Common Texas Hold’em Odds
Contrary to what some poker strategists tend to preach you don’t need to memorize lists of odds and perform complex mathematics to be a winning Hold’em player. However, there are some simple odds and probabilities that you should be aware of when you’re drawing to a hand or want to prevent your opponents from doing so.
If you figure that your draw will be the best hand if you hit it, just compare the odds of you hitting that hand to the odds the pot is giving you to decide if you’re making a mathematically sound play.
The odds below are separated into pre-flop and post-flop sections and while some are essential some were thrown in for fun. You will run into this situation often at the table so get into the habit of comparing the actual odds of making your hand against the pot odds you’re receiving.
Of course, in no-limit games you should often also consider the implied odds (the amount of money that you might expect to make from your opponent after you make your hand), but that is the subject of another article.
If I recommend that you memorize a vital statistic it will be bolded and you will run into it frequently playing Hold’em. In parenthesis, the probability will be expressed in percentages to the nearest tenth.
If you’d like to see, on average, how every Hold’em hand plays out against random opponents, you can check out my calculations at this page: Texas Hold’em Hand Rankings.
Bold text = most common playing decisions and thus most important to commit to memory.
These odds won’t really affect your game strategy, but it’s interesting to see how rare certain premium cards are. It’s also important to realize that many players overvalue random suited cards or a single, which are dealt relatively frequently. However, the odds that these hands will improve are much less frequent.
Probability of being dealt:
• Any pocket pair: 16 to 1 (5.9%)
• Two suited cards: 3.25 to 1 (23.5%)
• A-K (Big slick – suited or offsuit): 81.9 to 1 (0.9%)
• Any single ace: 5.7 to 1 (15%)
• Pocket Aces: 220 to 1 (0.5%)
• Pocket Aces or Kings: 110 to 1 (1%)
This is where true strategy and comparing pot odds to the actual odds of hitting a better hand come into play. I’ve listed the most essential common situations of what you’re looking to hit on the flop. It’s a wise idea to try to commit the approximate values to memory so you can quickly make pre-flop decisions at the table.
• Hitting another kind of your pocket pair (making a set): 7.5 to 1 (11.8%)
• You will pair at least one of your unpaired hole cards: 2.1 to 1 (32.4%)
• Hitting two or more of your suit when you hold suited cards: 7.5 to 1 (11.8%)
• Hitting a flush on the flop with suited hole cards: 118 to 1 (0.8%)
• You will hit two pair on the flop with unpaired hole cards: 49 to 1 (2%)
The flop is the turning point of a Hold’em hand. This is where you’re going to make your biggest and most expensive decisions. Knowing the odds of improving your hand after the flop is one of the most important things to remember in Hold’em.
These odds, combined with the reading of your opponent(s), will entirely shape whether you continue with a drawing hand or how you make it an incorrect play for your opponent(s) to draw out on your made hand.
This is especially where “outs” come into your line of thinking and how all of these odds are generated. For example, if you have 4 cards to a flush you have 9 outs to make your hand on the turn. There are 13 cards per suit and you have 4 of them. There are 9 unknown cards left that could complete your flush.
Drawing to open-ended straights and flushes, or fear of your opponents doing so, is one of the most common scenarios in Hold’em. Again, compare the following odds to the pot odds you’re receiving in order to calculate if it is correct to continue your draw.
On the flop, when you have:
• Four cards to a flush, you will complete it on the turn: 4.2 to 1 (19.2%)
• An open-ended straight, you will complete it on the turn: 4.9 to 1 (17.9%)
• A set, you will complete a Full House or Four of a Kind on the turn: 5.7 to 1 (14.9%)
• Two pair, you will complete a Full House on the turn: 10.8 to 1 (8.5%)
Note that the figures above also apply on the turn to calculate odds for the river since you have the same 1 card to come.
The following set of odds is the likelihood to complete these hands by the river on the flop, so with 2 cards to come.
On the flop, when you have:
• Four cards to a flush, you will complete it by the river: 1.9 to 1 (35%)
• An open-ended straight, you will complete it by the river: 2.2 to 1 (32%)
• A gutshot straight draw, you will complete it by the river: 5.1 to 1 (17%)
• Two pair, you will complete at least a Full House by the river: 5 to 1 (17.7%)
• Three of a kind, you will complete at least a Full House by the river: 2 to 1 (33.4%)
• One pair, you will complete at least three of a kind by the river: 10.9 to 1 (8.4%)
• An open-ended straight flush draw, you will complete at least a straight by the river: 0.9 to 1 (54.1%)
• An open-ended straight flush draw, you will complete it by the river: 10.9 to 1 (8.4%)
This comes up most often in tournaments when only two players are involved and one of them is all-in. When all of your money goes in preflop against one opponent no further decisions need to be made and the cards will be dealt to the river to determine a winner.
• Larger pocket pair vs. smaller pocket pair (AA vs. KK): Larger pair is at least an 80% favorite
• Pocket Aces vs. unpaired cards (AA vs. KQ): Pocket Aces are at least an 80% favorite
• Pocket Pair vs. overcards (QQ vs. AK): Pocket pair is at least a 52% favorite (commonly referred to as a coin flip)
• Pocket Pair vs. one overcard (JJ vs. A10): Pocket pair is at least a 66% favorite
• Overcards vs. Undercards (AK vs. Q10): Overcards are at least a 57% favorite
• One overcard (A3 vs. J10): Overcard is at least a 50% favorite
• Better kicker (AK vs. AJ): Better kicker is at least a 70% favorite
Just for Fun
These statistics probably won’t affect your game in the slightest, but it’s interesting to know what some of the extreme odds are in Hold’em.
• If you’re holding a pair, the flop will bring you four of a kind about 1 in 119 tries, or 0.84% of the time.
• The odds are 70.5 to 1 (1.4%) that no one at the table has an Ace or a King at a 10-handed table.
• The odds are 87,897 to 1 (0.01%) that you will not be dealt an Ace or a pair for 50 hands.
• You will be dealt pocket Aces four consecutive times 1 in 2,385,443,281 times. Expressed as a percentage, it will happen 0.00000004% of the time.