Implied Odds – Reversed Implied Odds

Explanation and Calculating Implied and Reversed Implied Odds

Of all the different kinds of poker strategies that players use, not one is more abused and improperly used as implied odds. And why is that? Well, implied odds are used by a player when they have a draw to a good hand but do not have the correct pot odds to make the call. In most situations, this would be an obvious “fold” but in other situations a player may have a read on his opponent which would lead them to imply that they can earn so much money off their opponent should their hand be made. From here, a player would assume an amount of money that they feel they could extract for their hand and then add it to the pot to see if they have the odds necessary to justify calling.

This strategy is heavily abused by players who have yet to break the habit of chasing draws to hands that only miracles bring. Of course, a player has not played enough poker unless they have seen their share of these miracles hit which is then followed by a string of fun words in the chat box from the loser wondering how the winner of the pot could possibly play the hand like that. Many times the winner of the pot exclaims, “I had implied odds.”

Now, most times players do not have implied odds. The reason being is that they do not understand all the different things that need to be considered when determining whether they actually had implied odds or not.

Determining If You Have Implied Odds

There are many factors to take into consideration when determining if a player has implied odds or not. Primarily, a history with your opponent is important. It may not matter how many times you have played with this opponent, or for how long, but you need to determine if you hit your draws that your opponent will actually pay you off. If your opponent is rather good at poker or if they are extremely tight, chances are your implied odds will be slim to none unless they have a good hand themselves. So against these players it may be pointless to dump more money in the pot in hopes that your efforts will be paid for.

On the other hand, if you have spotted a calling station or just over fishy player who likes to play a lot, then implied odds may just be the way to add to your bankroll. Other things to keep in mind when deciding if you have implied odds are:

*Chip Stacks: Your opponent needs to have enough money in their stack for you to potentially extract should your hand hit. This is also why it’s good to understand the importance of chip stacks.

*Hand Range: It is important to try to put your opponent on a range of hands and then determine if the hand you are drawing to will beat theirs. Equally important is that you need to know if the ranges of hands that you put your opponents on are hands that your opponent may feel “committed” to and will not be able to let go.

To put this into perspective, here is an exaggerated example of how to use implied odds. Let us assume that you are on the button in a 6-handed $100/$200 ring game. Most of the players here are new to you except for Player B, which you have destroyed in the past. He tends to overplay anything that he has connected to on the flop. Everyone is dealt his or her cards, you look down to see Ah-Jh, and with the action folding to you, you decide to raise it to $600. The small blind folds and the big blind makes the call. There is now $1,300 in the pot. To your disappointment, you see that you have missed the flop as the dealer turns over Kh-10h-5d. On the bright side, you have outs to the nut straight and/or flush.

The big blind leads out with a bet of about $500. This of course gives you odds of $1,800 to $500 or when simplified 3.6 to 1. After counting your outs, you realize that there are 3 queens and 9 flush cards available giving you 12 outs. The problem is, is that the odds of hitting one of your cards is 4 to 1 meaning that in the long run you would have a negative expected value trying to chase your hand. (It is important to remember that you want the odds to hit your hand better than the pot odds you are getting. So if you know the odds of hitting your hand are 4 to 1, you want the minimum pot odds to be 4.1 to 1 to ensure that you are making a profit).

However as we mentioned above, the big blind is a rather fishy player that likes to stick to hands he has connected with. And with the post flop bet with a flush and potential straight draws, it sure seems like he has connected and is trying to bet to discourage draws.

So do you have implied odds? Well, you know that his general hand range makes sense and you have both the nut flush and straight draws so little can beat you. After some thought, you decide that should be able to extract another $700 should you hit one of your outs and you look at your opponents stack and see that he has $4,500 which is plenty.
Now, you need to decide if $700 is enough to give you implied odds. To do this, we theoretically add the $700 to the $1,800 that is in the pot to give us $2,500. Now, if we have to make a $500 call we can then expect to win $2,500 which gives us odds of 5 to 1 which is better than the odds to hit our hand, thus justifying the call. Over the long run, if a player were to make this play with 4 to 1 odds they would expect to win $2,500 once and lose $500 4 times for a profit of $500 (($2,500*1) – (4*$500)).

Whether you make the hand and win the pot is a whole another story. The point here is that by using educated reasoning you have made a mathematically correct play based on what you imply that your opponent will do.

Reversed Implied Odds

Reverse Implied Odds are a little bit different as this is an expected loss should a player hit a draw. For example, if a player was to have 5d-6d and the flop brings Ad-8d-9h then a flush draw and straight draw is possible. However, in both cases this hand can be dominated by a higher straight such as 7 thru J or any K high flush. In scenarios such as these, a player is expected to have reversed implied odds as it is implied that they will not be able to let the hand go should they catch one of their outs, thus losing money when dominated by a better hand.

Reversed Implied Odds are a bit more difficult to calculate, as it is impossible to determine how your opponent will choose to play their hand or how you may play the hand for that matter. Whether if you are ahead or behind, this hand would more than likely be played with caution not allowing you to make the full potential when you are ahead with the best hand, thus not making up for the times that you are behind and lose. In situations such as these where you may have a flush or straight draw and are facing a bet, your implied odds will almost be diminished by the fact that there may be reversed implied odds as well. These hands are better off being folded more often than not.

Poker Implied and Reversed Odds

It should be obvious by now that Implied Odds is an educated implication based on several different factors such as player history, player chip stacks, and hand ranges. Players that do not consider any of these factors when trying to use Implied Odds are simply guessing at best and who would want to risk their stack based on a guess? No one, that’s who.