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Poker Hand Value

What is Your Hand Worth?
by Hank Cashman of

The second lesson you need to learn when playing Hold’em is simply how good your hand might be. This is done in many ways, but the first you need to know is to figure your odds. Now there are many “odds” that you will need to learn but for this conversation we’ll stick to the odds that make up your hand.

At first it may seem complicated, but if you just round them off a little it becomes very simple. Let’s start by figuring your “outs”. This is a way to estimate the chances of you making your hand. Let’s say you have two clubs in your hand and there are two clubs on the flop. You need one more club to make your flush. There are thirteen clubs in the deck. You can see four of them. So, there are nine more that can help you. If you take the nine possible, divided by the remaining cards in the deck, 42 it will give you 21.43% chance of hitting your card.

I used 42 cards remaining as if there were two cards in your hand, two cards in other players’ hands, one burn card and the flop. That would be a deck of 52 cards minus 10 used cards equals 42. This does not take into consideration any clubs in hands or mucked but that is an unknown that can not be calculated.


Let’s simplify this. You need a club. There are nine that can help you. Just divide 9 by 50 and you get 18%. I used 50 just for simple math of rounding off the 52 cards in the deck.

Now you have the turn and the river to possibly get that club. You simply double your chances to from 18% to 36%. You have an estimated 36% chance of getting your flush. Note that this is the chance of you getting your hand, not the chance of winning the hand.

Now you have to figure your “pot odds”. Here again, it seems complicated but can be done very easily. Round your numbers off and estimate to keep it simple. Pot odds is how much you have to call compared to how much you can win. The problem with most players’ definition is that they stop there. You then have to measure you pot odds against your hands odds.

To figure your pot odds, let’s say the pot is 1,000 and you need to call a bet of 250. That means if you call and win you will get 4 to 1 for your call. Let’s go back to your hand odds. You have a 36% chance of hitting your hand and a 25% investment to call. The hands odds are larger than the pot odds, so call.

Always keep in mind that the term “pot odds” includes your hand compared to your call. Many players look at how much they can win without looking at their hand odds.

I’ve often heard a player sat they have pot odds because the pot is so large just to see that they had no chance to win. That is just stupid.

Keep the figures easy to estimate and always know where you stand.

Keep the cards and chips flying.

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How to Calculate Pot Odds - One of the most important concepts in the game which is often times overlooked.