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Poker strategy essays

Introduction to Implied Odds


The education of a Texas Holdem poker player is a long road. Many players start by seeing poker as a game of pure luck, like blackjack or craps. Sooner or later, they begin to realize that there are certain things they can do to gain an edge over opponents. They may then start to study and learn about tools to success such as pot odds. Once players learn about pot odds, the next step is to understand implied odds.

Pot Odds Vs. Implied Odds

Pot odds represent the odds the pot is laying you right now. If there is $75 in the pot and you need to call $25 to see your opponent's hand, you are getting 3-to-1 pot odds, meaning you need to be correct more than one time out of four to be right to call. However, this calculation is based on the idea that the betting is over once you make the call. Implied odds takes into consideration what may happen on later streets if you call a bet now.

Implied Odds

The implied odds are the pot odds with additional money that you expect to make on later streets if you hit, added into the calculation. For example, there is $75 in the pot and it's $25 to you after the flop. You have an open-ended straight draw which gives you a slightly better than 5-to-1 shot to hit on your next card. As a pure pot odds calculation the call is incorrect. However if you think you can get more than $50 out of your opponent after you hit on the turn, you are really facing a bet of $25 to win $125 or more, which is better than 5-to-1, making your call correct.

Notes on Implied Odds

To use implied odds effectively you must be honest with yourself. A flush on board, for example, is easy to see, and you can't assume that your opponent will blindly shove all his chips in just because you hit your flush. Also, keep an eye on your opponent's stack. You can't get any implied odds if he doesn't have the chips to pay you off with! Make reasonable judgments based on the situation and your read of your opponents, to decide whether you have good implied odds or not.



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