Now that we understand what is meant by pot odds, we can now start to factor in the concept of poker implied odds to our decision making. It adds another important and dynamic layer into our poker playing strategy. Implied odds can literally make the difference between a call and a fold. 

Put simply, implied odds involve a consideration of the amount we might win in the event that we hit the hand to which we are drawing. That is to say, whilst deciding whether to call a bet when drawing to a hand, we make certain assumptions that we will win more than the amount which is currently in a pot if we hit our monster. In an earlier post about calculating poker pot odds, we looked at an example where we were drawing to a flush. 

To recap, we hold AK of spades, and there are two spades in the flop, with $160 in the pot.  We are facing an $80 bet and have to consider whether to call.

Our pot odds are 2:1.  After the flop, the odds of making our hand are around 35%, or slightly over 3:1.  On the basis of pot odds alone, it would be a fairly loose call in this spot.  However, what if we know that we are likely to get at least another $160 from our opponent even if we hit our flush. Whilst the pot odds are saying fold, the implied odds may make a call here ok. 

That’s the basic idea behind implied poker odds – we can at times make a call where the pot odds aren’t in our favour but do it anyway on the basis that if we hit our hand, we will win more (sometimes much more) than what’s currently in the pot.

Implied and pot odds are cornerstones of the no limit holdem. Unlike limit poker, a draw that turns into a monster hand can result in our opponent donating their stack.

An important brake on factoring in implied odds is of course the likelihood that our opponent will still pay us off once we have hit our hand.  That involves some estimation on our part, and should be considered carefully when deciding whether to ignore pot odds in favour of implied odds. 

Stay tuned for more detailed analysis of pot and implied odds.

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