How Card Counting Works in Poker

Want to learn how to play poker better? Understanding how poker card counting works can help you win more games. Namely, card counting was made popular by movies, books, and groups of people like MIT’s incredible blackjack team. If you want to know more, watch the movie 21 or read the book House Collapse.

First of all, you should be familiar with the basic concepts of poker games LeoVegas such as straight outs, flops, rivers, odds and blockers. In this article, I will specifically talk about card counting in poker games.

 How does card counting work in poker?

Casinos don’t favor card counting when it comes to blackjack, but it won’t give you any problems in any other game, especially poker.

In a casino game, card counting means keeping track of which cards have come out of the deck. In all forms of poker, there are cards that everyone can see (so-called “community cards”), and cards that only the player who has them can see (so-called “hole cards”). Note that when you count cards in poker, there won’t be as many face-up cards as in blackjack, so you won’t have as much information.

In poker, you can gain a strategic advantage by considering everything you know. For example, if you have a certain card, you know that no one else at the table has it. So how do you count cards in poker? I will explain in the section below to make it more clear.

Counting your outs and your opponent’s outs

What is an out? This is a possible card that can improve the strength of your deck. Outs are cards left in the deck but not dealt yet. When players are waiting for a straight LeoVegas draw or a flush draw, they need a certain card to complete or improve their hands. Knowing how many possible outs there are in a round can help you make important decisions, such as whether to call someone’s over or value bet on the last two streets. This is where the counts come in.

To count outs in Texas Hold’em, you must figure out how many combinations of cards you need to make a hand. First, you need to establish how many outs a few common flop draw hands have compared to already made hands:

A pair and a flush draw usually has about 12 outs, while top pair usually only has two outs.

Compared to a made hand, a naked flush draw has about nine odds of winning.

In most cases, overcards have about six ways to win against a pair.

A pair and an overcard usually have about five chances to beat top pair.

A pair and a flush draw usually has about 12 outs, while top pair usually only has two outs.

Pot Equity Calculation – Counting Works in Poker

In poker, “equity” means your “fair” share of the pot based on how likely you are to win the hand. So when you have a draw, you can quickly determine how much money you have by counting your potential outs. I mentioned how many outs each typical draw has, so all you have to do to determine your likely equity is to use the 4 and 2 rule.

If you’re on the flop, multiply the number of outs by four to get a rough estimate of your chances of making a hand. On the other hand, if it’s your turn, multiply the number of outs by two and you will determine the chance of a draw.

How Card Counting Works in Poker

Counting cards in a dirty deck

Still wondering how to count cards in poker? Note that there is a difference between clean and dirty outs. You should focus on clean outs because dirty outs can improve your hand but help your opponent even more.

I will give an example to help you better understand this concept. Let’s say you have Tx-8x and the flop is B-7-4 with two more spades, giving you a total of four to the nut flush. So you now have nine solid outs: invisible spades (13 – 4 = 9).

Also, you might think that you have three more chances to hit another ace, but they’ve already been used up. If an ace hits the table, the player with the ace and the higher kicker will “outplay” you, leaving you with a worse hand.

This can cost a lot of money, so it’s best to think of the remaining aces as dirty so that you only count them as half as many as the nine invisible spades in the deck. Therefore, the total number of outs is 9 (remaining spades) plus 3 x ½ = 1.5, for a total of 10.5.

When counting cards in Texas Hold’em, you simply subtract how many different combinations you need for a hand. For a straight gutshot, you need one numbered card, regardless of suit. So you need four outs. An open straight draw is better because you can form a hand with two numbered cards, which means you need eight outs to make a straight. A flush draw has nine outs because thirteen cards are of the same suit.

RELATED ARTICLE: Everything you need to know about the game of blackjack

Is it legal to count cards in poker? – Counting Works in Poker

Can you count cards in poker? Yes, it’s legal and it mostly happens on the flop and turn. However, remember that card counting is not used to beat others and win, but to make more money than other players.

This is not only legal, but also an important technique that all successful players use. I advise you to use your hole cards and community cards to estimate the likelihood that your opponent will have a particular hand.

However, there are countries where this may not be the case. It’s also sometimes frowned upon, and Hollywood has helped make it happen. Some casinos do not approve of this and may prohibit you from using it.


Counting Works in Poker can be a very lucrative hobby, especially for risk takers. Learning is much easier than it might seem in the movies; you just need practice and self-discipline. However, it is better to choose something else if you want to feel more confident in your financial situation.

This will help you understand your equity and your opponent’s equity and this is known as the blocking effect. Thanks to this, you will gain a strategic advantage by collecting all available information. The more levels you add to your card counting strategy, the more money you are likely to win.

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