An Introduction to Implied Odds

Lost & Found | estimated reading time
2010. October 06.
It happens very often in poker that the cards we are holding are not the strongest possible. We hope to see some cards on the flop, turn or river that make our hand complete (like flush or straight draws, for example).
These are known as drawing hands and can be very profitable if played correctly. You always need to know the number of your outs, which is the number of the cards that probably make you the winner. In order to know your odds, you need to compare this number to the total number of cards still in the deck. After this, you need to compare the bet size with the total size of the pot. If you know these two odds, you know your pot odds.

Here is an example:

If we have to call a $10 bet for a $100 pot, our pot odds are 1:10. If we are holding a flush draw, we have 9 outs for the flush to come. There are a total of 47 cards remaining in the deck, so our odds will be 9:47=35% in our favor. We should be calling if the pot odds are better than this.

Besides these odds, there are other factors to consider before deciding what to do next. The pot odds can be calculated by looking at the amount of money already in the pot. If we want to tell how much we will be able to win altogether, however (if we hit our flush draw, for example), we need to calculate implied odds.

Implied odds: What they are and what they can be used for

Implied odds are not lke pot odds. They do not have an exact value, but can be estimated. If our implied odds are good, we can expect to win big if we hit our hand. Bad implied odds indicate smaller possible winnings.

An example for good implied odds:

Let’s assume we call a bet pre-flop with a pocket pair, hoping to hit a set on the flop. If we happen to hit the set, it is easy to see that our winnings will probably be quite high, which indicates good implied odds.

An example for bad implied odds:

If we are holding an Ace and flop a nut flush draw, our implied odds will be quite bad. This is because even if hit the nut flush on the turn or the river, the board will be quite intimidating for our opponents and we can not count on big winnings hence the bad implied odds.

A general rule can be made about implied odds: the more disguised our hand is to our opponents, the btter the implied odds are. So, straight draws, for example, provide a better trap for our opponents, and offer better implied odds than flush draws, even though the chances of hitting them are smaller.

Implied odds have a great effect on our decisions, and open a new dimension in our gameplay. In a number of cases, we will not have the pot odds for calling, but because of the implied odds, the call will still be the better decision. With bad implied odds, however, it would be best to fold our hand.

Also important to note: If we have the right pot odds, we do not need to take implied odds into consideration.
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