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  • October 1, 2020

Online Poker Dictionary: Implied Odds

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Implied odds or implied pot odds are modified pot odds used when playing a draw. They account for the fact that more money can be extracted from the opposition if the draw hits. They include the bets that the opposition will make, not just what is already in the pot.
Implied Odds = expected possible winnings : bets to be paid
Implied odds therefore include a speculative element: How much money can I extract from my opponent if I complete my draw?
Implied odds offer a comparison of what you think you’ll win – including all the money in the pot right now along with any additional money that figures to come into the pot through bets and calls on future wagering rounds – compared to the cost of a current bet. If this sounds somewhat less than a precise measure, you’re right.
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Unlike mathematical odds, implied odds involves estimating – or guessing – about the future action of your opponents. When you base a bet or a call on implied odds, you’re wagering not only on the odds related to making your hand, but also on your ability to forecast your opponents’ behavior when your hand comes in.
Suppose you flopped a flush draw, and with two cards to come, the odds against completing it are 1.86-to-1 against you. But without knowing how much money you figure to win if you have to call a bet to draw to your flush, you can’t tell whether it pays to stick around or not. After all, with the odds at nearly 2-to-1 against you, if the all the pot offered was even money – you’d win as much as you contributed – it wouldn’t pay to keep drawing.
In poker, whenever the pot odds exceed the odds against making your hand, it pays to keep playing. When the odds against your hand coming in exceed the reward associated with it, it’s usually a bad deal. A simple way to think about this is that whenever the prize exceeds the cost of the game, keep playing. When the cost to play is more than the money you figure to win, you should fold.
But implied odds can change that equation, and here’s why. While the current size of the pot might not be sufficient to make it worthwhile to take another card or two, if you reckon that the pot will grow substantially on future wagering rounds, your decision might be a different one.
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f you’re going to use implied odds as justification to call an opponent, then be aware that some draws have greater implied odds than others. Flush draws are pretty obvious, and most opponents will at least stop and ponder when an opponent who has been calling all along comes out betting when a third suited card hits the board. In other words, unless your opponent is very loose or figures you for a bluff, implied odds with flush draws tend to be smallish, because that third suited card can put a serious damper on any forthcoming action.
Things are different when your hand is hidden. Because hidden hands are more deceptive, your opponent might not realize the strength of it and pay you off with a second-best hand. The best implied odds draw is a double belly buster straight because of its stealth nature.
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