Implied Odds: What Are They and How Can They Help Improve Your Poker Game?

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Are you a beginner poker player looking to improve your poker game, but don’t know where to start? WPT Global are here to help with their insightful series of strategy articles.

Their latest article focuses on implied odds — this important concept can be the first step for any poker player when starting out as it forces them to look at hands overall instead of focusing on one particular street.

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What Are Implied Odds?

It’s arguably one of the most important elements of poker and Implied Odds have a simple definition. Implied Odds can be used alongside pot odds to determine whether it’s worth it to call a bet when you’re on a draw.

They’re a way of looking at how much money you can expect to win, on either the turn or river, if you make your hand against your opponent

Example of Implied Odds
If the pot has $300 and your opponent bets $100, you are getting 4-to-1 pot odds to call (you need to call $100 in order to have a chance to win $400). However, if there are future betting rounds in which you might win even more money, that helps create even better “implied odds.”

Everyone loves the feeling when the perfect card to complete your straight or flush draw rolls off on the turn and river, and sometimes you know that you’re going to win a big pot off your opponent when you hit your draw. Implied odds can show you whether or not is is worth calling as it looks ahead to the next street to determine whether or not to make an “unprofitable” call in the present

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While it’s not possible to work out your precise pot odds, what you can figure out is the minimum amount you need to make from your opponent to make chasing your draw profitable.

Here is the formula: Minimum $ Required = ((1 / Hand Equity) * Amount to Call) – (Pot Size + Amount to Call)

For example, you have a flush draw with one card to come. You have to call $30 to win $30. You can work out the minimum amount you need to win from your opponent on the river to make the call profitable.

The formula, in this case, becomes: Minimum $ Required = ((1 / 20%) * $30) – ($30 + $30), which can be solved to get $90. If you think that you can get $90 from your opponent then you should call. As you can see, decisions like this can be very opponent-specific.

What is the Difference Between Implied Odds and Pot Odds?

In order to understand implied odds, you must first understand pot odds. Pot odds are what you use to determine a call’s profitability on that particular street.

Example of Pot Odds
If the pot has $100 and your opponent bets $100 you are getting 2-to-1 pot odds. This is because in order to win the $200 that is currently in the middle, you must bet $100.

Why Are Implied Odds Important?

Some beginner poker players look to pot odds to help them figure out the strength of their current holding. This view can be restrictive, as it only looks at the action on one particular street: do you have the right odds to call right here? If you do, then call. If you don’t then fold.

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However, implied odds extend that decision across multiple streets. The best poker players try to look across the whole hand, both what has happened and what may happen on future streets, to make the most optimal decisions

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