Work Out Percentages

Poker Percent Calculations

The Method

It is really very simple to work out your poker percentage chance of hitting what you need on the next card the quickest and easiest way that I find is to use a simple formula.

Take your number of outs and double it. Then add 2. The resulting number is now your percentage chance of hitting your card.

Quick Example

I have a heart flush draw on the flop.

Your Hand Flop Turn River
queen of hearts four of hearts nine of hearts two of hearts jack of spades face down card face down card

I can see four hearts in total and so I know there must be 9 hearts left in the deck. Therefore I have 9 outs:

Let’s take our outs and double it.

9 × 2 = 18

Next, we add 2 to the total.

18 + 2 = 20

We have 20% chance of hitting the card we need to make our flush.

Odds into Percentages

Not too hasty! “How do I get this to relate to my pot odds?” I hear you cry. To convert a percentage into odds we do the following:

All we do is divide the % chance that we won’t hit our out (80%) by the % chance that we will (20%).


  • 20% chance = 80% ÷ 20% = 4:1
  • 30% chance = 70% ÷ 30% = 2.3:1
  • 40% chance = 60% ÷ 40% = 1.5:1

Remember that 4:1, pronounced as saying “Four to one”, is a ratio and not a fraction. 4:1 is not the same as one quarter. 4:1 means that for every five games you play, you will lose four games, and win one.

Two Cards To come

We have covered working out the percentage for your next card which is all well and good when we are playing the turn, but what about playing the flop when there are two cards still to come?

Take your number of outs but this time multiply them by 4 instead of 2. Thats it! See? I told you it was simple.

I have my flush draw again and someone has just gone all in on the flop against me. What are the odds of hitting my flush by the river?

Your Hand Flop Turn River
queen of hearts four of hearts nine of hearts two of hearts jack of spades face down card face down card

I have 9 outs again but this time we multiply by 4 instead of 2:

9 × 4 = 36%

64% ÷ 36% = 1.8 to 1

The actual correct figure for this scenario is 1.9 to one, however the above demonstrates a very easy and quick way to work out your percentages with a reasonable amount of accuracy.

Protecting Your Hand How Much To Bet

Lets do a couple of real examples to see how we can make money at the table and not lose it.

You are sitting on the button at a $5/$10 No Limit ring game with T9 hearts. Four players are seeing the flop.

Your Hand Flop Turn River
ten of hearts nine of hearts eight of diamonds jack of clubs four of spades face down card face down card

You have flopped an open-ended draw and are currently drawing to the best hand.

There is $40 in the pot at this point and the player in early position bets out $10. One player folds and the other calls. Now its your turn.

There is now $60 in the pot. $40 preflop and two bets of $10. Is it profitable to call $10?

Think about it. Scroll up the page and see if you can work it out before reading on for the answer.

Lets start by asking what is your chance of hitting your straight with the next card? Any 7 or any Q will do you, so therefore you have 8 outs.

As far as you are concerned there are four 7′s plus four Queens left in the deck to give you a total of 8 outs.

Remember: (outs × 2) + 2 = % chance of hitting. So…

8 × 2 = 16

16 + 2 = 18

18% is a little over 5:1. You are being offered 6 to 1 pot odds and so should definitely call.

Let’s Go Agian

Let’s look at it again, this time with an all in situation.

Again 4 players see the same flop, only this time the player in early position goes all in for his remaining 20 and the other two players both fold now its down to you again. You have to put in 20 to win 60 (40 preflop and then the 20 all in bet). What is your chance of hitting your straight with two cards to come?

You still have 8 outs only this time we multiply by 4.

8 × 4 = 32%

68% ÷ 32% = 2.1

You are being offered 3 to 1 pot odds (60:20) and so a call would be wise here!

One More Time

Same example again, only this time the early position has gone all in for 20, then the person in middle position re-raises to 60. Lets look at the pot:

40 preflop

+20 from EP

+60 from MP

=total of 120

We have to call 60 to win 120 so have pot odds of 2 to 1. As we calculated above we need at least 2.1 to 1 in order to be able to call this would be a mistake in the long run and we would end up losing money. Best to fold and let them fight it out.

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  1. Excellent article.

    The only bit I can’t quite get my head around is:

    “I have 9 outs again but this time we multiply by 4 instead of 2:

    9 × 4 = 36%

    When we have 1 card to come it’s x2 then add 2. Why not x4 and add 4 with 2 cards to come?

    Comment by Simon on April 21, 2011 at 7:17 am
  2. Hi Simon

    These are just the calculations that happen to give you pretty much bang on the actual percentage chance, but without having to do some seriously complex maths.

    So with 1 card to come x2+2

    And With 2 cards to come (i.e. all in on flop) x4

    It basically just makes the calculation work … otherwise you’d have too much percentage :D

    Try a few examples and check against the exact figures. You’ll be surprised how accurate they are. Give us a shout if you have any other questions.

    Comment by admin on April 21, 2011 at 8:03 am
  3. hey, i’m more comfortable working with percentages rather than odds….
    i guess you n i would both agree if you have, a higher odd % compared to percentage amount that you need to bet, you should go ahead and bet.
    BUT…i cant quite figure out how to calculate the percentage you need to bet…

    for example….if the pot has 100$ and you need to put in 20$ to call….is that 20%
    OR if the pot has 100$ and you need 20$ to call …..would that be 20%

    hope you can help!!
    P.S – great article!

    Comment by geeta on April 29, 2011 at 6:16 am
  4. Great stuff guys!

    Comment by Old Man Mike on February 12, 2012 at 9:40 pm

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