By Davida Mintz February 2, 2014
It’s easier to make the right moves when you’re familiar with the odds of hitting different hands. In addition to the skills you’ve already developed, working with odds and probabilities will give you an edge over your opponents who are playing by instinct. While the statistics in the article were calculated for Texas Hold’ em, the probabilities for making each hand combination are essentially the same in Five-O Poker. Part one of this two part series focuses on playing pairs.
Independently, each of your hands has a one in sixteen chance of making a pair in the first round. You’re ahead when the first card to come out gives you a pair, or a ‘made hand.’ That means that a pair doesn’t have to hit a draw to be made. Starting with a pair gives you a 69 percent chance to beat an opponent with two random cards. Holding one pair certainly doesn’t guarantee you a win. Part its value comes from a pairs potential to develop into a bigger hand.
Holding a second pair significantly increases your odds of winning the hand. The chance of improving to two pair is around 16 percent. Although two pair is an extremely strong holding, the only thing it beats is one pair. It’s easily dominated, and can even lose to a higher two pair. In spite of the potential to be outdrawn, you are usually ahead when you hit two pair. When all the cards are turned over, it’s a safe bet that two pair will win the hand.
Three of a Kind
You’re a huge Five-O favorite when you make three of a kind. Starting with a pair, you can expect the third card of the same kind to come around 11 percent of the time. When your first two cards are unpaired, the odds drop to about one and a half percent. Three of a kind ranks above two pair but below a straight. Players use the terms trips and a set in place of three of a kind, but they’re not exactly the same.
A full house is powerful enough to crush nearly every other possible combination of cards. A full house ranks above all hands with the exception of quads, a royal flush and a straight flush. The odds of hitting one of the biggest hands in Five-O Poker are around 28 percent when you make three of a kind in round two. Also known as a boat, a full house consists of three of a kind plus one pair. For example, J-J-J-5-5 is a full house. The way to describe the hand is, ‘Jacks full of fives.’
Hitting Quads, or four of a kind, is so rare, it’s a shock to see the cards come out. When an individual hand starts out with a pair, the odds of making quads are .20 percent. Without a pair, the chances are nearly nonexistent, at .01 percent. When you make your hand, you’re virtually unbeatable. The only hands that rank above quads are the straight flush and the royal flush. In many cases, a player wins the most by losing with quads. Poker rooms often offer the loser a bad beat jackpot worth a big chunk of money.
One pair is a profitable hand in Five-O poker. It also lays the foundation for bigger hands to develop. Knowing when the odds are in your favor will help you decide whether to wait for the right card to hit, or take the hand in another direction. Part two of this series will focus on the odds for hitting straights and flushes.