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Short Stack Strategy: Implied Pot Odds
IntroductionIn this article
- Implied odds are improved pot odds
- Everything is dependent on how much your opponent is prepared to pay
In the previous article about outs, odds and pot odds, you learned the fundamental mathematical method of determining whether you can play your draws profitably or not. You count the cards which improve your hand (the outs), determine the probability of one of those cards being dealt (the odds), and finally compare them with the pot odds (the relationship between the possible profit and the bet which has to be called).
But there is still more. Pot odds only take the current pot into account, even though other opponents will frequently invest more money in the pot if you complete your draw. The calculation of the pot odds doesn't include this additional profit.
The implied odds come into play here. Implied odds are a variation of the pot odds. They not only take the current pot into account, but also the potential money that any of your opponents might invest in the hand on the following streets. However, implied odds aren't simply about mathematics; they involve some speculation as well. You have to make an assumption about how much more your opponent is willing to pay if you do complete your draw.
You'll learn what you have to look out for when estimating their willingness to pay.
What are Implied Pot Odds?As mentioned above, implied pot odds or 'implied odds' are modified pot odds which take into account that your opponent will often bet if you do complete your draw.
Assume you have a flushdraw in a freeplay and the pot is at $0.40. One opponent bets $0.20, so the pot is now $0.60 and you have to pay another $0.20 to see the turn card. The pot odds are $0.60:$0.20 or 3:1. The odds for your draw are at 4:1, which means that you would have to fold.
What happens if you hit your flush on the turn? How much would your opponent have to pay for it to be correct to continue playing? It's simple! As you have 4:1 odds, you need at least 4:1 pot odds.
You have to pay $0.20 so we multiply this by 4, $0.20 x 4 = $0.80. The pot would have to be $0.80 if you only consider the pot odds. However, the pot is only $0.60 ($0.20 less than the amount it should be). This is the exact amount that your opponent would have to pay on the turn, if you hit your flush.
Is this realistic? It heavily depends on the specific situation and on your opponents' activity These factors and how high your pot odds are, will be discussed in the next section.
What influences Implied Pot Odds?
In comparison to the pot odds, the implied odds are based on estimating how much money your opponents are prepared to invest into the hand in subsequent rounds.
The most important factors influencing the pot odds are:
- How loose is your opponent?
Loose means that a player likes to see a showdown and rarely folds his hand. The less a player folds, the looser he is and the higher your implied pot odds are.
There is also the question of how loose a player is before the flop. If a player raises many hands before the flop, the probability of him hitting a good hand on the flop is lower. The implied odds will therefore also be lower, unless he is a maniac who likes to make big bluffs on the flop.
- How much strength does your opponent show?
The stronger the opponent's hand, the tougher it will be for him to fold. This also means that your implied odds are higher.
- How obvious is your hand?
The more obvious your hand, the lower your implied pot odds. For example, a flushdraw or a made flush are relatively obvious. On the other hand, a double gutshot is not that obvious. A hand being obvious doesn't only mean that the board cards give your hand away, it also refers to how you play the hand.
Say the flop shows two cards of the same suit . If you check and call a bet and only take action if the turn shows your third flushcard, your hand becomes obvious to many opponents.
- Does your position favour you over your opponent?
It is easier to extract more money from your opponents if you have an advantageous position over them, in other words, if you act after your opponent in every betting round. In this way, your implied pot odds are better.
- Are you on the flop or the turn?
Your implied pot odds for the next community card are, as a rule, higher on the flop than on the turn. This is because you have two more betting rounds to get your opponent to invest, instead of just one.
- How big are the stacks involved in the hand?
It is logical: the more money the players involved have, the more money you could win.
No-Limit Hold'em is a game of implied pot odds simply because the bets aren't restricted. As bets increase with every betting round, you get more money in the pot in later rounds than in earlier ones.
To conclude we can say that:
- the more strength your opponent shows
- the less obvious your hand is
- the harder it is for your opponent to fold his hand
... the higher your implied pot odds. Furthermore, they are higher on the flop than on the turn and even higher if you have a position of vantage over your opponent.
Nevertheless, it has to be highlighted that you should not overestimate your implied odds. Be careful with assumptions about how much money you can extract from your opponents in future betting rounds.
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