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Texas hold'em odds - thinking

Think Texas Hold’em Odds Simplified | How to Play Poker

What could be more fun than Texas Hold’em odds? Well, I’m going to make them fun, darn it! And you’re going to have fun reading it. I’m not saying you’re going to read this article and tell your friends about an amazing experience or anything like that, but it’s going to be different. Don’t believe me? We’ll see. Let’s go for this unique ride on Texas Hold’em odds.

Texas Hold’em Odds: The Basics

Everything in this article will be basic. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be a math wizard to be a great poker player. You just need to know the basic poker rules for Texas Hold’em odds.

The math wizards are completely left-brained. They might be perceived as “wizards,” but they’re rarely the best player at the poker table. They lack creativity. This doesn’t mean they’re bad people or inferior. That is by no means the case. They’re always a threat because they never make mathematical errors, and they never play their poker hands poorly.

All I’m trying to say is that you should never be intimidated by them if you happen to be more right-brained because math wizards are predictable. I would much rather go up against a math player than a crafty player that I can’t put on a poker range.

Let’s begin with the most basic of the basic, which are your odds of begin dealt certain poker hands:

  • Any Pair: 5.9%
  • Pocket Aces: 0.45%
  • Pocket Aces or Pocket Kings: 0.91%
  • Pocket Aces, Pocket Kings, or Ace-King: 2.11%
  • Ace-King Suited: 0.3%
  • Ace-King Off-Suit: 0.9%
  • Any Two Suited Cards: 23.53%

If you’re dealt a pocket pair:

  • Flopping A Set: 10.8%
  • Flopping A Full House: 0.73%
  • Flopping Quads: 0.245%

If you’re dealt two cards that are not a pair:

  • Flopping A Pair: 29%
  • Flopping At Least A Pair: 32.4%
  • Flopping Two Pair: 2.02%
  • Flopping Trips: 1.3%
  • Flopping A Full House: 0.09%
  • Flopping Quads: 0.01%

If you’re dealt two suited cards:

  • Flopping A Flush: 0.84%
  • Flopping A Flush Draw: 10.9%
  • Flopping A Backdoor Flush Draw: 41.6%
  • Making A Flush By The River: 6.4%

If you’re dealt two off-suit cards:

  • Flopping A Flush Draw: 2.2%
  • Flopping A Backdoor Flush Draw: 25.6%
  • Making A Flush By The River: 1.26%

The list above is something you should study. This way you will know what is most and least likely to happen, which will make your decision-making process a lot easier pre-flop.

For example, there are poker players out there who don’t know anything about Texas Hold’em odds and think that flopping two pair with two non-paired hole cards is common. Little do they know, that there is only a 2.02% chance they will flop two pair. This is using both of their hole cards. A paired board doesn’t qualify. If those players continue to call pre-flop with the hopes of flopping two pair with two non-paired hole cards, they’re going to be –EV (Negative Expected Value) over the long haul. Easy stuff.

There should be many realizations above for a novice poker player who is beginning to learn poker strategy, especially if that novice poker player plans on playing in Texas Hold’em poker tournaments. Let me give you an example.

About two years ago, I was playing in a WSOP Circuit ring event at Harrah’s Cherokee. We were relatively early in the tournament and the chip leader was a talkative woman wearing a lot of jewelry. I was just behind her in chips with approximately 98,000. She had about 103,000. Her incessant talking told me that she wasn’t very experienced in Texas Hold’em poker tournaments, and she certainly wasn’t the type of person to consider Texas Hold’em odds.

Texas hold'em odds - aggressive player

Her jewelry told me that she didn’t have much concern for money. Even if she did, she was still the type to pretend that she didn’t. Therefore, it didn’t matter if she really had money or not; she was going to play as though she did.

I was dealt 33 in middle position. Jewelry Lady had raised 4x the BB from UTG (Under the Gun/first to act). I would usually fold 33 here because I’m in middle position and can’t call a raise. In a literal sense, I could call a raise. It’s not against the poker rules, but it would be a bad idea. That is potentially a messy situation. I try to avoid messy situations, as in situations that build and build and build, and before you know it, you have lost all your chips when all you wanted to do was see a cheap flop.

