# Implied odds and pot odds weirdness

• Bronze
Joined: 15.05.2009
Something has been bothering me about both types of odds for a while. It is probably due to a misunderstanding on my part. It is funny because a chapter in "The Poker Blueprint" was entitled "math is easy". Well, it is not for me! I've read articles on PS about odds and I've read "The Poker Blueprint" so I don't know if I just understand the concepts wrong or if there really is a weird underpinning to the concept of implied odds.

Here's my issue... I will explain in my own words (translation - REALLY SIMPLE) what I understand pot odds and implied odds to be and then I will explain the problem.

Let's say you have an ace high flush draw + an open ended straight draw... The villain bets 1/4 pot...

* Pot odds - You can call because the chances that you will hit your hand is roughtly 1/3. *

Let's say you have an ace high flush draw + an open ended straight draw... You bet 1/3 pot. The villian raises 2/3 more to a pot...

* Implied odds - You can call because you will stack the villian if your hand hits so even though the pot odds are not there, if the villian has like 70-90BB you are getting great odds to stack him regardless of the pot odds. Implied odds are about the chances of stacking someone whereas pot odds are about winning that particular pot at that particular time *

My issue...

Does it not seem that implied odds is just an excuse to gamble? Does it not seem like a gamblers justification? Hey, the pot odds are not in my favour but I REALLY want to see if I hit... Hey, implied odds! Great, I have a justification for my gamble.

It may be apparent that I got stacked a few minutes ago by this concept.

One major leak I have is that I cannot walk away from an ace high flush draw. When I find myself saying to myself, "Hey, there's always implied odds", I feel like a little devil is sitting on my shoulder telling me to chase.

Implied odds = Excuse to gamble?
• 15 replies
• Bronze
Joined: 28.07.2010
Originally posted by hackbinder
Something has been bothering me about both types of odds for a while. It is probably due to a misunderstanding on my part. It is funny because a chapter in "The Poker Blueprint" was entitled "math is easy". Well, it is not for me! I've read articles on PS about odds and I've read "The Poker Blueprint" so I don't know if I just understand the concepts wrong or if there really is a weird underpinning to the concept of implied odds.

Here's my issue... I will explain in my own words (translation - REALLY SIMPLE) what I understand pot odds and implied odds to be and then I will explain the problem.

Let's say you have an ace high flush draw + an open ended straight draw... The villain bets 1/4 pot...

* Pot odds - You can call because the chances that you will hit your hand is roughtly 1/3. *

Let's say you have an ace high flush draw + an open ended straight draw... You bet 1/3 pot. The villian raises 2/3 more to a pot...

* Implied odds - You can call because you will stack the villian if your hand hits so even though the pot odds are not there, if the villian has like 70-90BB you are getting great odds to stack him regardless of the pot odds. Implied odds are about the chances of stacking someone whereas pot odds are about winning that particular pot at that particular time *

My issue...

Does it not seem that implied odds is just an excuse to gamble? Does it not seem like a gamblers justification? Hey, the pot odds are not in my favour but I REALLY want to see if I hit... Hey, implied odds! Great, I have a justification for my gamble.

It may be apparent that I got stacked a few minutes ago by this concept.

One major leak I have is that I cannot walk away from an ace high flush draw. When I find myself saying to myself, "Hey, there's always implied odds", I feel like a little devil is sitting on my shoulder telling me to chase.

Implied odds = Excuse to gamble?
I've also been reading up on the maths side of things, and as similar though has crossed my mind too.

The difference for me is that, particularly Sklansky's Theory of Poker book, I've seen the calculations they do. From what I remember, Sklansky shows how to calculate when to raise and when to fold using implied odds - obviously there are still a huge variables involved (villain's hand, how well your hand is disguised etc...), which is educational, but I don't know how people will have the time to do all this when playing.

Along with implied odds, I also struggle with Fold Equity. Is it maths or gut that you go with when thinking about this?!?!?
• Bronze
Joined: 04.12.2009
Originally posted by hackbinder
Implied odds = Excuse to gamble?
If you're "gambling" then the implied odds weren't there in the first place. It's not a gamble if you get paid > than the odds of you hitting in the longterm. I think the problem you might face is estimating correctly the chances of you getting paid off when you make your hand.

