?

Here are some more involving poker pair odds

  • JJ against AK = 56%
  • JJ against QQ = 18%
  • JJ against 99 = 82%
  • JJ against 87 = 82%

Any over pair suddenly becomes a huge advantage, meaning that you should win the pot 4 out of every 5 tries. However if you run into AK you are in that coin flip situation again. This is where putting your opponent on a hand becomes very important.


Mr X has raised all in and you are fairly matched in chips, you look down to find JJ, now as you can see from the above if he has any under pair then you are a huge favourite ! However if he happens to have an over pair then you are in real trouble, and as we already mentioned if its AK or AQ then youd better pray to the poker gods that your Jacks hold up! Interesting though that holding connectors such as 8-7 is in as bad a shape as any under pair.

Short Handed Poker Odds

Heres some for when you get down to short-handed play. When you are 5 handed, 50% of the time someone will be dealt an Ace, so if you get one (two normally isnt bad!) then you could be in reasonable shape.

  • A7 against AK = 24%
  • A7 against QQ = 28%
  • A7 against KQ = 57%
  • A7 against JTs = 52%

So the lesson here is that if you put them on a real hand such as a pair higher than sevens or you have your Ace dominated, then you shouldnt get involved, however, against other very playable short handed holdings like KQ etc will give you a very slight edge. This is where your reading skills will come into play!

Short Stacking Poker Odds

These next few are more for calling a short stacks all in efforts. Some interesting ones here, and a few that if you win, when you show your cards, will leave the odd person stunned and get you loads more action as time goes by.

  • 72 against AJ = 32%
  • 72 against TT = 11%
  • 72 against 65s = 49%

Here the only thing that you really dont want them to turn over is a pair (especially an over pair, however in the late stages of a tournament with the blinds coming round AJ can suddenly look very attractive to the short stacked.

Putting It All Together

Poker Strategy Tip

Hot Tip: The simplest way to work out poker pot odds for your next card is multiply the number of outs by 2 and then add 2. It really is that simple.

You should now know how to work out the number of poker outs you have – this will be used to determine the poker odds of the hand. If the poker odds arent there, then you shouldnt be calling. Players often say that they use their “gut”, fair enough, and you may well get lucky sucking out a straight or flush on the river, however in the long run you will be throwing away money and tournament chips! Let me show you why with a fairly straightforwards example.

Example of Poker Pot Odds

You are playing in an online poker tournament. You have Q-J and the board comes 10-9-2 – at the moment any 8 or K will give you a straight

Your Hand Flop Turn River
queen of clubs jack of diamonds ten of spades nine of clubs two of spades face down card face down card

There are four 8s and four Ks so thats a total of eight outs : heres the maths

8(outs) × 2 = 16 .. +2 = 18% – thats pretty much 5/1 not too bad (18% / 100%)

Here’s how to put those poker odds and outs into practice:

In a UK poker tournament, you have Q-J again and you call the BB which is $50, someone else raises it to $100 but seeing as there are five players all called its another $50 to you to attempt to win $500 (5 players $100 each) – the board again comes 10-9-2 (surely someone needs to shuffle!)

Now heres the odds bit, if someone was to bet $500 into a $500 pot then you are getting only 2/1 (your $500 to try to win $1000) – so here you should laydown.

However lets say that first position bets only $100 into a $500 pot, even if the others fold then you are still getting 6/1 (your $100 to win the $100 just put in by first player and the $500 already in the pot.) this is great !

Why Poker Pot Odds Are So Important

The reason that poker odds are so important is because looking at the above example, you will only make your straight once in every five attempts, so if you did the above example 5 times you should win one of them. Therefore if it costs you $100 each time then:

  • The four times you lose . youve spent $400
  • But the time you win . if using the above you are getting 6/1 so win $600 – thus you are actually now in profit

Now turn it the other way and say that you called the $500 bet into a $500 pot each time (odds of 2/1!)

  • The four times you lose youve spend $2000
  • But the time you win . if using the above you are getting only 2-1 so you win $1000 – thus you are still $1000 down and counting!

The same goes for any outs that you are chasing!

Betting odds

These are literally the odds you are getting on the money bet at the time (rather than already in the pot) – so if there are 5 players before you and they have all bet $10 then you are getting 5/1 betting odds on your money.

