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Why is it so hard to hit a hand?


When you have a hand that allows you to have a possible straight, flush and maybe even top pair, why is it so hard to hit? Is it because the cards you need are in other's hands.


  • pgearan

    @microbet said:
    When you have a hand that allows you to have a possible straight, flush and maybe even top pair, why is it so hard to hit? Is it because the cards you need are in other's hands.

    It probably feels that way because such a hand that may already be made and has so many draws probably feels like it should always win. If you are talking about top pair (assuming no kicker issues), and a flush draw and open end straight draw, as well as odds of hitting two pair with your second card or trips with the other two top pair cards, your probably at about around 18-19 outs even if you are facing an over pair. You may want to play with some different scenarios using the APT Odds tool:

    For example, if you are facing one player on the flop (so select 2 players with the button on right), give yourself 10d9d and give them KsKc. Make the flop 10s 8d 7d. You are a 65.56% favorite to win the hand. However, if they happen to have the unlikely holding of 10h 10c, then you are actually a slight underdog at 44.55%. In fact, ifthey flopped any of the 3 possible sets, they remain a favorite. Also if you 2 pair your 9, the board has 4 straighted and you have some issues as well. So your theory that in some cases if your opponents range overlaps with several of your outs it does lessen your odds of hitting.

    However, considering your opponents full range you should generally be a favorite if you can get to the river, but that is obviously the other variable in this analysis, if you miss the turn and your opponent bets big into you, you are in a tough position with only 1 card to come and your odds cut approximately in half.

    Never feels right with such a great hand to ever lose!

  • microbetm

    I appreciate the info pgearan. I do need to start using the odds calculator. I use other tools, but have neglected that one.

  • HugoX

    @microbet said:
    When you have a hand that allows you to have a possible straight, flush and maybe even top pair, why is it so hard to hit? Is it because the cards you need are in other's hands.

    Using the calculator is helpful but to answer your specific question this my help more:


    Non-pairs will pair at least one card....................................... 32%

    Non-pairs will pair both hold cards............................................ 2%

    A pair will flop a set.......................................................................... 12%

    A pair will flop four of a kind......................................................... 0. 25%

    Two suited cards will flop a flush................................................ 0.85%

    Two suited cards will make a flush by the river..................... 11%

    Two connected cards flopping a straight.............................. 1.3%

    Two connected cards flopping an open ended straight draw---------- 10.0%

    One gapper cards flopping an open ened straight draw -------------- 8%

    Two gapper hole cards flopping an open ended str draw ------------- 5%

    three gapper hole cards flopping an open ended str draw------------ 2.6%

    some of these you'd only play as big blind specials.

    did not find or look for odds of flopping an inside straight draw, which is a bad thing to flop for most players,, They Chase and burn too many chips with them because hey have not concept of pot odds and when they should fold.

    to estimate percent of making a hand on next card

    count your outs and multiply to 2.

    8 outs to open end straight draw on river, 16% to make it on he turn, then 16% on river, 32% turn +river.

    numbers rounded off

  • hnallen68

    There is actually a great resource on APT (which can be downloaded as a pdf) which shares the percentages above (and more). You can find it here:

  • think

    Ken Warren "Ken Warren Teaches Hold 'Em":

    When your hand is not a pair:

    You flop a pair 40.408% of the time, BUT one third of these just pair the board.

    You flop a pair with one of your hole cards 26.939% of the time.
    (post above seems to disagree with this number)

  • HugoX

    @think said:

    You flop a pair with one of your hole cards 26.939% of the time.
    (post above seems to disagree with this number)

    Not sure where they got the 26.939%

    check the ATP link, it confirms my numbers

    also can do the math,

    1.8 x 3 cards for each hole card = 5.4 x 3 card flop = 16.2 x 2 hole cards = 32.4

    when counting outs I use 2% per out for easy math,
    but mostly I just memorize the known stats for str, flush and other draws and add them. It gets me lose enough. ex you have a str and flush draw, 31% + 35% around 65% a little less due to some outs duplicated. But close enough, We're not trying to land a rocket on Mars.

    With a fast online timer you don't have time to calculated odds, so do it off line for practice them memorize the stats. Or print it and keep it nearby, or make a spreadsheet and keep it open while you play until it becomes second nature.

  • think
    edited July 2017

    Source was Ken Warren Texas Hold 'Em book (it's one of those early 2000's Cardoza books).

    I think the difference might be that "flopping a pair" doesn't count flopping two pair or trips. The odds of flopping two pair are around two percent.

    I definitely agree on the part about ballpark figures being plenty good. "Closer to 2:1" vs. "closer to 3:1" is a difference worth looking into, though. And I just did a quick internet search and came up with two MORE numbers!

    So I am with you on this. "I have a one in three chance of my unpaired hand improving (in a non-straight or flush way -- that's separate) on the flop." Cool.

    suntzupoker: 28.6% (pair only) 29.0%

    Here's another list:

    They've got the 26.939% number in there. For all I know, they may have just typed in everything from that chapter!

  • kgun78k

    @microbet Are we talking to flop a hand or make a hand after the flop?

    Flopping any hand is hard, and I think we've covered the odds here. Knowing the odds of flopping your hand is important to understand when to make call or fold pre-flop. For example, if you hold a medium/low pair you will flop a set 1 out of every 8.5 flops (~12% of the time). To call you would need to believe you can get better than 8:1 if you decide to play. Basically if it is $10 to call an $80 pot you should play. Or if you believe you can play for stacks then and the bet is $10 and the effective stack (shortest stack) has $80 or more you should call.

    Post flop is different and the calculator will help a lot in understanding when it is profitable to call or or how much to bet to make it unprofitable to your opponent to call. If you play live, then you should memorize the pre-flop odds and learn the Rule of 4 and 2 for post flop play.

    In short, the Rule of 4 and 2 is a way to approximate your odds. You can google this for a more detailed explanation. But in short, start by counting your outs. From the flop, each out will come 4% of the time. From the turn each out will come 2% of the time. So when making a decision determine how far you are willing to go in the hand and do the math. If you are making a two card decision on the flop with 12 outs (nut flush draw with an A in the hole) will happen 48% from the flop and 24% from the turn. You should really only use the two card odds when making an all-in decision and one card odds the rest of the time.

    Once you get that down cold, read up on implied odds.

  • think

    Was playing "The Upper Hand," and JTs was favored over my 66 preflop.

    Granted, it was VERY close to 50/50. But I thought that there was a somewhat significant edge for a pair over two overcards in an all-in preflop situation (closer to 55/45).

    Of course JTs would be the optimal unpaired hand: suited and with the most straight possibilities incl. higher straights than my sixes would land. But still...

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