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Poker term that refers to the number of cards that will improve a player’s hand. The term “Out” assumes that the player thinks or actually is behind the range/actual holdings of the opponent. Each of these “Outs” will theoretically improve the person’s hand such that it has become better than the holdings of the villain.

The term is mainly used in conjunction with draws such as straight and flush draws. An open ended straight draw has eight outs in general given that 4 cards on the bottom and 4 cards on the top will complete the straight. Flush draws generally have 9 outs given that there are 13 cards of the same suit and 4 cards are already revealed to make a flush draw. Though draws are the most common connection, “Outs” can be used in any situation where the person is drawing behind the opponent. Some situations such as the set over set (three of kind vs. better three of kind) have only one out or one specific card that can be hit to win the hand.

For Example:
Player 1: JsTs
Player 2: KhKd

Flop: KsQs2h

In this situation, Player 1 is behind the three of a kind of Kings from Player 2. However, Player 1 has many outs to improve his hand. He is able to hit the As, 9s, 8s, 7s, 6s, 5s, 4s, 3s, Ah, Ad, Ac, 9h, 9d,9c. This gives us a total of 14 outs. Notice that we cannot include the 2s because it would give our opponent a full house and a dominating lead.

The number of outs can usually be used to calculate the percent equity of specific hands vs. other hands. For the flop, you take the number of outs and multiply it by 4 to get a rough estimate of how often the draw will hit. For the turn, you take number of outs and multiply by 2 to get the same answer as above.

For example:
Player 1: 7h8h
Player 2: AsAd

Board: 2h4h10s

If Player 1 and Player 2 got all of their chips in the middle, Player 1 will have 9 outs to make a flush over two streets. Any heart will allow him to beat the AA of his opponent. We can multiply 9 x 4 and it will lead to an estimate of 36% chance of hitting the flush and hence a decent estimate of his equity in this situation. The actual number is slightly below, but it is good way to make a rough estimate.

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