When you break down poker into what it is, much of the game is based on the odds of something happening. The name of the game is to try and stack the odds in your favour. Or, if they are not in your favour, get in a position where your potential reward greatly outweighs the risk and probability on offer.
It is therefore vital that anyone trying to play poker seriously and on a regular basis understands the common poker odds. There are some extreme and rare odds that you don’t need to know, these are best left to the professionals, but common occurrences are important for you to know about.
These will increase your understanding of the game, how it works and what you are looking for while sat down at the table. They will, perhaps more importantly, also give you a better chance of winning. You don’t do this by having better cards, but instead by making better decisions. If you go through the decision-making process at poker with knowledge of the odds, your decision making should be a lot better, you will know when to push hard, when to retreat and when to fold completely and allow the game to pass.
To improve your knowledge of the game, here is a look at the common poker odds, which should include a list of scenarios and hopes that you have for your game. With this knowledge, you should be better equipped when it comes to your decision-making abilities on the table.
The Odds Pre-Flop
|Hand||Odds (Rounded)||% Chance|
|A-K Suited (Or Any Specific Suited Cards)||333/1||0.30%|
|A-A (Or Any Pair)||220/1||0.45%|
|High Draw Consecutive Suited (A-K, K-Q, Q-J, J-10)||82/1||1.21%|
|A-K (Or Any Specific Pair)||82/1||1.21%|
|A-A, K-K, Q-Q||73/1||1.36%|
|A-A, K-K, Q-Q, JJ||54/1||1.81%|
|Jack Or Better (Suited)||54/1||1.81%|
|A-A, K-K, Q-Q, J-J, 10-10||43/1||2.26%|
|10 or Better (Suited)||32/1||3.02%|
|Consecutive Suited (e.g. 3-4)||25/1||3.92%|
|10 Or Better Consecutive (e.g 10-J)||20/1||4.83%|
|Two Cards At Least Q, K or A||19/1||4.98%|
|Two Cards At Least J, Q, K or A||10/1||9.05%|
|Two Cards At Least 10, J, Q, K or A||6/1||14.3%|
|Any Consecutive (e.g. 3-4)||651||15.7%|
|Two Cards At Least 9, 10, J, Q, K or A||4/1||20.8%|
|Non-Consecutive, Non-Suited, At Least One Card 2-9||<1/1||53.4%|
First of all, let’s look at the starting hands you can make with your two cards. These can make or break your game straight away, and you could be swayed to either bet up or fold instantly from these two cards, without seeing anything else on the table.
The draw you are least likely to get looking at the odds is an Ace-King (A-K) suited start, this has odds of 331-1 of happening in a game, and obviously would put you in a great position to build a fantastic hand. This applies to any specific suited card combination.
Pocket aces is a hand that many people look out for when playing and this is the second toughest hand to get in your game. A start of A-A has odds of 220-1 when you consider the probability of this happening. Although aces are what people aim for, the odds are the same of getting any other specific pair, so for example, the odds are also this if you are aiming to get a K-K pair at the start.
High-end suited cards are something else that players look for. Whether it is A-K, K-Q, Q-J or J-10, the odds of landing this are just under 82-1 for players. These odds are the same for any specific non-pair, which are suited, so for example 3-4 is exactly the same odds, though obviously this is not the top of this type of hand, people want the higher numbers.
The odds are also worked out for those who are just looking for odds on getting something high end. For example, the combined odds of hitting either A-A, K-K, Q-Q or J-J are 54-1, so in theory, you should hit one of these hands every 55 games that you play, although of course that is based on a far bigger sample size so not guaranteed.
If you are aiming for high-end flushes later in the game, a start of suited cards which are 10 or better will interest you, and this has odds of 32-1 in the game of poker.
As for some with smaller odds. The odds of hitting any pair on the draw are 16-1, while the odds for any two cards with one of them at least a jack is 10-1. Any two connected cards is around 5.4-1 if you were wondering about the odds of having a chance at a straight later in the game.
Lastly, we should mention the hand with the biggest probability of happening, and the smallest odds. This is not the hand we want, but often the one we get. A hand with neither card connected or suited and involved at least one card that is between 2 and 9 has odds of 0.8-1.
This means you have around a 53% chance of getting a hand that many of us would throw away, so actually it is more likely that you would fold on a poker game than do anything else, if you played your hands correctly. For those who like to play every hand and get involved in the game, this is an important piece and a vital part of assessing the odds at poker.
The odds show that more often than not, you will receive a hand that gives you the lowest chance of winning. You will not have the same suited cards, you will not have connected cards, and you won’t have two cards that are high. Knowing and understanding this is a great way to change your mindset when it comes to playing or folding early in a game of poker, and vital if you want to have success while playing the game.
The Odds on the Flop
|Straight (Holding Two Connecting Cards Pre-Flop)||76/1||1.3%|
|Three Of A Kind (Holding A Pair)||7.5/1||11.8%|
|Pair (Matching One Pre-Flop Card)||2.5/1||29%|
One of the biggest parts of the game is the flop, and how that affects both your hand and the hands that your opponents have. The flop will change the game, and it will cause many people to fold. To do this correctly, or to play on when the time is right, is one of the hardest decisions that any poker player has to make.
