Probabilities in Poker

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Last update: April 2, 1999

Five Card Draw

Below are the number of ways to draw each hand and the probability of drawing for the first draw in five card draw and in seven card stud.

Five Card Draw
 Hand  Combinations  Probability
 Royal flush 4 0.00000154
Straight flush 36 0.00001385
Four of a kind 624 0.00024010
Full house 3,744 0.00144058
Flush 5,108 0.00196540
Straight 10,200 0.00392465
Three of a kind 54,912 0.02112845
Two pair 123,552 0.04753902
Pair 1,098,240 0.42256903
Ace high 502,680 0.19341583
King high 335,580 0.12912088
Queen high 213,180 0.08202512
Jack high 127,500 0.04905808
10 high 70,380 0.02708006
9 high 34,680 0.01334380
8 high 14,280 0.00549451
7 high 4,080 0.00156986
Total  2,598,960 1.00000000

 

Derivations for Five Card Draw

A brief explanation of how to calculate the number of ways there are to draw each hand is below.

If you are not familiar with the factorial function, the factorial of a number is the product of every integer from one to itself. For example five factorial, denoted 5!, is 1*2*3*4*5 = 120.

If you had x cards and chose y of them, the number of unique sets you could create would be x!/(y!*(x-y)!). For the purposes of this document I shall notate this is (x:y).

The number of ways to arrange 5 cards out of 52 is (52:5) = 2,598,960. The odds of drawing any given hand are the number of ways it can be arranged divided by the total number of ways to arrange five cards above. Below is an explanation of the number of ways to arrange each hand.

Royal Flush

The number of different royal flushes are four (one for each suit).

Straight Flush

The highest card in a straight flush can be 5,6,7,8,9,10,Jack,Queen, or King. Thus there are 9 possible high cards, and 4 possible suits, creating 9 * 4 = 36 different possible straight flushes.

Four of a Kind

There are 13 different possible ranks of the 4 of a kind. The fifth card could be anything of the remaining 48. Thus there are 13 * 48 = 624 different four of a kinds.

Full House

There are 13 different possible ranks for the three of a kind, and 12 left for the two of a kind. There are 4 ways to arrange three cards of one rank (4 different cards to leave out), and (4:2) = 6 ways to arrange two cards of one rank. Thus there are 13 * 12 * 4 * 6 = 3,744 ways to create a full house.

Flush

There are 4 suits to choose from and (13:5) = 1,287 ways to arrange five cards in the same suit. From 1,287 subtract 10 for the ten high cards that can lead a straight, resulting in a straight flush, leaving 1,277. Then multiply for 4 for the four suits, resulting in 5,108 ways to form a flush.

Straight

The highest card in a straight flush can be 5,6,7,8,9,10,Jack,Queen,King, or Ace. Thus there are 10 possible high cards. Each card may be of four different suits. The number of ways to arrange five cards of four different suits is 45 = 1024. Next subtract 4 from 1024 for the four ways to form a flush, resulting in a straight flush, leaving 1020. The total number of ways to form a straight is 10*1020=10,200.

Three of a Kind

There are 13 ranks to choose from for the three of a kind and 4 ways to arrange 3 cards among the four to choose from. There are (12:2) = 66 ways to arrange the other two ranks to choose from for the other two cards. In each of the two ranks there are four cards to choose from. Thus the number of ways to arrange a three of a kind is 13 * 4 * 66 * 42 = 54,912.

Two Pair

There are (13:2) = 78 ways to arrange the two ranks represented. In both ranks there are (4:2) = 6 ways to arrange two cards. There are 44 cards left for the fifth card. Thus there are 78 * 62 * 44 = 123,552 ways to arrange a two pair.

One Pair

There are 13 ranks to choose from for the pair and (4:2) = 6 ways to arrange the two cards in the pair. There are (12:3) = 220 ways to arrange the other three ranks of the singletons, and four cards to choose from in each rank. Thus there are 13 * 6 * 220 * 43 = 1,098,240 ways to arrange a pair.

High Card

First find the number of ways to choose five different ranks out of 13 which is (13:5) = 1287. Then subtract 10 for the 10 different high cards that can lead a straight, to be left with 1277. Each card can be of 1 of 4 suits so there are 45=1024 different ways to arrange the suits in each of the 1277 combinations. However we must subtract 4 from the 1024 for the four ways to form a flush, leaving 1020. So the final number of ways to arrange a high card hand is 1277*1020=1,302,540.

Specific High Card Lets find the probability of drawing a jack high, for example. There must be four different cards in the hand all less than a jack, of which there are 9 to choose from. The number of ways to arrange 4 ranks out of 9 is (9:4) = 126. We must then subtract 1 for the 9-8-7-6-5 combination which would form a straight, leaving 125. From above we know there are 1020 ways to arrange the suits. Multiplying 125 by 1020 yields 127,500 which the number of ways to form a jack high hand. For ace high remember to subtract 2 rather than 1 from the total number of ways to arrange the ranks since A-K-Q-J-10 and 5-4-3-2-A are both valid straights.

Ace/King High For the benefit of those interested in Caribbean Stud Poker I will calculate the probability of drawing ace high with a second highest card of a king. The other three cards must all be different and range in rank from queen to two. The number of ways to arrange 3 out of 11 ranks is (11:3) = 165. Subtract one for Q-J-10, which would form a straight, and you are left with 164 combinations. As above there 1020 ways to arrange the suits and avoid a flush. The final number of ways to arrange ace/king is 164*1020=167,280.

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