You have to be a 3 dimensional poker player if you want to be successful. Like the game of chess, you not only think of what is happening right now, but you also have to think about what could happen in the future. That’s where the term “implied odds” comes into play. When you get into a hand you not only have to think about your pot odds, which is how much money is in the pot compared to how much money you are putting in the pot, but you have think about implied odds as well. Implied odds is how much money you may be able to win in future bets in the hand.
One of the most important hands when thinking about implied odds is the flush draw. Let’s say you catch your flush draw on the turn. Your chances of actually are getting the flush are somewhat close to 4-1 odds. That means that you have to be getting AT LEAST 4-1 on your money – so if you put in $10 there has to be at least 40 in the pot, but if you think about your implied odds, which is how much money you think you can squeeze out of your opponent if you catch the flush on the river then you may want to do it if your are only getting 3-1 on your money or in the very rare case 2-1 on your money.
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However implied odds can get you into a lot of trouble and are usually the base of an excuse of somebody’s losing hand. The problem with implied odds is that people begin to kid themselves into thinking they will be able to win much more from somebody than they actually can.
You really have to ask yourself the question if the person you are calculating implied odds with is really going to call you if you throw a big bet out there. This happens all the time because the problem with implied odds is that it is usually an estimate. Let’s look at the flush draw on the turn scenario again.
Say you are holding the Queen of Hearts and 8 of Hearts and of the four cards showing, two are hearts, one of them being an Ace on the Flop and you are only in with one other player. You now have a 4-1 chance that you are going to hit your flush on the river. The pot has $25 in it and your opponent bets $25 on the turn and has about $50 left.
This is a likely scenario at your local casino, especially if your opponent is trying to protect the Ace that he is representing. Should you call? You’re only getting 2-1 pot odds and your implied odds of POSSIBLY squeezing out your opponents remaining $50 are not to likely either. You could make a stab at by check-raising, but then your opponent probably will go all in.
You are better off to fold a hand like this because playing poker like this will make you a losing poker player in the long run. Pot odds and implied odds are two very important aspects of the game of poker.
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