COUNT YOUR OUTS Q: I’ve just started playing online poker and friends keep telling me to counts my “outs”. What are “outs” and why are they important? A: Okay. Let’s give you a clear example. Let’s say you have been dealt a pair of jacks as your hole cards but the flop doesn’t produce the third jack you were obviously hoping for. You want to be able to calculate what your odds are of landing the third jack on the turn card. You know there are two more jacks “out” there and forty seven more cards, as you’ve seen five cards already. Your “outs” are the two jacks you’re looking for and the number of cards left is forty seven. By dividing your two “outs” (the missing two jacks) by the number of cards (forty seven) you can figure out your odds of landing another jack at the turn. Two divided by forty seven is 0.0434 which translates to a 4.3% chance of success. Not a great percentage so when the flop fails to produce three of a kind from a pocket pair, you’ll know it’s time to fold.
BEWARE AN OPENER Q: What’s an “opener”?
A: An opener is when an aggressive player is the first person to act and he raises, forcing all the other players to call two bets at once. The intended strategy is to limit the number of players from the outset. The move is basically a reverse steal-raise. This tactic is often used by a bluffer and will undoubtedly cause a lot of players to fold. However, those players who stay in are either equally aggressive or have the beginnings of a premium hand. The opener is most effective when used in a short-handed game.
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Q: What happens if all but two players fold at the flop and the turn and the river go on to produce the strongest five card hand on the board?
A: Assuming that the two head to head players remaining can’t improve the community card hand with any of their hole cards, they split the pot.
SEVEN CARD STUD Q: As a recent online player I’ve only tackled Texas Hold’em and one tutorial on Omaha. How does Seven Card Stud differ?
A: There are no community cards in seven card. Prior to the deal, each player places a small compulsory bet known as the ante (Rather like the blinds only all players have to place it). Cards are then dealt until all players have three cards. Two cards are dealt face down (hole cards) and the third is face up. The highest face up card starts the betting and then betting follows with the player on his or her left reacting by “passing” (folding), calling (equalling the bet) raising or re-raising until all bets have been called.