When we talk about odds in poker, we always refer to them as the odds for and against something happening. They are important to keep in mind, as they are the core of the odds that are an innate part of poker.

However, there are several types of odds and it is necessary to know all of them in order to know how to handle the right numbers at any given moment in the game. One of these types are the implied odds, which are the subject of this article and about which we are going to explain some aspects so that any player who until now has not given much importance to implied odds in poker will do so from now on.

Implied Odds: what are they?

Let’s be clear: implied odds are those odds that take into account the pot and the money (or chips) that we can get in future bets. This is the basic definition that must be clear and, like any other type of odd, they can (and should) be calculated to refine our game and be fine-tuned with the strategy we follow. To calculate the implied odds, you must follow several steps, grouped in three different phases.

  • First, calculate the odds from the outs. To know the implied odds, you first need to know what the odds are based on the outs. We call “outs” the cards that are used to win the hand, and that can be different depending on the cards you have managed to hit.

The outs can be converted into percentages, which is what we are interested in, with the rule of 2 and 4. Each out is 2% of completing a play between phases (from flop to turn, or from turn to river), and $4 of completing the play between the flop and the turn.

  • Next, calculate the pot odds. To calculate the pot odds, we need to consider what bet we have to call and how much that call is in proportion to the pot. We also have to take into account the odds that we have of hitting our target play. Put like that it’s complex, but with a poker calculator it’s something you can look up in a jiffy.

Essentially, calculating pot odds lets you know if it’s worth paying the bet to potentially make a profit. If the payout is too high in proportion to the likelihood of a variable volume reward, it’s in our best interest not to pay.

But there is one thing to consider: the money that comes from the bets we might get if we tie our target hand and the opponent pays. This way we can get an estimate of the implied odds.

  • Then, obtain the implied odds. With the pot odds in our possession, we must obtain an estimate of how much our opponent might end up paying us, as well as the percentage of times he would pay. But be careful: we are not talking about exact values here, only estimates, so you must establish margins of error in your conclusions. Even so, it is extremely useful to make an estimate.

Factors in implied odds to take into account

Beyond any doubt about the usefulness of calculating pot odds, there are a number of considerations and factors that should be taken into account in relation to implied odds. The most important of these are as follows:

  • Who are we playing against?
  • How can we rate the aggressiveness of that opponent?
  • What is the strength of that player, is he a calling station?
  • What hands has he played in the moments before and after the river?
  • How likely is he to have bet big on the river for fear of being left out of the pot by a bluff?

To answer all these questions, you need to let the game play out, let the game “roll” a bit to get to know your opponent. That will give your perspective and allow you to get an idea of what the implied odds are more accurately, giving you more value in your estimation.

Tips for mastering implied odds

  • Give value to your result, but don’t make it a law: it’s an approximation that you can use, not an exact figure.
  • Being out of position or not will make a big difference, whether you are facing a bet on the flop and call or a new bet on the turn.
  • Playing OOP and faced with a bet on the flop that you call, your opponent may bet again when you complete your betting, with implied odds.
  • In the same position, there is a chance that your opponent will check during the turn and you may not be able to get three streets worth of value out of the hand, minimizing your ability to grow the pot.
  • Being out of position during a new bet on the turn, if we end up paying the bet and complete the draft on the opponent, the opponent may decide not to bet again, preventing us from winning money from the hand.
  • Playing in position, facing a bet on the flop and having called, we can talk last on the turn, which gives us the advantage of choosing whether to call or raise.

In other words: playing in position we have the opportunity to get value out of our hand, both by betting if they check, and by re-raising if they bet against us. Out of position, it will be the opponent who decides in the last turns of each round, a power that we do not want to give them.

Simplifying

The implicit probabilities are those that, besides taking into account the size of the pot, also contemplate the money or chips that we can obtain from future bets.

It is important to take them into account and learn as soon as possible to calculate some of their factors or their totality, this will make us measure very well the decisions in our game and when we win or lose, we will know exactly how it has happened.

Because mathematics can go for or against us and we can lose up to 2% of possibilities, in the long run, if our calculations are correct, the balance will always be towards the player who better calculates his probabilities.