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Implied Odds


   This is an advanced concept extending our previous discussion on pot odds. The application of the principle works like this. You have 3d 3h in middle position in a $3 - $6 game. Your goal is to flop a set. The odds are about 7.5 to 1 against. There are three small bets ($9) in the pot. You are clearly not getting enough pot odds to justify a call. However, this is a very loose passive game and you realistically expect at least another two callers. That puts you up to 5 to 1 ($15) which is still technically not enough but you can further reason that: If you do flop a set, at least two out of the five will call your bet on the flop ($6) and at least one will call on the turn ($6) and river ($6). Thus if you don't flop a set, you will immediately fold having lost $3. If you do then you will likely win $33. So say that 8 times you don't make a set for a total loss of $24. Then the one time you do, you win $33 for a profit of $9.

   Now don't get too excited. There are some major drawbacks. First, no matter how passive you think the game is, there is always the possibility that someone will wake up with a hand and decide to raise. At that point you're forced to call even though you may not win 15 small bets ($45) even if you make your set and it holds up. You must also consider the possibility of making your set and losing to a larger set, straight or flush.

   The place where implied odds are royalty is in no limit and pot limit. Early in the hand, when the bets are small compared to the large amounts that could be won if you get lucky, you may be justified in taking a flop off with many hands that would definitely be unplayable in limit poker. In a structured game, you would never be able to win enough when you made the hand to make up for all of the losses all of the times that you didn't get there. But that's all different in the exciting world of big bet poker.


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