Implied Odds and Reverse Implied Odds

In the first and middle rounds of betting, to call future bets generally decrease your pot odds and you have to estimate your true or efficient odds. Though there are times when the presence of future bet is the only reason you play a hand. Your immediate pot odds may not be high to give good reason to call for one more card. But if that card gives you a worse hand that makes you for a lot of action, you considerably do not need the initial odds from the pot. You will get them later. This odd is what it means by implied odds.

Implied Odds

Implied odds are supported on the possibility of winning money in next round of betting whatever is inside the pot. To be clear, your implied odds are the ratio of your total desired wins when your card hits to the actual cost of calling the bet. For example, to play a good hand for the implied odds happens in hold'em when you have a small pair in the hole. It's around 8-to-1 against flopping that card to hit three-of-a-kind, but a small pair would benefit in many cases even you get anything like 5-to-1. In a $10-$20 game with $50 in the pot and it is $10 to you, you get an implied odds of about 150-to-10 or 15-to-1, as you should average about $100 more profits when you do flop a set of trips. Definitely, when you do not make trips, you would really give away your hand than to call a bet on the flop.

In previous discussions we have faced other situations where implied were functioning. In the ante structure of Chapter Four, we focused that in games with a small ante and a small initial bet compared to future bets, it cost to play looser than the small ante would determine for the initial bet only. The object is that the big bets in next rounds gives good implied odds.

For example, in every card room of Las Vegas , the $1-$3 and $1-$4 seven-card stud games start off with a 50-cent bet. It is wrong to play so rigid for this initial bet especially against the bad players that you find in these games. For example, when you see fourth street for only 50 cents, you should call for one card with any pair, as long as your cards exist - that is, as long as few of the cards that you need have appeared between your rivals' poker exposed cards. This is so because your implied odds are massive. Will you make two pair or a three-of-a-kind you can make a lot of action from lesser hands, mainly when your initial pair is hidden.

Implied odds were functioning in the example of Chapter Six on efficient odds which encouraged calling to see one card only if the immediate pot odds justify a call, even if the efficient pot odds indicate a fold. The advice was that when your card hits, you can certainly make more money on future bets.

Furthermore to this point, you may even call when the immediate pot odds do not justify a call if the bet increases from one round to the next. Your expected future profits, when your card hits - your implied odds - may figure for short odds you are getting at this time. For example, in a $10-$20 game with $20 in the pot, and your rival bets $10, your pot odds are 3-to-1 which would make you to give an open-ended straight. Thus, if your hand (or your rival) is such that can your hand improve on the next round, you would beat your rival for another $40 on future rounds of betting, then your implied odds will be $70-to-$10 or 7-to-1, which would be worth a call with an open-ender. If you miss your hand and on the next round, your rival bets $20, you will once again get 3-to-1 odds ($60-to-$20), but the implied odds would get declined.

Implied odds in pot-limit and no-limit games

Generally the higher the difference between future bets and the present bet that you call, the greater your implied odds. Therefore, implied odds becomes very important in pot-limit and in no-limit games where the future bet are as huge as the sum of money a player has in front of him. Actually, in these games one do not consider how much is inside the pot but how much can be won on future rounds of betting.

In the final hand of the 1980 no-limit hold 'em championship at Binion's Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas , a classic example of such a situation happened so. A two-time world champion, Doyle Brunson had $232,500 in front of him, and his rival, Stu Ungar, a poker expert from New York's lower East Side had $497,500. (These exorbitant amount resulted from 73 players buying into championship tournament for $10000 apiece.)

Brunson held an ace, 7, and Ungar, the 4 and 5 of spades in the final hand. Before the flop, $30000 went into the pot, and the cards came ace 2, 7. Ungar checked, but looking at aces and 7s, Brunson bet $17000, a bet intended to tempt Ungar in.

Ungar exclaimed that I wouldn't have called too much more than that for a gut shot. ( in poker, gut shot is a draw to an inside straight.) But if Doyle has a hand, it's worth $17000 because if I catch a 3, I'm going to bust him.

Ungar's call was rigidly in terms of the implied odds he was getting. He did not think of $47000 in the pot at that time, which gave him less than 3-to-1 odds but rather for Brunson's entire $232,500 stake. With $15000 of his own money in the pot, Ungar's implied odds were about 14 ½ -to-1, and with four 3s among the 47 unseen cards, the odds against to make the straight on the next card were 10 ¾ -to-1. Therefore, he calls.

