Basic Implied Odds

Mathematics: Flushes & Straights : Simple Pot Odds : Implied Odds : Reverse Implied Odds

Basic Implied Odds

If you are comfortable with using pot odds, then this basic implied odds article is going to be a walk in the park.

Thankfully there are no calculations involved when it comes to implied odds... just a small amount of interesting theory that you should think about when you are working out whether or not to call when you are on a draw.

What are implied odds?

Implied odds basically involve the amount of money that you can expect to win after you have completed your drawing hand.

So if you made a call on the flop with a flush draw and then hit it on the turn, your implied odds would be the amount of money that you extract from your opponent on the turn and the river (hopefully lots). Essentially any money that gets put into the pot after you make the call will be your implied odds.

Why are implied odds important?

These implied odds are very important because when you do your pot odds calculations, you are not including the amount of money that you can expect to win on future betting rounds. If you can remember, pot odds only consider the amount of money that is currently in the pot.

Implied odds are not factored in to pot odds calculations, which means that you tend to have slightly better odds to call than you might think.

Therefore, if you factor in the idea that you will win more money than is currently in the pot if you catch the right cards, it will influence your decision on whether to call or fold when you are on a draw.

What difference do implied odds make?

Basically, if you expect that you will win a lot of money on future betting rounds after you hit your flush or straight (or whatever), you can afford to bend the rules of pot odds and pay a little more than you normally should to see the next card. This is because your implied odds are making it 'worth it' to pay more to try and make your hand.

Conversely, if you have bad implied odds where you do not expect to make any money on future rounds, you should stick to the rules of pot odds, as it is not going to be profitable to pay more to try and make your draw. Easy as that.

How do you use implied odds in Texas Hold'em?

As a rule of thumb: the more hidden your hand is, the bigger your implied odds will be, and the more you can profitably pay to try and make your draw.

If your hand is hidden, your opponent is not going to suspect that you have a strong hand, and so you are more likely to get paid off on future rounds. Conversely, if it is obvious that you could have a big hand, the chances are that you are not going to get much money from the other players at the table.

Implied Odds GuideHands with good implied odds.

  • Straights
  • Sets

Hands with poor implied odds.

  • Flushes

Straights and sets have good implied odds because they are not as easy to spot, and so they are more likely to bring in some money through opponents that overlook them. On the other hand, flushes have poor implied odds because of the fact that many players become wary when 3 or more cards of the same suit appear on the board, so the chances of getting paid off are slimmer.

If your opponent does not give you credit for having a strong hand, the greater the chance is that you will be taking more money from them.

There are no calculations involved with implied odds, so you will just have to use your experience and this very loose rule of thumb to give yourself an estimate of the amount of money that you can expect to win. It's not always easy or accurate, but your judgment will improve with time.

Implied odds overview.

The main use of implied odds in poker is to simply highlight the fact that there is the possibility that you could win more money after you hit your draw, and so you should influence your decisions on whether to call of fold accordingly. Pot odds are the fundamentals of any decision when you are on a draw, and implied odds are like an add-on to help you make the most profitable decision.

If you are not too familiar with the use of implied odds, you should stick with pot odds for a little while, as you cannot go wrong with them. The problem is that if you do not work with implied odds correctly you may well start paying far too much for draws, which will cost you money in the long run.

Go back to the sublime Texas Hold'em guide.

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