Implied Odds: An Advanced Tool to help make Poker Decisions
The pot odds that you learned about in Unit 3 are what is known as “expressed” pot odds. This means the odds that are currently being presented by the pot. In this lesson we are going to look at a more advanced version of this calculation called Implied Pot Odds which take potential future bets into consideration.
What are Implied Odds?
This is just a very brief introduction to this topic. Although you should be aware of it, until you become a more experienced player, you should limit the use of this technique as you need to be able to accurately predict future bets that may happen in the hand.
The Expressed Pot Odds is something that you are already familiar with, but what this calculation does not take into account is the money that will eventually be offered by the pot once the betting is finished. This is what we call the “Implied” Odds.
Implied odds basically work on the principle that there are two outcomes to a drawing hand
- Miss your hand – If you miss your hand then you will probably lose the pot, but you won’t have to invest any more money into the pot, you can simply fold at the next round of betting.
- Hit your hand – If you make your hand then you will win the pot, and you may be able to get your opponent to put some more money into the pot on the next round of betting.
You are in Late position and hold K J, The Flop and Turn have come down as 5 9 A 2. So you are on a nut flush draw.
The pot stands at $15, and after the turn your opponent bets $5.
If we do the poker maths we have learnt, we have 9 outs to hit our flush which is approximately 18% probability after the turn. The expressed pot odds offered are $20 to $5 or 4 to 1 which is a break even percentage of 20%.
So based on the above maths and just using expressed pot odds we should fold this hand as we are not quite getting the correct odds to call.
If we take this a little further and say that if we make the Flush on the river then we expect our opponent will call another of $5 on the river. So now in our Implied odds calculation we expect to win $25 from a $5 bet if we hit our hand, so the implied pot odds are 5 to 1 which is a break even percentage of 17%.
Now we are getting the correct odds to call based on the implied odds.
Note: We do not take into account the extra bet we would have to make on the river to get the extra $5, because if we missed our hand we would not have to make that bet.
Now don’t get too excited by the above, you can’t just assume every time that your opponent is going to call an extra bet on the river, and use implied odds to make calls that you shouldn’t. Remember if you make calls against the odds, then you are back to square one again – a fish!
Implied odds is a complicated and imperfect art because you never really know what your opponent will or won’t call at the next round of betting, it is really just a best guess based on your read of the player, how he has been acting, what hand you think he has, and whether you think it is strong enough for him to call a value bet on the river, even if a scare card comes.
Until you get more experienced in reading your opponents, you should just be aware of implied odds, and use it very sparingly in a situation where the odds on whether or not to call are slightly below what is required, then consider whether the implied odds will just tip the balance and enable you to make the call.
Once you are more experienced with your strategy and have had plenty of practice reading your opponents then you will be able to more accurately forecast your opponent’s future bets and be able to make a lot more use of Implied Odds.
Poker Bankroll Challenge: Stage 11
- Stakes: $0.10/$0.20
- Buy In: $20 (100 x BB)
- Starting Bankroll: $403
- Target: $100 (5 x Buy In)
- Finishing Bankroll: $503
- Estimated Sessions: 5
Use these practise sessions to ensure you understand what you have learned about poker maths and in particular pot odds. While you are making these calculations in your head start to consider how the future bets in the hand that you might win if your draw comes affect that pot odds calculation - that is implied odds at work right there! Remember, Implied Odds are not an excuse to make fishy calls, only use them if you are fairly certain you can extract more chips out of your opponent later in the hand.