Originally posted by Helipacter
Along with implied odds, I also struggle with Fold Equity. Is it maths or gut that you go with when thinking about this?!?!?
I think it's a combination of the maths (theory) and experience--->gut (practice).
• Bronze
Joined: 11.11.2009
question what is gamble? if anything involving risk and returns is gamble, poker is gambling, let alone implied pot odds.
if gambling means taking uncalculated risk for certain returns, then implied pot odds is not exactly a gamble, because one takes risk that one expects to be +EV in future.
the only issue with implied pot odds that intertwines with gambling is the overestimation of implied pot odds! do you really think he will pay us off when we actually hit? we may think so, but in actual fact, this might be an overestimation. hence implied pot odds becomes an excuse to gamble since we never really get paid off when we hit and we lose \$\$ in the long run.
• Bronze
Joined: 15.05.2009
the only issue with implied pot odds that intertwines with gambling is the overestimation of implied pot odds! do you really think he will pay us off when we actually hit? we may think so, but in actual fact, this might be an overestimation. hence implied pot odds becomes an excuse to gamble since we never really get paid off when we hit and we lose \$\$ in the long run.

Very nicely said, sir!
• Bronze
Joined: 24.04.2009
Originally posted by hackbinder
the only issue with implied pot odds that intertwines with gambling is the overestimation of implied pot odds! do you really think he will pay us off when we actually hit? we may think so, but in actual fact, this might be an overestimation. hence implied pot odds becomes an excuse to gamble since we never really get paid off when we hit and we lose \$\$ in the long run.

Very nicely said, sir!
+1
• Global
Joined: 08.08.2008
the chance to hit a set on the flop is 1/11

in 100\$ game you raise to 4 and a super nit reraise to 13.

so now you are sure he is with AA and you know that he will get all the money in no matter what is the flop

you have to call 9 to see the flop. obviously u dont have the odds to call but 1/11 times when u hit your set you will win his whole stack 100\$. so 10 times u lose 9\$ (90) and once you win 100\$.

so is this excuse to gamble or u just fail at math?
• Bronze
Joined: 24.04.2009
Originally posted by silent21
the chance to hit a set on the flop is 1/11

in 100\$ game you raise to 4 and a super nit reraise to 13.

so now you are sure he is with AA and you know that he will get all the money in no matter what is the flop

you have to call 9 to see the flop. obviously u dont have the odds to call but 1/11 times when u hit your set you will win his whole stack 100\$. so 10 times u lose 9\$ (90) and once you win 100\$.

so is this excuse to gamble or u just fail at math?
excuse to gamble You can never be a 100% sure a person has AA/KK and you will get his whole stack regardless of the board. If the flop comes 3 hearts and he has none he'll prob not get it in. Also if you have TT and the flop comes 2-4-6 will you be able to lay it down against any bet? You'd have to be very disciplined to lay it down. Personally i don't think it's a good example of when you should play with implied odds.
• Global
Joined: 08.08.2008
Originally posted by Hahaownedlolz
Originally posted by silent21
the chance to hit a set on the flop is 1/11

in 100\$ game you raise to 4 and a super nit reraise to 13.

so now you are sure he is with AA and you know that he will get all the money in no matter what is the flop

you have to call 9 to see the flop. obviously u dont have the odds to call but 1/11 times when u hit your set you will win his whole stack 100\$. so 10 times u lose 9\$ (90) and once you win 100\$.

so is this excuse to gamble or u just fail at math?
excuse to gamble You can never be a 100% sure a person has AA/KK and you will get his whole stack regardless of the board. If the flop comes 3 hearts and he has none he'll prob not get it in. Also if you have TT and the flop comes 2-4-6 will you be able to lay it down against any bet? You'd have to be very disciplined to lay it down. Personally i don't think it's a good example of when you should play with implied odds.
r u really asking this? well if u are not able then dont play poker at all
• Bronze
Joined: 02.01.2009
how deep stacked you are and how likely villain is going to call has an enormous effect on how much profit you can potentially make from one hand.

