Why is 22 vs AK a flip? What's the calculation behind this theory because AK has more outs than 22, as AK has 6 outs and 22 has 2 outs, is that right?

  • 1
    There are other good answers, but I just wanted to add that in addition to the 6 pairing outs for AK, that hand also has a slightly better chance of hitting a straight and could potentially have a higher flush if 4 cards of the same suit come out. One additional way for AK to win would be if the board double-paired (as in a board of 6688J). Jan 11, 2017 at 13:58
  • But I would advice you to hold AK rather than 22 when you go all in preflop. The reason is simple. 22 is a flip at best with any decent player's hand range (no one will shove allin with 23) while AK is almost always guaranteed flip (except AA and KK) and can be a big favorite vs AQ-, KQ- Jan 11, 2017 at 16:53
  • You've got a few answers, but not accepted any - is there something else you're looking for which these answers don't provide? If so, perhaps you could update your question accordingly and we'll try to provide better answers.
    – 3N1GM4
    Feb 2, 2017 at 17:39

4 Answers 4


22 vs AK is a "coinflip" (or just a "flip") because there is approximately an equal chance of either hand winning, just like the equal chance of either side of a coin coming up when flipped. In reality, 22 has a slight edge against AK when all in preflop, being a 52% favourite (assuming nothing is known about the suits of the hands).

To deal with your statement:

AK has more outs than 22, as AK has 6 outs and 22 has 2 outs

Outs are cards which a hand needs to have appear (on the board in the case of holdem and other flop games) in order to win. You are correct in saying that AK has 6 outs against 22 preflop, but 22 itself does not have outs per se, because it is already ahead. In order to win, it just needs the AK to not hit any of it's outs (or to redraw on a subsequent card to the outs it does have then).

There's a pretty decent answer by here which runs through the details of calculating specific probabilities if you want to validate this (or any other) matchup, or you could just use something like ProPokerTools. If you're desperate for a manual calculation to show you how it's done, drop a comment and I'll have a bash when I have a few minutes.


A coin flip is when the chances of either hand winning are about 50%, the same as a coin flip coming up heads or tails. Most players consider anything in the range of 45-55% as being a coin flip, rather than exactly 50%.


22 is ahead. 22 does not need to improve to win.

22 only needs to improve if AK improves and only then does 22 need to hit one of its outs (redraw). 22 only has 2 outs but it will make a set about 19% or the time. 22 can also win with a flush, quad, and straight.

AKs has that does not match the suite of either 2 is almost exactly a coin flip. 49.60% versus 49.70%.

But AK actually only wins by pairing 42.47%. AK can win by straight or flush. AK wins if the board has 2 pair or the board has quads.

Actually JTs is better (53%) as it can make more straights. Board hitting AA, KK, or QQ does not hurt JTs. All the way down to 65s plays better than AKs against 22.


Why is 22 vs AK a flip? What's the calculation behind this theory because AK has more outs than 22, as AK has 6 outs and 22 has 2 outs, is that right?

No, it's no right. 22 indeed have less outs but that's only against a made hand. AK is not considered a made hand, as it's merely a high card hand.

AK crashes all high card hands (as KJ or AT) but against 22 it's the one needing the outs. 6 outs is the corrent number for AK as it's needing one of 3 kings or aces to beat the 22.

6 outs is not a large number of outs to consider it at all when players are mostly get all-in with way better draws (9+ outs) and still dont get more than 30-35% of equity, having seen the flop.

With AK you get a bit more equity since you're entitled to see all 5 cards with 50% equity. That's it, you get this much of equity because you decide it preflop to see all cards. It's a preflop equity.

22 number of outs at the moment (preflop) is not relevant; It's AK who is in danger. Finally, don't forget that AK is still lose if either A or K flops the board and another 2 gets in.

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