Pot odds

These are your bet in relation to how much money is in the pot – if the pot contains $100 and you are betting $10 then you are getting 10/1 on your money.

Implied Odds

These, you have to be a bit more imaginative with as these odds havent yet happened !

Let’s say that we are on our open ended straight draw (so we have 8 outs × 2 + 2 = 18% so 5/1 – nice !)

You need 5/1 to call this bet – however lets say that there is $100 in the pot and the first guy bets $50, now its your turn .. at the moment you are only getting 3/1 so thats not enough – but by implying odds, you are thinking that if 2 more players call then you are actually in the long run getting 5/1 or more.

This can get more complex in terms of raising to get implied odds- but we’ll deal with that below.

You know how I said in raising that If you raise rather than just calling, you have a chance to win that pot there and then! Well, this also applies when trying to imply odds.

You are in an online poker tournament. We have a suited connector such as QJs and we are on the button, everyone has folded round to you and so now you raise it three times the big blind to 60. Only the big blind calls and so there are just the two of you in the pot (120).

Now lets say that the flop comes down 10-K-7 rainbow. The BB bets 60 into you, if you just call here you are only getting 3/1 (the right call if there is no more betting but it seems like there’s going to be more on the turn! So you’d like 5/1. Now you raise him back! Six things are good about this play!

  1. You are disguising your draw.
  2. You may well get him to fold and take it down right now, if he was having a stab with a pair of tens, he may put you on a King and lay it down.
  3. By making it 120; if he calls there is now 240 in the pot, so even if he bets 60 again on the turn you are getting your correct poker pot odds.
  4. If you don’t connect on the turn and he bets say 200 then you have gained information by raising on the flop that he is probably strong and so can lay it down.
  5. If you do hit it on the turn he wont put you on a straight and so if he has something good like K-K-K then he will be thinking that he has the best poker hand and you will get paid off and then some!
  6. You are mixing up your play and are showing the table that you are prepared to raise with not much and so when you do have a great hand you are more likely to get callers and get paid.

All of this for a 120 raise on the flop Clearly you wont make this play all the time but against certain players it can be very powerful.

How do you like these odds?

According to aviation experts: In the event of a crash and a smoke filled cabin when trying to escape:

  • There is more chance of you living than dying if you are seated within SEVEN rows of a viable exit
  • There is more chance of you dying than living if you are seated further than SEVEN rows of a viable exit

Nice !!! so if you’re flying Easyjet get there early to get boarding A rather than E – hehe


You should want your opponents to play badly. Yes it sucks when someone hits a 22-1 long shot against you. Over the long haul, however, you should be pocketing his or her desperate money the other twenty-one times!


  1. i thought when you have 8 outs on the turn you times the 8×4 +2 on flop making it 34% to it your straight and 8×2 +2 on the river making it 18% to it your straight.

    Comment by alan on October 31, 2011 at 7:12 am
  2. I’ll reword slightly and chuck in some examples:

    Let’s say you are holding 9c8c (one of my favs :D ) and the board comes … 6s7dAh …. You now have 8 outs to hit. To work out the % chance of hitting on the turn card, you do the following: (8×2)+2 = 18% or effectively 4.5to1 (this would also be the same if you were now on the turn waiting for the river. The 8×4 = 32% or effectively just over 2to1 is when you are on the flop and faced with an all in decision and therefore need to know the % of hitting with either the turn OR the river. These rules stay the same no matter how many Outs you have.

    Hope that helps.


    Comment by admin on November 4, 2011 at 12:51 pm
  3. This website is cool! Thanks for the tips young people. I’m an old fart who is learning the game. I never knew poker was so deep with so many strategies, angles, and odds. Not out to conquer the world, just want to enjoy myself whenever I’m in Vegas at a $2 or $3 table. Thanks again!

    Comment by Old Man Mike on February 12, 2012 at 8:59 pm
  4. This might be a silly question so apologies first but
    are these calculations accurate when playing a table
    with 6 people who are all still in on the flop or river?
    If all six players are still in surely thats decreases the
    of hitting your card as they could have it?

    Again apologies guys if this is a dumb question i am a newby lol

    Comment by David on June 13, 2012 at 1:29 am

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