As long as you can create a situation where villain is likely to incorrect call a large bet with a hand weaker than yours, you are likely to be making money from the decision.

I like to think of it inversely when I get confused sometimes.

example:

I dont understand how a hand can be profitable, but I am confident I know villains range of reasonable hands (excluding spazzy junk which we want him to call with anyway )

If he is making decisions which arent profitable, where do you think the money is going?
• Black
Joined: 21.01.2010
Originally posted by silent21
Originally posted by Hahaownedlolz
Originally posted by silent21
the chance to hit a set on the flop is 1/11

in 100\$ game you raise to 4 and a super nit reraise to 13.

so now you are sure he is with AA and you know that he will get all the money in no matter what is the flop

you have to call 9 to see the flop. obviously u dont have the odds to call but 1/11 times when u hit your set you will win his whole stack 100\$. so 10 times u lose 9\$ (90) and once you win 100\$.

so is this excuse to gamble or u just fail at math?
excuse to gamble You can never be a 100% sure a person has AA/KK and you will get his whole stack regardless of the board. If the flop comes 3 hearts and he has none he'll prob not get it in. Also if you have TT and the flop comes 2-4-6 will you be able to lay it down against any bet? You'd have to be very disciplined to lay it down. Personally i don't think it's a good example of when you should play with implied odds.
r u really asking this? well if u are not able then dont play poker at all
@silent21 Actually you hit your set 1:8.5 times not 1:11 times.

@Hahaownedlolz If you can't fold TT against a nit then you really shouldn't be playing poker. There are players that have very low 3-bet %% of under 2% even after 5k hands. That range is obviously mostly KK+ so if i open utg and get 3-bet by this type of opponent im willing to fold QQ on 223 board.

If you call for set value preflop that means that if you don't hit your set you fold, and don't do any fancy moves against a nit that can't fold an overpair.

@hackbinder However you look at it poker is still a gambling game. Even if you have AA and get it in preflop, your still gambling, but in that case you know the odds are in your favour.

Implied odds is a lot of guessing game. You have to estimate your implied odds depending on your opponent, his possible hand strength and your position. Your implied odds are always higher when your IP.

Example hand against a passive calling station.

Poker Stars \$25.00 No Limit Hold'em - 5 players - View hand 1024457
DeucesCracked Poker Videos Hand History Converter

CO: \$37.86
BTN: \$13.00
SB: \$42.39
Hero (BB): \$25.35
UTG: \$38.02

Pre Flop: (\$0.35) Hero is BB with K J
UTG raises to \$0.75, 3 folds, Hero calls \$0.50

Flop: (\$1.60) J 4 T (2 players)
Hero bets \$1.00, UTG raises to \$4, Hero calls \$3

Turn: (\$9.60) 2 (2 players)
Hero checks, UTG bets \$4.50, Hero calls \$4.50

River: (\$18.60) 7 (2 players)
Hero bets \$16.10, UTG calls \$16.10

Final Pot: \$50.80
Hero shows K J
UTG shows K K
Hero wins \$48.80
(Rake: \$2.00)

In this case i can't check it to calling station since he will check back to many times, but once you get raised against such a player that plays most of his hands passive and tends to call down top pair type hands you can pretty much assume he has something like 2 pair or better on that flop. So i call and hope to hit a turn, but since it doesn't happen he basically gives me a free card by betting 1/2 pot.

The problem is the river since it sucks to be out of position. You can't really check since when the flush hits his probably going to check behind. So i donk out shove and he snaps me with just KK lol.

What im trying to say is that if you know you opponent is a fish that can't even fold an over pair when the most obvious draw hits then in that case your implied odds are what ever he has in his stack. But against a better opponent your implied odds are lower, especially oop.

You also have to consider what type of draw you have. For the case you have a flush draw on the flop its pretty obvious when the flush gets there. In case you have a backdoor flush its a lot more hidden if you manage to hit your runner runner since its harder to put you on that.