I’ll tell you why I called here. I knew what Jewelry Lady had (AA, KK, or AK) because she was playing face-up (only raising pre-flop with premium hands, and only raising 4x the BB with a Top 5 hand). I also knew that she didn’t have much concern for money. And I knew that if I flopped a set and moved all-in against her, she would call if she had AA, KK, or hit the flop with AK.

This meant I was getting excellent implied odds. That pertains to how much I expected to win if I hit my set. I could potentially win 98,000 chips from her while it only cost me 2,000 to call pre-flop (she raised 4x the BB when the BB was 500). Therefore, if nobody raised behind me (my only real concern because I could fold easily if I missed the flop heads-up), then I was calling 2,000 with a chance to win 98,000. The likelihood of me flopping a set was 10.8%.

Let me put it to you the simplest way possible. We both began with 20,000 chips in this tournament. We were both well above the chip average. It was very early in the tournament for both of us to have this many chips. If I doubled up, I would likely be the chip leader in the entire tournament. So, I’ll ask it to you this way: Would you risk approximately 2% of your stack for an 11% chance of becoming the chip leader in a WSOP Circuit ring event? Hell yes you would! This is simple poker strategy.

You’re probably wondering if I flopped my set on that hand. The answer is yes. She had AK, hit the Ace on the flop, bet out against me, and I jammed it. This was a huge overbet, but as I have mentioned before, an overbet like this sometimes looks like a bluff to your opponent. If they also hit the flop (not as hard), you’re going to get a call roughly 30%-40% of the time. This is extremely +EV over the long haul.

They will usually fold, but when they call, my gosh you are in control. You also have to figure in the Ego factor. Not for you in this instance, but for your opponent. Sometimes your opponent will call with a weaker hand than expected because they let Ego in the door. Ego doesn’t have to be your enemy. If you never let it in, it will go knocking somewhere else. I highly recommend allowing Ego to be your ally.

She called. I remember her saying, “Well, if you have it you have it, but I can’t fold.”

Enjoyed hearing those words. I now had the chip lead in the tournament. I didn’t end up winning the tournament, but I had a nice cash, and this hand played a big role. In most poker tournaments, I have to grind like hell for hours to get that many chips. This was one of those days where chips were handed to me on a silver platter.

Playing 33 in that spot is usually risky, but I called based on my profiling of my opponent. This is why GTO doesn’t work. You need to have more maneuverability than that. It’s a dynamic game with many variables. It’s a massive puzzle, and your job is to put the pieces together. The difference between this puzzle and others is that this puzzle is constantly changing.

There is no black and white like GTO. You must constantly adjust with the puzzle. For example, if my opponent in that spot was a tight player who I didn’t expect would pay me off, I would have folded.

The following loosely relates to Texas Hold’em poker odds, but it’s very important for Texas Hold’em poker tournaments. If you’re in a tough field like a WSOP Circuit ring event, then you’re going to find it challenging to accumulate chips. A lot will depend on your table draw, but you’re usually going to have a tough table.

That being the case, I would recommend set mining in most situations. There will be some instances where the Texas Hold’em odds will tell you to fold. If you want to fold, that’s a good decision. I will sometimes call even if the Texas Hold’em odds are slightly against me because of the implied odds. If I hit that set, is it possible that I double up, or even triple up?

If there is one thing you take away from this entire Texas Hold’em odds article, it’s that flopped sets are the most difficult hands for your opponents to detect. They are very well disguised. Therefore, they present exceptional opportunities. The best part is that they’re easy folds when you miss, and you will miss roughly 89% of the time. Get used to it, but remind yourself to be patient, because when it hits, you are likely to get paid in a big way.

Your opponents can see draws and top pair, they usually will not see flopped sets.

Texas Hold’em Odds: Hitting Draws

When you have a flush draw, you have nine outs. When you have an open-ended straight draw, you have eight outs. If you’re not sure what that really means in regards to Texas Hold’em odds, there is an easy way to figure out how likely you are to hit your draw.

Whenever you’re on the flop and you have a draw, multiply your outs by 4. For example, if you have nine outs with a flush draw on the flop, it’s 9 X 4 = 36%. You have a 36% chance of hitting your flush by the river.

Texas hold'em odds - flush draw

If you have an open-ended straight draw, it’s 8 X 4 = 32%. You have a 32% chance of hitting your straight by the river.

