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Why outs and pot odds should guide your every poker decision.

An integral skill that you need in order to succeed in the world of online poker and beyond is the ability to quickly calculate and act upon basic poker math. It is all well and good learning special poker strategies and techniques but without such a fundamental skill, it is impossible to win big.

What are outs?

Cards that give a player the winning hand are known as ‘outs. Calculating how these outs might come about is therefore an essential skill for a successful poker player. The key is to be able to put your opponent on a range of likely hands and once you have gauged this approximate range, it is much easier to calculate your poker outs. It should be noted, however, that calculating outs is by no means an exact science and so you should apply the idea of implied odds; the probability or likelihood of your opponents’ hand.

There are however different components to outs that need to be identified, which could contribute to some poker faux-pas if not identified:

Half outs- You must be able to spot half-outs, which is essentially when you will make your straight, yet still fall victim to your opponent’s flush.

Hidden outs- These are outs which may not immediately improve your hand but may hurt your opponents’.

Calculating and identifying your outs will soon become second nature to you and once you have mastered this skill the rest will come. Without even thinking about it the pot odds will come to you and the decision to continue with a hand will be an easy one. While poker can seem a complicated game at times, the fundamental basis for success in the game is the ability to identify and invest in good hands and odds.

Poker Pot Odds:

Pot odds take into consideration the number of outs you may have and enable you to calculate the amount of money a player needs to call in order to see another card.

In poker, pot odds can be read in terms of fractions, percentages and ratios, for the purpose of calculating the maths behind improving your hand. On a basic level, a player should divide the number of times they won’t make their hand by the amount of times they will do so. This can then be expressed in terms of fractions, percentages and ratios. For example 1/3, 33% and 2:1.

Poker Pot Odds Formula:

In a game situation, a player should calculate the total amount of money that was already in the main pot with the additional funds put forward in the current betting round and divide this by the amount they have to call.

For example in layman’s terms, if there was £300 in the main pot and £200 added to it in the betting round, while the player at hand had to call £100, then the pot odd ratio would be 5:1. Based on these calculations, if the player’s chances to improve their hand to a winning one is greater than the pot odds they’re getting for a call, then this is a worthwhile and profitable
strategic move.

Rule of Two and Four: calculating Pot Odds quickly and effectively:

In a match situation, players obviously need to quickly calculate and determine pot odds and decide their plan of action for the betting round. The ‘Rule of Two and Four’ can be employed to achieve this, in which the player multiplies the number of outs that they have by four with two cards to come. This will provide them with an estimated percentage, providing them with the probability of them making their hand.

Overall, calculating outs and pot odds should guide the successful poker player’s every decision and are fundamental skills necessary in the poker world. Using pot odds will help you gain a strategic advantage over players who do not have this basic grounding. Poker is inevitably a long-haul game and so possessing such skills will enable you to pursue a successful long-term poker strategy that will reap greater rewards.

Texas Holdem’s crazy poker cousin – Pineapple

Blend the arrangement of hold’em and the explosiveness of Omaha for a sweet, stimulating online poker game of Pineapple. Although it might have similarities with the regular hold’em game, this flop game comes with extra action, bigger pots and exciting suck outs.

UK poker sites introduced pineapple poker into the European Poker Tour only to remove it again. Its never been played in the famous World Series of Poker (WSOP) and one can only play it online for play money.

Basics of Pineapple Poker

Pineapple poker takes place around the usual poker table, with the standard deck of fifty-two cards. The winner is the poker player who creates the best five card poker hand from either one or both of the hole cards and three or four of the community cards.

Pineapple Poker Rules and Set-up

The gameplay of Pineapple complies with the Texas Hold’em rules but is moderately different. Pre-flop, all players get three cards instead of two.

The turn, flop and river betting rounds then continue in a similar way to Texas hold’em.

Pineapple Poker has three, very different variations:

Crazy Pineapple Poker

As in a typical Pineapple game, players get three cards each. However, in Crazy Pineapple, players keep their first card for the pre-flop betting round and the flop betting round.

Crazy Poker is many a time but not always played hi-lo split, so that the best high hand and the best 8 or better low hand are each granted half the pot.

Lazy Pineapple

This variant of Pineapple poker lives up to its name because you don’t have to throw a card away until there is no more action. Only after the river is dealt and the last betting round is completed do you have to get rid of one card.

You can even decide to show the other two and put that one down.

Differences between Pineapple Poker and Texas Hold’em

Texas Hold’em and Pineapple may be poker-cousins, but they are not entirely the same.

  • Unlike Texas Hold’em, the third card in Pineapple Poker provides you withadditional information that shows you a card that cannot be in any other player’s hand and that can’t appear on the board.

For example:

If you have three cards of the same suit, there are fewer chances of you hitting a flush on the board, since there is one card missing.

If you are “rolled-up” with a three of a kind in Stud poker, it means you have to discard one of your cards, so there is just one card of the same value in the deck, making it almost impossible to hit a set.

  • Since every player in Pineapple Poker is allowed to choose his two hole cards out of three, the quality of hands will be significantly higher than in Hold’em.

For example:

If you hit a top pair in the flop, your hand is considerably weaker than it would be, in a game of Hold’em.

If there is a possibility of flush with three suited cards on the board, it is more likely that someone else has it.

How to play Pineapple Poker

It is best to look for high pairs and connected cards, in a game of Pineapple; a pair of aces with a suited third card is a dominant combination.

Did you know that an Ao-As-Ts and an Ao-As-5s are more powerful than Ao-As-Ks? The main reason for this is; aces usually get cracked by a straight, which has to have a five or a ten.

A valuable starting hand includes a big pair and suited draw. Hole card combinations like Jd-Jh-Kh, Ah-Ad-Qd and Tc-Th-Jc give players flush and straight chances to go along with the pair.

Pineapple Poker tips

Blend your Pineapple strategy with Omaha reasoning and look for hands that are connected either by suit or value.

While high pairs are a superior starting hand, lower pairs are problematic to play as you can mostly only win after hitting a set.

Avoid playing too many hands in attempts to hit something on the flop. This is a wrong move, especially in Crazy Pineapple, where every player had three cards connecting with the flop.

For more fun in the online poker room and an immediate cure for the hold’em desperations, try out Pineapple Poker!

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