Straits are also better for implied odds since its harder to see when your double gutter gets there. So for the case you have J10 on 89x board and a 7 hits your implied odds are lower then for the case you have 79 on 8TX board and you hit your 6 or J. But in this case you also have to consider your reverse implied odds for the case his barreling with a gutter like Q9 and J gives you the #2 best hand in which case your always gonna get stacked.

Its same with flush draws. In case your drawing to A high flush draw you know your drawing to the best hand, but if your calling with 45s to hit your flush, he could easily be barreling with Ahigh flush draw and stack you if you both hit your draw. Therefor its always better to draw with your nutflush draw then with lower ones for the case he is barreling with lower flushes and you stack them 100% since now one on low limits is able to fold a flush on non paired boards.

So when ever your calling for implied odds you always have to consider the player type, how discuised your hand is and if you have position, and if your drawing to the nuts or you maybe drawing dead with your flush draw on paired board.

Hope that helps
• Bronze
Joined: 15.05.2009
@matejm47

Does it ever!

Straight up big league with a great example!

• Global
Joined: 08.08.2008
dont educate the fish who doesnt even try to use google
• Bronze
Joined: 24.04.2009
@Hahaownedlolz If you can't fold TT against a nit then you really shouldn't be playing poker. There are players that have very low 3-bet %% of under 2% even after 5k hands. That range is obviously mostly KK+ so if i open utg and get 3-bet by this type of opponent im willing to fold QQ on 223 board.

If you call for set value preflop that means that if you don't hit your set you fold, and don't do any fancy moves against a nit that can't fold an overpair.

and @silent21

I'm talking about a realistic situation here. Not a textbook nit, how many of those are you actualy going to find? Also playing 5k hands against one player? lmao. Again.. i'm talking about a realistic situation.
The example showed you'd lose 10 times (even though your math was wrong) and win only once and even then you'd only make 10% more then if you would have folded. So you'd have to play thousands of hands against that player to even be in that situation so many times which just isn't realistic. And you'd have to be a 100% right he has that hand every time. It just isn't realistic and a bad example imo.

My question was more in general. When you think strongly someone has AA/KK (not only nits) will you be able to laydown TT on such a good flop every single time. That is a realistic situation. Cause if you call a bet even one of those times it's likely all that profit is gone.

@MatejM47 That's a good example of implied odds imo.
• Bronze
Joined: 23.06.2008
I only play nl10 but I know they don't have to be nits to have AA in that spot. A 26/3/1.6 guy will likely have AA/KK if they reraise to.
And if you strongly put them on that, then yes it's easy to fold TT JJ QQ on a 644 flop. I've folded KK in many such spots given just such reads. The easiest read is they can't wait to get the chips in and bet like nutters.
It's not hard, just sucks a bit. What sucks more is when they have 64o and you 3bet their raise with AA and the flop is 646. Sigh.
• Black
Joined: 21.01.2010
Well it is hard to get a 5k hands sample size on a player at micro's since regs move up and fish go broke, but once you move up the limits to NL50 and up you will get a bigger sample sizes on the regs.

Its really not that uncommon that in FR if you see a nitty player open utg and 4-bets you his range is mostly KK+ so QQ is easy preflop fold. And there are many players like that, especially at FR games. Its a lot harder to determine ranges in SH games, even tho you do find nitty player there as well, with 3-bet % of under 2%, even 500 hands sample size should be enough to determine his range. Many of those regs are 12 tabling or more so they play their game and don't adapt at to anything.

Obviously you can never be sure if he has KK+ in that spot, but at least you can do is give him a very strong range QQ+ and AK. The problem is for the case he has KK and the board comes Ahigh when you do flop a set you won't be stacking him either. You will also lose against overpair with your set 10% of the time, and sometimes he will flop a higher set as well in which case you get stacked.

On the other hand players at micro's can be really bad as you find players that can't even fold KK on A high board, some even go broke with AKhigh for some reason so i still think calling for set value is +EV at the micros where players are fishy enough.

But i do agree that you can hardly get that good of reads on players where player pool is so huge.