What are ‘Outs’?
In poker, ‘outs’ are the cards which have not yet been dealt and which could appear in the next turn to improve a player’s hand. Cards which are not already on the table or in a player’s hand are likely to appear at any time in the next turn, and these cards are the ‘outs’. A player might refer to the number of ‘outs’ which could improve their hand, or say they are ‘looking for outs’ to complete a hand.
In poker, players are aiming to make the best possible hand when compared with the other hands at the table. The one which ranks highest is the winning hand, and that player gets to take the prize pot for the game. In most forms of poker, players have one or more chances to improve their hand – either through the ‘draw’, when cards are exchanged for new ones from the pack, or during the ‘flop‘, ‘river’ or ‘turn’ in a stud game. Once these actions are taken and the hands are set, players can make their final bets and the cards are revealed to see who has won the game.
In any game, there are cards which are at the table or active in the game, and there are cards which are still in the deck waiting to be dealt out. These unknown cards from the pack (or the face down cards before the reveal) have the chance of improving hands at the table. To the player, these cards might be known as ‘outs’. A player can have a number of ‘outs’ – cards which is drawn, would improve the hand. For example, if a player holds 7-7-8-9-J, there are a number of outs which would improve this hand. A 10 for the straight, or another 7 for the triple, are some of the available ‘outs’.