How to figure out poker hands percentages may seem complicated at first glance but it's really pretty simple, especially if you take a few shortcuts here and there. The odds of whether or not you'll hit the card you need largely comes down to basic math and probability which can be simplified even further if you know some tips and tricks. While some players swear that luck determines the winner of a poker hand, it really just boils down to math and percentages in the end.
- Understanding outs. Before you can tackle the question of how to figure out poker hands percentages, you need to understand what "outs" are. When poker players are trying to calculate percentages, it's almost always in a situation where they're facing a bet and they have a strong feeling that at the moment they're behind their opponent, and will need to hit their card to improve and win the hand. If you need another heart for a flush, then any heart is considered an out for you; if you have to hit a jack or queen to make a straight, those cards are your outs.
- Count your outs. To know how to figure out poker hands percentages, first you count your outs, then you count up how many cards you haven't seen. If the flop has been dealt, you've seen your two hole cards plus the three cards dealt face-up on the flop; you've seen five cards, so that leaves 47 cards unseen. Let's say you have ten outs. That means that 10 of the 47 unseen cards will help you and that 37 of the unseen cards won't help you.
- Calculating pot odds. For a shortcut to figure out poker hands percentages, take the total number of unseen cards that won't help you and divide it by your outs. In our example that's 37 unseen cards that won't help you, divided by your 10 outs, which gives you an answer of 3.7. That means that the odds are between 3 to 1 and 4 to 1 that you'll hit your out and likely win the hand. Those percentages are called pot odds when you compare them to what it will cost you to call the bet you're facing, and the size of the pot that you'll win.
- Using pot odds to decide to call or fold. Once you've calculated how to figure out poker hands percentages, then the last thing you have to take into account is the size of the bet you're facing and what's in the pot. If the percentages say that you're about 4 to 1 to hit your out and you're facing a $1 to win a $10 pot, that's an easy call. The pot is giving you 10 to 1 odds to call but the true odds of you making your hand are 4 to 1. If you're facing a $1 bet to win a $2 pot, that's an easy fold, as the pot is only giving you 2 to 1 odds to call, but you're only going to make your hand at 4 to 1 odds.
- Practice makes perfect. This all seems complicated and hard at first, but with a little practice you'll quickly get the hang of it. A great way to practice is to do the math in your head during hands you've already folded, pretending that you're still in the hand, as you can get used to learning how to figure out poker hands percentages without risking any real money.