A few poker players believe that Texas Hold ‘Em is the most unpredictable card game and that the players can’t know if they’re going to win or not until the game is finished. To me, this is just one part of the medal. The other part is a lot more “sensible”.

After a long journey, I have come to discover that most players can indeed have an idea about their odds of winning, and better yet, they can learn from the very beginning. The purpose for finding out if you have a chance at victory is directly related to the fact if you will bet large amounts of money – you wouldn’t want to play against the odds!

The starting hand on poker is surely underrated by some. While you can never know your luck on a Hold ‘Em game, calculating some odds from the starting hand is not impossible. You don’t have to be that good in calculating, you simply have to remember a few figures.

While I am not suggesting that a bad starting hand means that you’re going to lose the game (you really never know what will happen during a poker game), I am only saying that computing the odds on your mind can be a good indicator about your next moves on the poker table.

Let’s begin by taking a look at the probability of receiving a good combination of the hole cards. A standard deck has a total of 52 cards, which belong to four different suits. There are a total of 1,326 possible two card combinations on a typical 52 card deck.

However, these odds are calculated by considering the four suits to have different values. Since the suits do not play any role, it turns out that there are 169 possible combinations. That’s a lot less, but not all combinations have the same value on poker.

If we look into the odds more closely, we will learn that 13 out of 169 combinations are (successive) pairs and they have better chances of creating a powerful hand at the end. The odds of being dealt a combination of this kind are 7.69%, which is not that good.

Nevertheless, there are 78 other combinations of non-paired cards that belong to the same suit. While these combinations are not as good as the first ones, they can also be helpful and useful. The odds of having two hole cards of this type are 46.15%.

The remaining 78 combinations are non-paired cards of different suits. These are not necessarily bad since there are some valued hands which might use those particular cards. Again, the odds for this arrangement (which should not be mistaken for the previous arrangement) are 46.15%.

All things considered, I would not immediately jump into conclusions from the beginning of a poker game whether I am going to win or not. Instead, my best strategy is to look into my odds and do the best I can out of it, and this strategy has never let down!

By Maya