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Made Hands, Draws, Outs or how do you evaluate the strength of your hand

When you are holding a hand that is very likely to be the winning hand it is called a “made hand”, such as Top Pair with good kicker or a set would be.
On the contrary, a “draw” is a hand that needs another card (or two) to develop to be the strongest hand (as for example Kd Qc Jh Ts = open ended straight draw or OESD).
Draws can have different strength depending, for one, how likely it is that the draw, once completed, will actually be the winning hand.
But the most important concept for the evaluation of a draw is the question of “Outs”. Outs are those cards that will make the draw a made hand.

A simple example: Player holds Ah Kd, the flop comes 9d 7s 3h. The player is holding two “overcards”, and every A and every K are “outs” that will make his hand top pair/top kicker, which is very likely to be the best hand. Now there are 3 aces and three kings unaccounted for, that means the hand has 6 outs.

Sometimes hands have more possibilities to develop to be the winning hand:
1st example:
Player holds Ah Kd, Flop is Jd Th 5s. Again 3 aces and 3 kings are outs, but this time the four queens are outs too (because they would give our player the nut straight, that is the highest possible straight). Added up he has 10 Outs now, which is already a strong draw with a high degree of probability to be completed in one way or another with the next two cards.
2nd example:
Player holds Ah Jh, Flop is 9s 5h 3h. Here 3 Jacks and 3 Aces are outs, plus the nine remaining hearts that remain unaccounted, resulting in a total of 15 outs.

After knowing my number of outs, I can calculate the probability of the next card improving my hand. For example, if my hand has 8 Outs after the flop, there are 47 unknown cards (52 in the whole deck minus my two hole cards minus the three cards on the board). The probability is 8 divided by 47, which equals 17,39 %.
After the turn card, that changes to 8 divided by 46, since now I know one more card.
I can also calculate the probability of either the turn or the river improving my hand.

Take the 2nd example from above: Player holds Ah Jh, Flop is 9s 5h 3h = 15 Outs
Probability for a hit on the turn    15/47 = 31,9 %
Probability for a hit on the river    15/46 = 32,6 % (if there was no hit on the turn).
The total probability here is the sum of the above percentages. You will hit one of your outs either on the river or on the turn  64,5% of the time. That means that in such a situation you raise and try to fill the pot, because even if your draw fails to “hit”, you still make a profit in the long run if you play this hands 100 times the same way.

Of course in the heat of the moment it is not always possible to calculate all this. Because of this, in the following we have prepared a little list that gives you the number of outs and probabilities for various card combinations.
Please consider two things: a) the probabilities are for a hit with the next card only, and b) the number of outs sometimes may seem to be wrong, but the above explanation of the outs has been simplified a bit – more about outs later!
Again, we recommend that you print out this list and after a while of playing, you will recognize the draws and act according to their strengths.

Type of Draw

Number of Outs

Probability of improvement with Turn- or Rivercard

Probability of improvement with the next card

Relation Pot / Bet Size needed for a call

Backdoor Flush Draw

1,5

6,45%

3,19%

31

Backdoor Straight Draw

1,5

6,45%

3,19%

31

Pocket Pair

2

8,60%

4,26%

24

Same Pair low Kicker

3

12,90%

6,38%

16

Full House Draw durch 2 Pair 

4

17,21%

8,51%

12

Gutshot

4

17,21%

8,51%

12

Low Pair

4

17,21%

8,51%

12

Mid Pair gegen Top Pair 

5

21,51%

10,64%

9

Gutshot + Low Pair

5

21,51%

10,64%

9

3 Flush + Low Pair

5

21,51%

10,64%

9

Gutshot + 3 Flush

5,5

23,66%

11,70%

9

2 Overcards

6

25,81%

12,77%

8

Overpair

7

30,11%

14,89%

7

Set

7

30,11%

14,89%

7

Full House Draw durch Set 

7

30,11%

14,89%

7

Gutshot + 1 Overcard

7

30,11%

14,89%

7

3 Flush + 2 Overcards

7,5

32,26%

15,96%

6

OESD (open

8

34,41%

17,02%

6

Flush Draw

9

38,71%

19,15%

5

Gutshot + 2 Overcards

10

43,02%

21,28%

5

OESD + 1 Overcard

11

47,32%

23,40%

4

Flush Draw + Gutshot

12

51,62%

25,53%

4

Flush Draw +Overcard

12

51,62%

25,53%

4

OESD plus Pair

13

55,92%

27,66%

4

Pair + OESD

13

55,92%

27,66%

4

Flush Draw + Pair

14

60,22%

29,79%

3

Straight Flush draw

15

64,52%

31,91%

3

Set + Fullhouse Draw/Quad Draw 

17

73,13%

36,17%

3

Straight Flush draw + 1 Overcard

18

77,43%

38,30%

3

Straight Flush Draw + 2 Overcards

21

90,33%

44,68%

2

 

As a rule of thumbs, you should fold a hand with 5 or less outs, call a hand with 6 or 7 outs, and raise hands with more than 8 outs.
That said, the choice of your action will also depend on your position, activities and characteristics of your opponents and especially on the size of the pot.
Of course, if you have a made hand that requires no outs, you bet and raise anyway!

Deposit options for US poker fans

If you are based in the US, finding a poker room that accepts US players is only one of your problems. It is also difficult to make money transfers. But there are a number of options for deposits and withdrawals for US gamblers and we have described them here ... read more

All Freeroll Poker Tournaments starting now

All the big poker rooms are offering freeroll tournaments. There is no need to deposit, but you can still win real money. To find a permanently updated schedule of all freerolls starting in the next few minutes, across all rooms - click this link!

Play Poker and Blackjack at the same room

Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games, due to a low house edge and the fact that strategy can improve your results. But not all poker rooms have Blackjack too. Find our favorite rooms for Poker and Blackjack - read this!

European Poker Tour qualifiers

The European Poker Tour is becoming more and more popular. With moderate buy-ins, but very large prize pools, a lot of money can be made at these events. In consequence, several rooms are offering satellites to qualify for the offline EPT events. To find out which rooms offer the best chances for EPT qualification read this article.