Understanding Implied Odds in Poker
Calculating regular pot odds only takes into consideration the money in the pot. Implied odds takes it one step further taking into consideration the money / chips you could win from future bets if you are to make your hand. From our Outs & Odds section we learned that our odds of hitting our flush draw after the turn card is 4:1 (meaning 4 times we miss our flush and 1 time we will hit our flush). In our example our opponent bet $20 with $40 already in the pot making it a $60 pot. We needed to call $20 to win $60 which gives us 3:1 on our money. Since our odds of hitting the flush are 4:1 we concluded we should fold (assuming our opponent was all-in). But what if your opponent has an additional $80 in his stack. If we call the bet and hit our flush there is a good chance that we will win even more money. If we imply our opponent will at least call a bet of say $40, well now we are getting 5:1 on our money. Originally it was $20 to call the bet to win $60 plus we figure to win another $40 on the river for a total win of $100. Therefore we are getting 5:1 ($20 to win $100) and should make the call.
How do you know if your opponent will call future bets?
And how much will they call?
Well you have to be a skilled poker player to do this. You have to be able to put your opponent on a hand. If you have a good idea what your opponent is holding you will also have a good idea if he will be willing to call future bets after you have made your hand. Also, you have to be able to tell what type of player your opponent is. Are they tight and less likely to call a bet on the river. Are they a novice or maniac and will most likely call a bet or maybe even bet or raise themselves.
One of the biggest mistakes players make is "over implying" their pot odds. They just automatically assume that if they hit their hand they will get paid off. For example, If there are three clubs on the board and you are drawing to the
nut flush with your Ace of clubs, can you assume you will get paid off if you hit your flush? In a lot of cases you will not get paid anything if you are to hit your flush. With four clubs on the board your opponent is not going to commit many chips unless he has the K or Q of clubs himself which is not going to be that often. In this scenario your implied odds are next to nothing. It is very important you consider the "obviousness" of your hand. With 4 clubs on the board your flush is obvious and your implied odds are low. If you are holding 10,8 and the board reads 2,7,9,A meaning you need a J or 6 to make your straight your hand is much less obvious and your implied odds are a lot higher.
Advice: Don't use implied odds as an excuse for making bad calls!