Texas hold'em odds - straight draw

When you’re on the turn and you have a draw, multiply your outs by 2. For example, if you have nine outs with a flush draw on the turn, it’s 9 x 2 = 18%. You have an 18% chance of hitting your flush by the river. If you have an open-ended straight draw, it’s 8 x 2 = 16%. You have a 16% chance of hitting your straight by the river.

As you can see, calling draws is usually not a good idea in poker tournaments. Or is it?

If you were only basing your decisions on these Texas Hold’em odds, it would be a bad idea. But look at the example above. Will you have good implied odds? Is the player you’re up against someone who will pay you off if you hit your draw? Or are they tight and it wouldn’t be worth the risk?

Also ask yourself if your opponent is the type of player to go on tilt if you hit your draw. If so, it’s a call. I will usually take advantage of opportunities to put someone on tilt as long as the price to call isn’t too high. This is a factor that most poker players don’t consider. They aren’t playing the long game. If my opponent has a lot of chips and is an emotional player who is likely to go on tilt, it’s an easy call for me.

Other Important Texas Hold’em Odds Info

You want to know how likely you are to win when you’re deep in poker tournaments and facing all-in decisions. The information below will help you.

If it’s a pocket pair vs. two overcards, it’s basically 50/50. You have to decide if you want to flip a coin for your tournament life. I’m not saying it’s wrong; it just depends on how much of a gambler you are.

Texas hold'em odds - pair vs two over cards

If you want to go for first place, then you generally need to make these calls and hope for the best. If you want to play the pay jumps while still having the possibility of finding a better spot to climb to first place, then you want to fold. I fall into the latter category unless it’s an emergency.

If you have a bigger pair than your opponent, you have an 80% advantage. A lot of people whine when the 20% hits, but that’s because they fail to remember all the times their 80% hand held.

Texas hold'em odds - over pair

Its poker, the 20% hands are going to hit sometimes. Say nothing and move on. You absolutely want to be in this spot. When you’re sure you’re at least 80%, get as many chips in there as possible.

Here’s where it gets interesting. If you have two bigger non-paired cards then you’re opponent, you only have a 60% edge. This is why so many Circuit players are fearless. They know that if their opponent has AK, AQ, AJ, AT, KQ, KJ, they’re still live. They apply pressure knowing that they will either get a fold or they will have a 40% chance of doubling their stack. If they fail, no sweat; they go to the cage and rebuy (most of them are backed by investors).

Even if you have a hand that is said to “dominate,” you’re only 67%. For example, if you have KT and you’re opponent has JT, then you supposedly have your opponent dominated, but I wouldn’t consider 67% domination. I’ll take it all day every day, but it’s not domination. This is yet another reason the Circuit pros love to apply pressure.

They know that there is no situation where they have no chance of winning, and they know that the odds aren’t as skewed toward the favorite as people think. By applying constant pressure, the chips they accumulate from folds make up for the times they’re underdogs. And since they’re aggressive, they get a lot of calls when they’re ahead. If you want to be a Circuit pro, this is a good gameplan to apply.

For the record, I don’t play like that, but they don’t tango with me much. I rely on my reading ability and play accordingly. That said, I’m a little different. I would recommend the strategy above if you choose to play on the Circuit.

Final Thoughts

Now you know a lot more about Texas Hold’em odds. I tried to make it at least somewhat entertaining. If you made it to this point, then I have succeeded. I also hope I kept everything as simple as possible so you don’t feel intimidated by Texas Hold’em odds. You are now armed with more information, and every time you’re armed with more information, you become a little more dangerous. See you at the WSOP!

♠ pokerjournal.org

Texas Hold’em Odds – FAQs

Q: What are the odds of being dealt pocket aces?

A: You will be dealt AA once every 221 hands, which is less than 0.5%.

Q: What are my odds of hitting an open ended straight draw?

A: Your odds of hitting an open-ended straight draw with two cards to come are roughly 32% and 16% with one card to come. Use the Rule of 2 and four: Multiply how many outs you have by four with 2 cards to come and by 2 with one card. This will give you the percentage (roughly).

Q: What are the odds of hitting a flush draw?

A: Your odds of hitting a flush draw with two cards to come are 36% and 18% with one card to come.

Q: How do I calculate odds in Texas hold’em?

A: If there is $100 in the pot and you must pay $50 to play, then you’re getting 2:1 odds

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