# What Are Outs in Poker?

Counting outs is one of the basic skills that every poker player needs to learn. This skill removes guesswork and emotion from the decision making process while replacing it with a mathematics-based solution. This allows the poker player to focus on the game rather than worrying about what is going on at the table and conserves brainpower that can be used for other more important things like reading your opponent. In addition to this, knowing how to accurately calculate outs will give the player an idea of the odds that they need for their drawing hand to improve into a winning hand.

A simple way to define outs is to consider them as the cards that will improve a players hand into the best possible hand – the nut flush or top pair. A player will have a minimum of nine outs for a nut flush if they hold a single suited card on the flop and three additional matching cards on the turn and river. This is a basic example and outs can be improved upon with many other cards, but these are the ones that are considered as a full set of outs for any drawing hand.

It is also worth noting that a card can improve your hand to different degrees. This will range from assuring a winning hand to just helping you to split the pot. This latter case is called a hidden out and these should not be counted as part of a players overall number of outs. For example if you have four sevens and four queens in your hand, these should only be counted as half outs since they can also improve your opponents hand to a straight and help you to lose to this second-best hand.

As you may have guessed, counting outs is not an exact science. This is because the cards that will improve your hand into the best possible hand are not always guaranteed to do so. For example if you have three hearts on the flop and two Broadways on the board, these will improve your hand to a nut flush, but this is not guaranteed to happen. Your opponent could also save their hand by the river pairing the Broadways and this should not be taken into account when calculating your outs for the hand.

It is also worth noting that as more cards are dealt, the number of outs available will diminish, but again this should not be taken into account as the numbers are relatively close and there will be no significant difference in the final outcome. As a general rule, only outs that are guaranteed to improve your hand into the best possible hand should be considered as they are your only hope for success in the current situation. It is a simple rule that will not take long to learn and that will allow you to concentrate more on the game at hand rather than worrying about what is happening at the table.