Poker Hands Odds
Poker strategy involves a myriad of different calculations as the game progresses. It is why it is a game of extremely high skill for the professional players, even though the basic game is not too difficult to grasp.
You may not have thought about poker hands odds before, as they are not essential to playing this particular card games. However, they certainly are essential to mastering the game and developing your poker strategy. The odds that certain hands will come up during the game not only dictates their ranking as to which hand beats what, but also provides clues as to how aggressively you should bet (if at all). You can have poker hands odds charts open as you play, but reading up on them will also just give you a better idea of which scenarios are worth betting in. Read below for more, or join Slotzo and play today!
What Exactly are Poker Odds?
Best poker hands odds can be thought of in terms of the usual 7:1 format you might see on sports betting or at the races. Specifically, they are referred to as odds against, as the odds calculate the number of ways the hand could not be drawn, versus the number of ways to draw it. We start our calculation with the total number of five card hands available in the game of poker – 2,598,960. Already it is a massive number we are dealing with and casts light on how many possibilities there are during the game.
One thing that is easy to grasp is that the poker hands most likely to win are less likely to come up. That means the best poker hands have higher odds, that is, less of a chance of being drawn. So, let’s take the royal flush, the best hand in the game (if you are not playing with a wild joker which makes the five of a kind hand possible). First, we take the frequency of the royal flush, that is, how many different ways it can be drawn, across all the suit combinations. Things are simplest for the royal flush because they have to involve the cards ace, king, queen, jack, ten. Therefore, the frequency is dictated by the number of suits, four. So, there are four different ways to draw the hand.
To calculate the odds against drawing a royal flush, we take the total number of five card hands possible minus the number of ways to draw a royal flush (2,598,960 – 4). This gives us 2,598,956 ways to not draw a royal flush, and 4 ways to draw one, giving us odds of 2,598,956 : 4. We can then simplify this down to a tidier 649,739 : 1. Of course, it is not very often you would stick a bet on the goalkeeper to score a hattrick in a game of football with odds of 649,739 : 1, which is why we do not play poker with a royal flush in mind until we have a few of the cards we need. Find poker on our live casino now!
Odds and Winning Poker Hands
What about the other winning poker hands, can we work out the likelihood of them being drawn too? Absolutely, and this is where the ranking of all the best poker hands comes in. The order of the hands may seem somewhat arbitrary until you really knuckle down into the calculations, but once they make sense they are illuminating as to how likely each hand is, which in turn can influence your poker strategy. To take the game of Texas Hold’em, where the highest-ranking cards win, the poker hands and their respective odds at the start of the casino games are as follows:
#1 Straight Flush – 72,192 1/3 : 1
#2 Four of a Kind – 4,165 : 1
#3 Full House – 693.17 : 1
#4 Flush – 507.8 : 1
#5 Straight – 253.8 : 1
#6 Three of a Kind – 46.33 : 1
#7 Two Pair 20 : 1
#8 Single Pair 1.366 : 1
#9 High Card – No Winning Hand – 0.995 : 1
Poker Hands Odds and Poker Strategy
Now we know the odds against all the poker hands, how can this inform our gameplay? Of course, the next thing to think about is being able to garner a sense of probability when we are further into the game. For instance, if you are about to start the river round and you are hoping for one last card to finish your poker hand.
Let’s say you have two hearts in the hole, a solid poker starting hand. Then, after the turn there are now two more hearts on the table, along with two spades. To complete a flush (five cards of one suit) you are therefore hoping that the last card turned over is a heart. However, the pure excitement of this possibility is perhaps not enough to educate us on how much we should be betting in this scenario.
Rather, we can work out the probability of this last heart coming up. Of course, there is no time to make complex calculations whilst at the table, but you could have a poker hands odds chart open whilst you play online, or indeed just learn and get a sense for the likelihood of these kinds of things happening. There are 13 hearts in a deck and 4 currently on the table, which leaves 9 hearts still available in the deck (ignoring the unknown cards in your opponent’s hand). That means there are 9 possible cards that could land you the flush you are looking for.
Our nice clean odds of winning are coming. So, we take the 52 cards in a deck, subtract the two in our hand to get 50, subtract the four cards currently on the table to leave 46 cards. Of these, remember we had 9 hearts left in the deck? So, we need to draw one of the 9 hearts from the 46, leaving 37 that would cause us to lose. Our odds of drawing the last heart we need are therefore 37:9, or a very tidy 4:1.
With poker hands odds, there are a whole host of other factors at play, but ultimately 4:1 is decent odds for landing that flush on the river. Of course, the pot could be low or extremely high at this point and that will affect how ‘good’ these odds are (if you imagine the bookies have set them). With some simple calculations like this in mind in your poker strategy, you can start to gather a better idea of whether you are holding out for a good possibility or praying for the impossible!