No need to say that a 3 fell on fourth street . Ungar bet $40000. After some time, Brunson moved all-in with the remainder of his chips. As Ungar had nuts at that moment (Brunson's only outs were an ace or a 7 on the last card to make a full house) he called joyfully and won the world championship.

In Gardena , California , at the poker seminar, the next year, given by myself, Brunson and draw poker champion Mike Caro, Brunson admitted that he played wrongly in betting $17000 on the flop. He told that rather than giving Ungar the chance for making a perfect card, he should have bet more than Ungar would have been able to call, when he had an inside-straight draw- in other words too much to deserve a call even in terms of implied odds.

When you calculate in terms of implied odds, you must forecast how much money you can win if you do make your hand. This forecast can rely on three reasons.

1. The size of future bets.

2. How concealed your hands is.

3. The capability of your rivals.

Reasons to determine implied odds

Quite obvious, the greater the size of initial bets, the higher your implied odds and many reasons for you to call with a hand that might improve to the nuts. Even the other two factors are significant too. Adding the probability of future bets to the present pot to get your implied odds, you should consider whether the strength of your hand is concealed. When the cards that help are real, you cannot desire to get as much money out of your hand if you make it, as your rival may not call when you bet.

At the time of close decision, you should call a bet against weaker rival more eagerly than against rigid ones. You can assume that you are getting higher implied odds from a weak poker player, who seems to call your bet or raise when you make your hand than from a rigid player, who might fold his hand and not pay you off.

Couples of word to be keep in mind. Implied odds really cannot apply when either you or your rival is already all-in or almost all-in. Second, implied odds have little meaning when there is a fair chance that you make your hand but wind up second best. If you think to take a short sum from the pot with an expectation of winning future bets, you should be extremely sure that your hand would hold up when you make it.

Reverse implied odds

Implied odds justify situations when your odds are good than as they look like. There are many times when you must have to make out that your odds are not good, as they seem to be. Such situations may arise when you have an average hand with a little chance of improving, for you think is the best hand at the time, but your rival keeps on betting. You may think he is bluffing and you can beat only a bluff - that means, a hand that is weaker than what your rival is denoting. Although, as your rival controls the betting, he will possibly retreat on later rounds if he doesn't have you beat. Therefore, you can win the minimum if you have the best hand but you can lose the maximum if you have the worst hand. In such situation, the real pot odds are much worse than they appear and hence we call them reverse implied odds.

For example, your rival bets $20 with $50 in the pot. You think that you have him beat, but you are not so sure. You even have a little chance to improve. You may not say that I'm getting 70-to-20 odds here, because your rival may bet again on next round if he has a better hand than yours- or if his hand improves to be a better hand- but he will give up if he has more worse hand as compared to yours. You are in a position where if you tend to lose, you will lose not only $20 that you call right now, but a total of $60. On the other hand, if you win, you will possibly win only $70 in the pot because if your rival once sees that you are entrusted to the pot, he will not bet more with the worst hand. Instantly, you will not get 70-to-20 odds but you will get near to 70-to-60.

Usually, reverse implied odds of 70-to-60 indicate the worst case of such circumstances, as they are in practice. For example, if you are sure your rival will not bet again without a good hand, then you should fold if he does bet again. So to win $70, you have risked only $20 and not $60. On the contrary, if you think there is some chance that your rival can bet once or twice without the best reading hand, then when you continue to call, you take a risk with $40 to win $90 or with $60 to win $110, depending on how many times he bets. You risk $60 to win $70 only when you call to the end if your rival bets, although you assume you have a little chance of winning if he continues to bet.


In total, reverse implied odds explain situations in which:

You are not sure where you are at.

You have little chance of improving to beat the hand your rival may make or have already made.

A call entrusts you to call future bets all the way to the end.

Your rival can retreat any time.

In such situation, you should not think that you are getting odds as per what's in the pot and what you have to call right now. You can get much worse odds- so worse that it is obvious to give your hand away immediately rather than to get entrusted. Such a thing can happen in hold 'em if you hold

and the flop comes

The same situation can happen in seven-card stud if you hold two black aces and your rival with three hearts on board comes out betting on fifth street .

Implied odds support on the possibility of winning more money in further rounds of betting whereas reverse implied odds supports on the possibility of losing more money in further rounds of betting. In other words when you get implied odds, you are happy you're not all-in, for you desire to make money on future bets if your free card hits. But, when you get reverse implied odds you wish you were all-in so that you can see the hand to the end without been called for future bets.