Introduction to Implied Odds

A quick guest post on implied odds.

Introduction to Implied Odds

Part of the skill in poker is about understanding the odds. The great poker players know all the math required to calculate whether someone is getting an edge.

Pot odds are crucial for this calculation, but it is not the end of the story. There are also implied odds that players must consider.

Pot Odds vs. Implied Odds

Pot odds are the most basic calculation in poker. They represent your payout odds. If there is $50 in the pot and you need to call $5 to get to a showdown, you are risking $5 to win $50, or $10 for every $1 you bet, or 10-to-1.

If your odds of winning are shorter than 10-to-1, this bet has positive expected value over the long term. If they are longer, it has negative expected value. Implied odds enhance this equation by including money not yet in the pot.

True Odds in Poker

When you use pot odds, you are comparing them to your real odds of winning the hand – something that any basic online poker pot odds calculator can do for you. The real odds calculate by determining the number of cards that can come to make you the winner vs. the number of cards that will give the pot to your opponent. In order to continue, these odds need to be better than the pot odds, plus the implied odds.

Implied Odds in Practice

Players on a draw frequently consider online Texas holdem odds. For example, if you hold Kc 9c and the board is 6c Ac 4d Js, you will probably need to hit your flush to win.

If there is $200 in the pot and your opponent bets $100, you have 3-to-1 pot odds. His bet makes it a $300 pot and it costs you $100 to call. You have nine outs to win the pot and 37 cards that don’t help you. 37-to-9 is about 4-to-1, which makes this a fold, unless considering implied odds.

Implied odds take into account money you might win on later streets. Let’s say you should call and a club comes on the river. Your opponent, afraid of the flush, checks, and you bet $150 into the $400 pot. Your opponent is getting 550-to-150, or about 3.7-to-1.

This means that if your opponent thinks you would bluff in this situation 22 percent of the time or more, he should call. When he calls and loses, you win an additional $150. If you go back and add this to your original calculation, you are risking $100 to win not $300, but $450. The implied odds are 4.5-to-1, making this a correct call.

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