Dead outs. An intrigue or a trap?

It’s no secret that poker is closely related to mathematics and if you are serious about poker, then you probably know some of the basics of mathematical calculations during the game.

Each of us uses the count of outs to understand how many chances we have to improve hand or put together a combination.
We also pay attention to odds - that is, we calculate the probability of a chance to get the card we need.
Going further, we calculate pot-odds - we compare our contribution (bet) with the actual pot collected at the time of your turn.
There are special formulas for this, and we can calculate all this easily and quickly.
All this helps us to make the right decisions about whether we can continue to call opponents’ bets profitably for ourselves, having a weak combination or a “draw” combination.

Of course, this helps us to remain profitable in the long run, but how often do we drive ourselves into a trap by making the right decision, it would seem?

This video may not be the best example, but I just couldn’t get past this hand.:speak_no_evil:

I’m sure that when Mabuchi saw the river, he simply forgot about what dead outs are.:see_no_evil:
Despite the fact that we see that before river he was losing Philips combinations, he still had 9 clean outs to win.
But, as we can see, he is got a dead out.
Did he think about it when he got such a strong hand? Obviously not.
Most likely, we would have done the same, specifically in this case, since the probability that the opponent has a Royal Flush is negligible.

But, you must agree that each of us has been in a similar situation, with more likely combinations.

Why is this happening?

The fact is that, sometimes, we are really waiting for the card we need and after receiving it, our attentiveness simply disappears. Especially when it comes to an online tournament, when we have relatively little time to study the opponent and to really think about our decision.
Having received the coveted out, we simply lose our vigilance and are already anticipating victory, forgetting the simple truth:

If you don’t have the best hand, there is always a better hand.

But, even if we are attentive and understand that the out we received may be dead out, will we be ready to fold the cards, having gone so far?
This is a really strong pressure on us and a such pressure in making a decision, makes us make mistakes.

On the other hand, poker is a risk.
But, what we really need to do is to take seriously the study of mathematical foundations in order to remain profitable players in the long term, even if we get into a similar situation.

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Nice post! I think you have to think about your opponent’s hand ranges, the action so far, and the texture of the board. I have heard of dead outs (I think I’ve heard of them as “douts”) that you need to not count when calculating your hand equity. These are cards that would make the straight or flush that could beat you. You need to think about how the hand unfolded and put your opponent on a hand range, then narrow that range as the hand progresses. You can’t always assume the worst or you will always fold thinking your opponent has the nuts, but you do need to be realistic about what hands your opponent can hold and bet, check, call, or fold based on your best judgement. Sometimes you will be wrong and that is just poker.


I agree with mattiebumpo, Thinking of your opponents range and your own hand is the safest way to approach that situation.

Nice topic your spot on with calculating odds and pot odds, to go further into this think of your frequency of certain cards and ranges on the flop to even out your play as you could win a tournament by racing with 55 vs AK


Hi Maxogon 15

Based on general player perception or previous encounters with player’s.

You can build a rough idea of the range your opponent/opponent’s may be playing. Which can help decide if you are indeed chasing dead outs.

Very interesting anyway look forward to seeing futher discussions.

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Thank you for your answers and for participating in this topic. Indeed, when you play with the same players, understanding in which ranges they play can help you make decisions when taking into account the odds, but it is much more difficult to do in MTT, with a large number of players. As practice shows, you will constantly be moved from one table to another and this can greatly complicate this task.

Oh, this is the best topic for me and a sore topic at the same time. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been caught and not counting outs… But I find myself in a trap because I’m in a hurry, I need to think and calculate, but before I make a move. It really annoys me when my laptop starts beeping and reminds me that I need to quickly make a move… And when there is a difficult situation, you need to think mathematically about time is short. And this also irritates me very much… I think over time this problem will disappear for me mathematically I will quickly solve all these issues

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Bad beats or very unlucky hands can occur , online or live , you just move to the next hand . you keep on playing the same , and you wish that you will have success in the next hands or tourneys . ofcourse the bad beats online are 1.000.000 times more lol but you have to move on . maybe the best thing online is for you also to learn ways to manipulate rng , play the game , bring bad beats to the others , and get rewarded for this , sad , but its online poker story and reality

in live poker , when you see such hands , ofcourse you move to the next hands tourneys , nothing more to say .

Personally i do not calculate so much the pot odds , i know i should do it , i know that other players use huds or other programms to calculate pot odds and make decisions according to pod odds … rng rewards them . that makes poker not such a game of luck as i would like it to be

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Good post, although this specific hand is almost unreal…but it did happen.

That’s poker my friends!

When it come to counting outs, I agree with you that any player facing a tough decision needs to have in his mind the dead outs and calculate his pot odds the right way based on the real clear outs. But anyway, sometimes you take decisions mathematically and some times you take decisions based on your gut instinct and your reading skills. Quite energy draining for me to always make mathematical calculations for every single hand that I play, especially online when multi-tabling.


Hi, Maxogon15.

The lesson here is to stay focused throughout the game, no matter how good your hand looks. Poker is as much about psychology as it is about cards. The pressure of wanting a specific card can lead to mistakes.

Your point about mastering the math side of poker is spot-on. Understanding the odds and pot-odds is key for long-term success. But it’s not just about numbers; it’s also about staying cool under pressure and being willing to fold even when you’re emotionally invested in a hand.

In poker, and in life, staying sharp and making rational decisions in the heat of the moment is what separates the winners from those who let the cards (and emotions) get the best of them.

Poker is unpredictable but by studying the hand range your opponent may have or the way they play you can make better decisions although this does not mean that even if you have the best hand before the last card falls you are sure of winning or not.