But what are the odds of getting a hand from the flop? Here is a look at some of the common poker hands that you can make from the flop with the cards that you have.
A flush is the best hand you can create in this instance, although the odds of creating any flush using your hands and the flop is 118-1, so don’t expect it to come around too often.
The next potential hand you could get from the flop is a straight. If you have two connecting cards in your hand then the chances of hitting a straight using the flop is 76-1, so again, a very low chance of this happening at this stage of the game.
If you already hold a pair then your next option will be to try and hit three of a kind, which is something that all poker players should be aiming for, before potentially even hitting four of a kind. If you have a pair, then the chance of hitting a third card on the flop to give you three of a kind is 7.5-1, which is reasonable to think you can hit sometimes. Of course, this does need you to hit a pair from the start, before you get to this stage.
The final potential hand from the flop to mention is hitting a pair with one of the cards in your hand. In this instance, you have two separate cards in your hand, and you get another one of those via the flop to give you a pair that includes one of your own cards and one from the flop. The odds of hitting this are 2.45-1, so you do have a strong chance of getting at least a pair from your hand when you reach the flop stage of the game.
Odds on the Board
|Hand||Odds (Flop)||Odds (Turn)||Odds (River)|
|Three Consecutive Suited Cards||459/1||114/1||45/1|
|Three Of A Kind||424/1||106/1||46/1|
|4+ Cards Suited||–||93.7/1||28.5/1|
|Four Consecutive Cards||–||24.8/1||4.27/1|
|All Mixed Suit||1.51/1||8.48/1||–|
|Three Consecutive Cards||27.8/1||7.46/1||2.99/1|
|3+ Cards Suited||18.3/1||6.4/1||3.24/1|
The final area to look at is the odds of what happens on the board. You have to remember when looking at this, these cards are open and available to anyone, so they can use them just like you can, to form a hand.
The board will eventually finish with five cards, this is after the river is dealt and this is the stage at where our odds are taken from.
The odds of three or more of the same suit being on the board is 3.24-1, which is useful to know for those who are hunting down a flush and have two cards of the same suit in their hand. If you have just one card, the odds of hitting four of the same suit on the board are much bigger at 28.5-1, but of course here you need to remember that everyone else will only need one of that suit to get the same hand as you.
Three cards of a consecutive rank has odds of 2.99-1, while four of a consecutive rank has odds of 4.27-1. These are important to note for those who are playing for a straight in the game.
These odds increase greatly when you add into the equation that the consecutive cards have to have the same suit as well. Three consecutive cards with the same suit has odds of 45-1, which is far greater than the above option where the suit doesn’t matter.
The odds of dealing one pair is just 1.36-1, so this happens on a regular basis, while the odds of two pairs, not including a full house, goes up to 20-1.
By knowing what the odds are on the board, you know what kind of chances you have of creating a hand from the board based on what you have yourself. It is important to remember here though that the cards you are using on the board are available to everyone, so the odds here are the same for all players and can just as easily impact others and help them, as they can you.
Odds of Making a Hand
|Hand||Odds (Rounded)||% Chance|
|Four Of A Kind||4,165/1||0.024%|
|Flush (Exc. Royal & Straight)||509/1||0.20%|
|Straight (Exc. Royal & Straight Flush)||254/1||0.39%|
|Three Of A Kind||46/1||2.11%|
The final odds to look at are overall and based on all the cards that eventually become part of the game. These are the odds on making a specific hand, which is what we are all targeting in the hope of winning.
The best hand in the game, a royal flush, has the biggest odds of the game, while the lowest ranked hand, a high card, has the shortest odds of happening.
The odds of hitting a royal flush are 649,739-1, while the next best hand, a straight flush, has odds of 72,192-1. This shows that players should not be going all out to get these, because they are extremely rare, but you should also note that it would be rare to lose against one of these too.
Hitting four of a kind has odds of 4165-1, this is the next best while other hands shorten in odds considerably after this one. They begin with a full house at 693-1, followed by a regular flush at 508-1 and a regular straight at 253-1.
We then get to the more common hands in the game, three of a kind is 46-1, while hitting two pairs has odds of 20-1.
The most common finishing hands are hitting one pair at 1.36-1 and hitting a high card only at 0.995-1.
What the odds show us here should really help you build your expectations while playing poker. The most likely outcome, with just over a 50% chance of happening is that you will hit a high card and nothing else. With this hand, you are not going to win many games of poker unless you are very lucky.
Therefore, the most common hand you will hit is not going to be a winning one, so you shouldn’t be playing with the mentality that you are going to win all the time, because the cards will not work in your favour like that.
The bigger hands are what we all aim for, and we know these are going to give us a great chance to win. However, as the odds show here, the chances of hitting them are very difficult, so you should not be playing with a strategy that makes you think you will hit these on a fairly regular basis.
These hand odds should help you make decisions while playing poker. You won’t get these right all of the time, but they should help you make more informed decisions about your game.