Poker Odds For Players That Hate Math

SplitSuit Poker
25 Mar 2024
Holdem Strategy
25 Mar 2024

If you're new to poker, you might be wondering:

  • What are the odds of certain things happening?
  • Like, what are the odds of getting dealt aces preflop?
  • What are the odds of getting dealt kings and someone else has aces?
  • What are the odds of flopping a set?
  • Or what are the odds of having pocket jacks and there's an overcard on the flop?

In this topic, we're going to talk about the odds of all of these things happening — as well as many other things in poker. And don't worry, we're not going to turn this into a hardcore probabilities lesson. Instead, we'll just give you some raw numbers to work with and show you how to solve your own problems in case you have other questions going forward. Let’s begin!

Understanding Preflop Odds

So let's get into it. First of all, we’re going to break this article into two different sections. First, we're going to cover different probabilities and occurrences preflop, and then we'll do the same thing for postflop in the latter half of the topic. So, it's better to get started with preflop first.

Alright, so starting with preflop, what are the odds of getting dealt certain things? Let's start first and foremost with pocket pairs. Let's just say, what is the probability of getting dealt pocket aces preflop? Well, that is going to happen roughly one in every 220 hands, and as such, 0.45 percent of the time, or just round it very nicely to about half a percent of the time you're going to get dealt aces or really any specific starting pocket pair.

Now let's look at unpaired starting hands, and if we just say, okay, what's the probability of getting dealt ace king preflop, both offsuit and suited, that is going to happen about 1.2 percent of the time overall.

If we're looking for a specific hand, let's just say ace king suited specifically, that's going to happen 0.3 percent of the time.

Alright, for this next preflop probability, we're going to roll back two pocket pairs and say, okay, if we have a certain pocket pair preflop, what is the probability that somebody else has a pocket pair that's higher than it? 

The answer here is going to vary massively based upon how many players are in the hand.

For instance, let's just say you have pocket kings and you're playing heads up, you and one opponent, there's a 5 percent chance that your opponent has aces in that spot. However, if you're playing 10 handed, there is a 4.4 percent chance that someone else at the table has aces.

And while this number isn't exactly going to help your overall preflop strategy, it can be a little helpful as a mental reminder of the times you run kings and aces, how often that is or isn't going to happen. Yes, it sucks when it does, but knowing the overall probability of it happening can help you frame a cooler when it happens preflop.

So, let's say you're playing 6-max, so it's you and 5 other players. You would use the 5 players column, look at the pocket pair you're interested in, look for the correlating cell, and find the probability of exactly one opponent having a higher pocket pair than yours.

Exploring Postflop Odds

Alright, so I think we've sufficiently covered preflop for the time being, now let's roll over to postflop probabilities. And to show you how to solve pretty much all of your postflop probability questions. 

We’re going to use the tool Flopzilla Pro, because it’s just perfect for our analysis.

Analyzing Probabilities for Different Hand Types

So one of the first questions that people are typically interested in is how often is my pocket pair going to flop a set or better? And to do that in Flopzilla, we can very easily just plug in any pocket pair right here in the overall hand matrix. And then over in the middle section, we can go and just select "three of a kind or better" and you notice right down here it tells us how often that is hitting, and that is happening at 12 percent of the time exactly. 

Just in case you're curious, it's the exact same whether you have pocket sevens or pocket deuces or pocket kings, it's all going to be the exact same 12 percent for again a set or better on the flop.

But of course, you're not always going to have a pocket pair, and sometimes you're going to have an unpaired starting hand. So another common question is, okay, what if I have, say, Ace King, how often am I going to flop top pair or better? 

Oh, we can go right back to Flopzilla. We can plug in Ace King, both suited and offsuit. We can plug in the top pair or better right over here. Again, all of that is selected in blue. Everything else is deselected in gray. And we see that's happening roughly a third of the time. And you can break this down into just suited. You can look at just offsuit, or again, you can look at the merge of both, but that is how you would solve this answer. And again, about a third of the time Ace King is going to be flopping top pair or better. 

