Implied Odds

[BB] Benny the Book resumed explaining to his son, “Pot odds are pretty straightforward, but here’s the tricky part; implied odds are when you take into account additional chips that you could win if you hit your draw. If you or your opponent is all-in, the implied odds are the same as the pot odds. But if you both have more chips, you need to factor that in. There’s no clearcut formula for implied odds, unfortunately. You need to take into account the playing style of your opponent and even how they view you. Some players will frequently pay you off, while others will be very suspicious every time a possible draw fills.”

[JJ] “Are you implying that I need to use my excellent judgment here?”, Joey the Juvenile offered.

[BB] “Yes on the ‘judgment’ part; not sure about the ‘excellent’ part. Let’s say it’s early in a tournament so both you and your opponent have deep stacks. You’re facing a half-pot turn bet with nothing but a flush draw. Should you call?”

[JJ] “Well, the flush draw is 9 outs, which is 9 * 2 + 1.5 = 19.5%”, Joey responded then thought for a bit. “The half-pot bet means 25%, so my pot odds aren’t good enough. I can call if my opponent will call a small bet on a flush river card though, since my odds are only off by a little.”-

[BB] “Right, so it matters quite a bit whether you have suited or unsuited hole cards. In the latter case, that river put four cards to a flush on the board, and it doesn’t take Albert Einstein to find that fold. In the former case, it’s easier to believe that you don’t have the flush. The same thing is true with straight draws. The obvious straights are just as obvious as 4-flushes. If the board has King-Queen-Jack-Ten, everyone’s going to worry that you have the Ace, or even the Nine, for the straight. But the less obvious straight draws can be very well disguised. If the board has Queen-Ten-Three-Two, and an Eight hits on the river, will your opponent think you have the Jack-Nine? Your implied odds are barely better than your pot odds for obvious draws and significantly better for less likely draws.”

[JJ] “I’m usually on an unlikely draw.”

[BB] “Two undercards isn’t considered to be a draw.”

[BB] “Anyway, before you go too crazy and stick around even more because of your implied odds, keep in mind a couple caveats. First, if you’re not drawing to the nuts, you can still be beat. A classic case is when you have a suited King. The flop puts two of your suit and an Ace of another suit on the board. Every once in a while, your opponent has the nut flush draw, and you’re practically drawing dead.”

[BB] “Second, if you hit your draw on the turn, your opponent may have redraws to beat you on the river. This commonly happens when you hit your straight or flush but your opponent has three of a kind. They then have ten outs on the river; any card that puts a pair on the board gives them the boat or four of a kind. Another case is when you hit a straight but your opponent has a flush draw. Then they have the usual nine outs to win.”

[BB] “Sufficiently warned?”

[JJ] “Sufficiently armed!”


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