Implied Odds

January 21, 2010 |

I recently wrote an article dealing with ‘Pot Odds’ and I believe that a new player to the game could really benefit from reading it. In today’s article I want to branch off the pot odds article and take a look into a different type of poker odds; Implied Odds. Unlike pot odds, which is calculating your outs and the money that is ‘currently’ in the pot to justify a call, implied odds refer to the money you can potentially earn if you make your hand. If you are a novice player or completely new to the game don’t get scared away after reading that. I will try to break implied odds down as best I can to help give you a better understanding of what they mean and how to use them properly.

Like I said earlier implied odds are not pot odds, so it may be a good idea to read up on pot odds before reading any further. I want to give a couple different examples when it comes to using implied odds. Much like my pots odds article I wrote about chasing a flush or straight draw using the odds to your advantage. When you are chasing a flush draw or a straight it’s okay to try to your hit if you are certain that you will make money throughout the hand. For instance if you have 4 to a flush on the flop, and you are certain your opponent has aces, a set, two pair, or a hand that you know they will not throw away. It’s okay to go for your draw even if the pot odds aren’t in your favor. Unlike pot odds we are not looking at the money currently in the pot, but the money we can potentially earn. So if we hit our money card on the turn we will be able to get a couple extra bets out of our opponent. In order to make a call based on implied odds you have to be certain that your opponent will put money into the pot on the turn and the river. Let me give you an example:

Me: 10h 9h Opponent: 33
Flop: 3h 5s Kh

If we are certain that our opponent has a set (thought you won’t be able to see his/her hand) then it’s okay to come along if the pots odd aren’t in our favor, because we can be certain that 90% of the opponents we play against will not lay down their set. Meaning if we hit our heart on the turn then we should get paid off on the turn and the river. Thus the definition of ‘implied odds’. Now let’s shy away from flush and straights draw to focus in a small pocket pair.

When you are holding a small pocket pair you are taught to fold if you are in early position or if there is a lot of action before you. Let’s say you are in a deep stack tournament and you are holding 66. Once again if pot odds are not in your favor you still might be able to justify making a call. If you are certain that the opponent is raising with hands like AA, KK, or QQ then it might be in your favor to make a call. Now don’t get crazy if the pot odds are no where in your favor, but if it’s borderline then you can justify a call. Remember we are holding 66 and our opponent is holding AA.

Me: 66 Opponent: AA
Flop: 3 6 Q

If we go on to a flop a set like the example shows then our implied odds indicate that we are going to get the majority of our opponents chips if not all of them. While the pot odds may not have been there pre-flop, our implied odds are tremendous if we were to hit our small pocket pair set against a player holding aces. Using implied odds in poker can help in making tough decisions if used correctly. Take some time to learn and practice using implied odds to see what they can do for your poker game. Good luck at the table everybody.

Craig Fleck

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