Alright, so that's all well and good for pocket pairs and strong starting hands like Ace King, but what about suited connectors? How often are they going to absolutely smash the flop? Well, once again, we can flip back over to Flopzilla Pro. We can plug in a suited connector. Let's just say seven, six suited. And let's just say we're going to say a smash is two pairs or better on the flop.

So we see that that's happening a whopping 5.6 percent of the time. So not a tremendous amount. But you might also be curious to say, okay, when I have a suited connector, I really like not just smashing the flop, but I'm also going to continue a lot when I have flush draws or open-ended straight draws. 

You can also plug those in right here, so flush draw with two cards, open-ended straight draw with two cards. You can also say open-ended straight draw with a single card if you wanted as well.

And you notice that overall that is hitting roughly 25 percent of the time. 

Dealing With Unfavorable Flop Outcomes

Now there's another huge question that newer players tend to have, and that is, okay, if I have a strong pocket pair, what is the probability that the flop is really not going to cooperate? So, say you have jacks, how often is the flop going to have an overcard and no jack on it? For a lot of players, they have no idea, but I'll show you in Flopzilla exactly how to get that answer. 

So very simply we can change the starting hand to pocket jacks and over here, let's unselect everything except for exactly the pocket pair below the top pair. So what this means is that there is one card on the board that is higher than the jack, but we might say, okay, well what about if there's two over cards, right? So the board comes ace king five, right? That's out of five. Satisfies the condition that pushes us down to below middle pair.

So that would give us the overall number we're looking for. It could be a really bad board, right? Ace, King, Queen, giving three overcards to our Jack. And if we look at all of those numbers combined, we see that's happening 52 percent of the time. So there's a 52 percent chance that the flop is going to come with one or more overcards and no Jack when we have pocket Jacks. 

And like we mentioned earlier, you can pretty much use Flopzilla Pro to answer any question you have about general probabilities. You just have to understand how to use the software and also how to formulate your question appropriately. So we can take this exact same question of how often is there going to be an overcard and no set for B when I have a pocket pair and, say, do that with pocket kings. 

And in Flopzilla, you can just very simply change the starting pocket pair from jacks to pocket kings and look at how often it's again going to hit this pocket pair below top pair and of course not going to hit pocket pair below third pair or anything just based upon the way the flop structure will be. And you can see right there how often you are going to have to deal with an ace on board and no king, well, that's going to be coming up roughly what, 21 percent of the time.

You just have to understand again how to formulate the question and then how to plug it into Flopzilla and get the answer you're looking for.

Using The Flop Breakdown Tool in Flopzilla Pro

Now we'll give you a little bonus hint in case you're newer to Flopzilla Pro. You can also use the Flop Breakdown Tool to figure out the probability of certain flop textures coming off. So to do that, you can simply in Flopzilla clear this out, go over here to this little Flop Breakdown Tool icon, and start plugging around and playing in here.

Right now, you see that the flop is going to be paired with the top card 8.5 percent of the time.

Paired with the bottom card, paired 8.5 percent of the time, completely unpaired 83 percent of the time, etc. You can also go in here and say, okay, well, how often is it going to be unpaired to two and just monotone, right? 

You can see right here, that's to happen 5.2 percent of the time. So it's just really helpful for being able to formulate, okay, how often are certain outcomes, certain textures going to be popping off? And you can do lots of extra analysis as well beyond just this basic ability to figure out probabilities of certain things happening or again, not happening.

So if you already have Flopzilla Pro, hopefully, this helps you get a little bit of extra value out of it. If you don't, I would highly suggest picking it up. It is Windows only, so if you have a Windows machine, I would definitely make sure that you get this software. It is extremely, extremely good. 

You're trying to figure it out and especially more applicable math, not just those general probabilities, but also lots of other things like odds, both pot odds and implied odds and lots of different things.

You're not going to find a better resource for learning poker math once and for all and really wrapping your head around the numbers behind this game. 

If you have any comments or questions, please do not hesitate to let us know. Leave a comment down below on this topic. In the meantime, good luck out there and happy grinding!

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