Ultimate Guide on how to count cards in poker

Have you ever wondered how to count cards in poker? In this guide, we’ll talk about whether counting cards in poker is possible and how counting cards could help you the next time you play. If you enjoy poker, or you’re keen to get started and you have questions like ‘Can you count cards in poker?’ this article has all the answers you need. 

Can you count cards in poker?

Many people enjoy playing popular card games. If you’re a competitive individual, and you’re out to win, it’s natural to want to boost your chances and cut the odds. Counting cards in poker is not the same as counting cards in other table games you’d find at a casino, such as Blackjack. The primary aim of counting cards at a poker table is to maximise your chances of winning against other players rather than increasing your chances of winning against the house. 

How to count cards in poker

There are various techniques that players can utilise to try to win against opponents when playing poker. If you’re keen to learn about counting cards in poker, here are the best ways to count cards to boost your chances of success:

  • Understanding equity

When you have hands in poker, you have to make decisions as to which move you will make next. Understanding equity involves working out your equity and calculating how much equity your opponents have. The equity is the chance of winning the hand in a scenario where all of the money was all-in. Understanding equity is beneficial at the flop and at the river. 

When using equity calculations in poker, the chance of winning is expressed as a percentage. The higher the figure, the better. It is possible to use equity calculator tools, but seasoned players usually become accustomed to making calculations during the game. Common examples of equities include:

  1. An underpair versus overcards: overcards have the better odds at around 55% to 45%
  2. One overcard versus a pair: the pair has better odds at around 70% to 30%
  3. A pair over a smaller pair: the pair has better odds at approximately 80% to 20%
  4. Suited: being suited can add around 3% to the hand equity
  • Figuring out equities usually applies to post-flop

When you count cards in Texas Hold’em, this usually applies to a game that is on the flop or on the turn. There are two types of post-flop hands: these include made hands and draws. A made hand does not need to improve while a draw does. If your equity is relatively high, it makes sense to continue with the hand. If your equity is low, and your opponent’s equity is likely to be higher, the best option is usually to fold or check. 

  • Counting out the pot equity

Counting out the pot equity involves calculating the chance of winning the pot using the number of outs to figure out the percentage chance of winning. If the figure is greater than 50%, the odds are in your favour. 

  • Counting the benefits of a tainted deck

A tainted deck is a marked or damaged deck of cards. If you play with a tainted deck, you can tell what a card is by looking at the back of it. This enables you to determine which cards your opponent has. If you have access to a tainted deck, you could deal a hand, which in theory, could help you increase the odds of winning. However, it is important to understand that counting cards in this sense is not likely to be commonplace, and it is a controversial practice. Players may not want to participate in a game with a dealer using a tainted deck. There have been stories in the news headlines and examples of players who have received bad press as a result of winning while using tainted decks.  

  • Counting the outs

The term ‘out’ is used commonly in poker. If you have a wager on a game of poker, it’s beneficial to learn how to count the outs to determine your chances of winning and those of other players at the table. An out is any card that could either make your hand better or worse. If you understand poker hand rankings, counting the outs can help you figure out the chances of your hand getting better. You can also count the outs of your opponents to determine the chances of their hand improving. 

To understand how to count cards in poker using the method of counting the outs, you need to be able to count the number of likely outs you have and use the rule of 4 and 2 to determine the equity of the draw. On the flop, you multiply the number of outs by 4. On the turn, you multiply the number of outs by 2. If you have 12 outs, for example, this would give you a 4&2 equity of 48% on the flop and 24% on the turn. 


Counting cards in poker can help you to maximise your chances of winning against other players. Counting cards in poker is different from card counting in Blackjack. There are various methods, including counting the outs, counting out the pot equity and playing with a tainted deck. 


  • Does card counting give you an advantage when gambling? 

Yes, card counting can give you an advantage when gambling. If you play table games, counting cards can help you to increase your chances of winning and beating other players or the house. There are different techniques for different casino games. 

  • Is card counting possible in poker? 

Yes, it is possible to count cards in poker, but it is important to note that card counting techniques are different to those used when playing Blackjack. 

  • Is it cheating to count cards when you are gambling? 

In some games, counting cards is viewed as cheating. When playing poker, players are encouraged to count cards to improve their chances of winning. Card counting in poker is different from counting cards in Blackjack and it is not illegal. 

  • Is Card Counting Legal In Poker?

If you’re thinking about learning how to count cards in poker, you may be wondering if card counting is legal. In poker, counting cards is legal as it doesn’t give you an unfair advantage over the house. 

  • Can you count cards in poker?

Yes, you can count cards in poker, but card counting in poker is different from counting cards in other casino games, such as Blackjack.

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