Poker Outs iPhone and iPod Touch App Released

Date: 2010-01-09
Author: Sean Gibson

The number of poker software titles available in the Apple App Store grows every week, ranging from video games to odds calculators.  Over the holiday, a new app was released, Poker Outs, that displays all of the outs-to-win and outs-to-chop for various Hold’em scenarios.  This application costs $0.99 and can be purchased directly from your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iTunes.

We asked the application’s author, Eric Lin, what inspired him to create the app, to which he replied, “There are many great poker calculator apps in the App Store, but none of them had the one feature I wanted, to be able to view my outs-to-win on the turn.  So, I decided to write a simple app that does just that.”

There are a couple of different ways that a poker player would utilize this application.  The first would naturally be as a learning tool for beginning players.  Let’s say that you’ve shoved in all of your chips on the turn and have been called.  Once the cards are turned over, you’ll need to see your outs if you are behind in the hand in order to win.  The app tells you the approximate percentage of the time that hands are favored to win in addition to listing specific outs.

Features for the application include:

- Simple interface and design
- Shows outs-to-win and outs-to-tie on the turn
- Shows percentages immediately after you change card values
- Percentages accurate within 3%
- Random scenario generator
- Option to show or hide outs to quiz yourself
- Internet access is not required to use it

“This was actually my first iPhone app and the development process was relatively simple. The only hurdle encountered was figuring out the proper way to provision and codesign my app. The approval process took no more than a week, which seemed quick considering it was submitted during the holiday season,” commented Lin.

The application is extremely easy to use.  Simply look at one of the two possible players in the hand and use the up and down arrows to assign a card value to that slot.  You can then change the suit by tapping on the suit button.  From there, you can fill in the flop and turn cards and the program will show appropriate percentages on all streets with outs-to-win and outs-to-tie.

As stated in the feature list, the percentages are accurate within 3%, but why not absolute accuracy? “It was a tradeoff between accuracy and speed. Absolutely accurate percentages require more calculations and processing time. I am assuming that a 3% change in probability is unlikely to change the way that an average poker player plays his or her hand. The more important aspect of the app should be the percentages being updated as fast as possible to optimize the user experience. Thus, the small sacrifice in accuracy was worth the increased speed of the app,” replied author Eric Lin.

When asked about any future plans for updates and new features, Lin responded, “The app was written mainly for the outs-to-win feature since no other app had that feature at the time I began developing. I see Poker Outs mainly as a supplement to the other poker odds calculators currently in the App Store. There are currently no updates or new features planned, but user feedback is gladly accepted to help improve it.”

For now, if you have an extra $0.99 to spare and want a cool little application for your iPhone, Poker Outs just might be a fun program to add to your device.  It’s extremely small and doesn’t take up much space.  When tested on an iPhone 3G S, the newest model of iPhone, it ran extremely fast and immediately performed calculations with no lag time.  The only real negative here is that the percentage calculations aren’t 100% accurate, which we’re hoping is fixed in an update.

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