# Poker Drawing Odds & Outs Explained

**Poker drawing odds and outs are crucial concepts to understand if you want to achieve success in poker.** You don’t have to master complicated mathematical formulas to win at poker, but you do need to know how to calculate the probability of hitting a draw.

For example, if you have a flush draw on the turn in Texas Hold’em, what are the odds that your flush is going to complete on the river?

This guide from Upswing Poker aims to give you everything you need to understand how outs work in poker, and how to calculate drawing odds. Let’s dive in.

## What Are Outs in Poker?

If you watch the World Series of Poker Main Event on television, you’ll often see dramatic hands where one player is all-in against another with potentially millions of dollars at stake.

The on-screen graphics give the viewer a wealth of vital info, as we can see from this screenshot from the 2024 Main Event final table (courtesy of PokerGO):

With four players remaining and $10,000,000 on the line for first place, Jason Sagle is all-in for his tournament life against Niklas Astedt. Sagle’s J♠J♦ is in good shape against Astedt’s A♣3♣ after the flop comes 3♦4♥8♦.

As we can see by the graphic on the bottom-left of the screen, Sagle has a 79% chance of winning the hand at this point. The top-left of the screen shows the outs available for Astedt.

Outs in poker are cards that can make your hand stronger. In this case, Astedt has five outs, needing an ace or a three to take the lead in the hand.

When you’re playing poker live (or online), you don’t need to be all-in against an opponent with both players’ hole cards face up to calculate your outs. While you never know for sure what your opponent is holding, you can evaluate what cards make your hand stronger.

In the example above, Astedt already has a pair of threes on the flop. If you’re in his spot, even without Sagle’s hole cards exposed, you know that an ace improves your hand to two pair, and a three improves your hand to trips. You can calculate that you have five outs, and you can reasonably assess that hitting one of those outs will put you ahead of your opponent.

## How To Calculate Drawing Odds

Determining which cards are your outs is fairly easy.** Knowing how many outs you have left in the deck can be a bit more challenging, and calculating drawing odds (the odds that one of your outs will hit the board) takes some practice.**

In the Sagle vs. Astedt hand example above, we can see that Astedt has five outs, and overall has a 21% chance of winning the hand. That 21% takes into account all combinations of cards that can possibly come on the turn and river.

When you’re calculating out and drawing odds in-game, you need to consider the following:

- Number of outs
- Odds of an out hitting on either the turn or river
- Odds of an out hitting on the river

If you’re calculating outs and odds on the flop, you need to consider the odds of one of your outs hitting on either of the last two streets. On the turn, you need to calculate the odds of hitting one of your outs on the river.

The following chart shows how to calculate your drawing odds based on the number of outs:

**Note: if you want to calculate the odds of hitting an out on the turn only, you can use the “River Only” percentages in this chart, which come very close.**

Let’s take a look at some of the most common outs and odds situations you’ll come across in No-Limit Texas Hold’em:

### Gutshot (Inside Straight Draw)

A gutshot straight draw happens when you have four to a straight, and need one specific card to complete the straight.

For example, if your hole cards are 8♦7♦, and the flop comes J♠T♣2♥, you need a 9 to hit the board to complete the straight. There are four 9s in the deck, giving your four outs.

Anytime you have four outs, you have a 16.5% chance to hit on the turn or river, and an 8.7% chance to hit on only the river.

### Two Overcards

You have two overcards when you hold two hole cards that are higher than the highest card on the board. For example, when you hold A♦K♠ and the flop comes 9♠5♥2♣.

Any ace or king improves you hand on this board. There are three aces and three kings left in the deck, giving you six possible outs.

Anytime you have six outs, you have a 24.1% chance to hit on the turn or river, and a 13.0% chance to hit on only the river.

### Open-Ended Straight Draw

An open-ended straight draw is a straight draw in which two different cards can complete the straight. For example, if your hole cards are 9♦8♦, and the flop comes J♠T♣2♥, you need an 8 or a Queen to hit the board to complete the straight. There are four 8s and four Queens in the deck, giving you eight outs.

Another eight-out straight scenario can happen that’s called the “double gutshot.” For example, if you have K♦7♦, and the flop comes J♠T♣9♥, you need an 8 or a Queen to hit the board to complete the straight.

Anytime you have eight outs, you have a 31.5% chance to hit on the turn or river, and a 17.4% chance to hit on only the river.

### Flush Draw

A flush draw happens when you have four cards to a flush, and need a fifth card of the same suit to come in to complete the flush.

For example, if your hole cards are 9♦8♦, and the flop comes K♠6♦2♦, you need any diamond to hit to complete the flush. There are 13 cards of each suit in the deck, so if you have four to a flush, you need one of the other nine cards of that suit to hit the board, giving you nine outs.

Anytime you have nine outs, you have a 35.0% chance to hit on the turn or river, and a 19.6% chance to hit on only the river.

### Combo Draws

Combo draws happen when you have the possibility to hit both a straight and a flush on the flop or turn. **Some combo draws are so strong that they actually give you a better chance of winning than an opponent with an already-made hand.**

For example, if you have For example, if your hole cards are 9♦8♦, and the flop comes 7♦6♦2♠, you can make a straight with a 5 or a T, and you can hit any diamond to complete the flush.

The number of outs for combo draws varies depending on the situation. For example, with 9♦8♦ on a 7♦6♦2♠ flop, you have 15 outs. How do we arrive at that number?

Remember that you have eight outs to an open-ended straight draw, and nine outs to the flush. **The 5♦ and T♦ straight outs make a flush, however, so we count those towards only your flush outs (and subtract them from your straight outs).** So you have nine flush outs and six straight outs in this spot, for a total of 15 outs.

Anytime you have 15 outs, you have a 54.1% chance to hit on the turn or river, and a 32.6% chance to hit on only the river.

## The Rule of 4 and 2

Knowing your outs and the chances of hitting an out is crucial to a winning poker strategy.

An easy shortcut you can use to calculate drawing odds per number of outs is the **Rule of 4 and 2.** Here’s how that rule works:

- To calculate your drawing odds for the turn and river, multiply your outs by 4
- To calculate your drawing odds for the river only, multiply your outs by 2

This formula doesn’t yield the precise percentages for drawing outs, but it comes pretty close.

For example, if you have eight outs, multiply 8×4 to get 32%. That’s pretty close to the exact percentage of 31.5%.

Note that this becomes less accurate the more outs you have. For anything 10 outs or less, however, its accurate within 2% for the turn and river calculation.