# Implied Odds vs. Reverse Implied Odds vs. Pot Odds in Poker (Explained)

One of the key concepts that separates successful poker players from the rest is their understanding of odds.

While many players are familiar with basic odds calculations, such as pot odds and outs, there are two more advanced concepts that can greatly impact decision-making at the poker table:

• implied odds
• reverse implied odds

Implied odds in poker refer to the estimated potential earnings a player can expect to receive if they hit one of their outs, considering the bets that will be made in future betting rounds.

In contrast, reverse implied odds represent the potential losses a player might incur in the same scenario, accounting for the times they complete their hand but still lose to an opponent with a stronger hand.

(Pot odds are the ratio of the amount of money currently in the pot to the cost of a potential call, used to determine the expected value of making a particular betting decision in poker.)

Explained more simply:

Implied odds in poker are the expected future earnings a player might gain from current bets.

Reverse implied odds are the potential future losses a player might suffer even after getting a favorable hand, due to opponents having stronger hands.

Pot odds are the comparison between the money in the pot and the amount you need to bet to stay in the game.

In the following, we look in more detail at implied odds vs. reverse implied odds.

We’ll also compare it to pot odds later on.

## Understanding Implied Odds

Implied odds refer to the potential future bets you can win if you hit your hand.

Unlike pot odds, which only consider the current size of the pot, implied odds take into account the additional chips you can win from your opponents in later betting rounds.

Let’s consider an example to illustrate this concept.

You are playing No-Limit Texas Hold’em and hold the 8♠️ 9♠️ in the small blind.

The flop comes 7♠️ 6♠️ 2♥️, giving you an open-ended straight flush draw.

Your opponent, who is in the big blind, bets half the pot.

The pot currently contains 100 chips, and your opponent’s bet is 50 chips.

Based on the pot odds alone, you would need at least a 33% chance of hitting your hand to make a profitable call.

However, if you believe that your opponent has a strong hand and will continue betting on future streets, you can factor in the potential additional chips you can win.

If you estimate that you can win an additional 200 chips from your opponent if you hit your hand, your implied odds increase significantly.

Calculating implied odds precisely is challenging since it requires predicting your opponents’ future actions accurately.

However, experienced players develop a sense for estimating these potential winnings based on their opponents’ tendencies and the dynamics of the game.

## Calculating Implied Odds

While pot odds focus on the current size of the pot, implied odds take into account the potential future bets that can be won if a drawing hand is completed.

Implied odds consider the additional chips that can be won from your opponents if you hit your hand and they continue to bet.

Calculating implied odds can be more complex than calculating pot odds because it requires estimating the potential future bets.

It involves considering the likelihood of your opponent continuing to bet and the potential size of those future bets.

Let’s consider an example to understand implied odds better.

Suppose you have a flush draw with two cards to come, and the pot is currently \$100.

Your opponent bets \$20, and you estimate that if you hit your flush, your opponent will likely call a bet of \$50 on the next street.

In this case, your implied odds would be calculated as follows:

• Implied odds = (Potential future bets + Current pot size) / Current pot size
• Implied odds = (\$50 + \$100) / \$100
• Implied odds = 1.5:1

In this scenario, even though the pot odds may not justify a call, the potential future bets make it profitable to continue in the hand.

If the odds of completing your flush are better than 1.5:1, it would be a profitable decision to call.

## Using Implied Odds and Pot Odds Together

Both implied odds and pot odds are valuable tools for poker players, but they should not be used in isolation.

The best decisions are made when players consider both concepts together.

When the pot odds are favorable, it is generally a good idea to make the call.

However, when the pot odds are not favorable, but the implied odds are, it may still be profitable to continue in the hand.

By considering both factors, players can make more informed decisions and maximize their potential winnings.

## Examples of Implied Odds vs. Pot Odds

Let’s consider a few examples to illustrate the difference between implied odds and pot odds:

### Example 1:

The pot is \$100, and your opponent bets \$20.

You have a flush draw with two cards to come.

The odds of completing your flush are 4:1.

The pot odds are 6:1.

In this case, both the pot odds and implied odds are favorable, making it a profitable decision to call.

### Example 2:

The pot is \$100, and your opponent bets \$20.

You have an open-ended straight draw with two cards to come.

The odds of completing your straight are 5:1.

The pot odds are 6:1.

However, you estimate that if you hit your straight, your opponent will likely fold to a bet.

In this case, the pot odds are favorable, but the implied odds are not. It would be a better decision to fold.

### Example 3:

The pot is \$100, and your opponent bets \$20.

You have a flush draw with two cards to come.

The odds of completing your flush are 4:1.

The pot odds are 10:1.

However, you estimate that if you hit your flush, your opponent will likely call a bet of \$100 on the next street.

In this case, the pot odds may not be favorable, but the implied odds are. It would be a profitable decision to call.

## Reverse Implied Odds: The Hidden Danger

While implied odds can be a powerful tool for making profitable decisions, it’s essential to understand the concept of reverse implied odds.

Reverse implied odds refer to the potential future bets you may lose if you hit your hand but still have the second-best hand.

Let’s revisit the previous example.

Suppose you hit your straight flush on the turn, completing the 10♠️.

However, your opponent, who initially bet half the pot on the flop, now shoves all-in. In this scenario, it’s likely that your opponent has a higher straight flush or a full house, which means you have the second-best hand.

If you call and lose, you not only lose the chips you invested but also the potential additional chips you could have won if you had folded.

Reverse implied odds can be particularly dangerous when playing speculative hands or drawing to a non-nut hand.

It’s crucial to consider the likelihood of your hand being dominated by a stronger hand and weigh the potential losses against the potential gains.

## Strategies for Maximizing Implied Odds

Now that we understand the concepts of implied odds and reverse implied odds, let’s explore some strategies for maximizing your chances of profiting from implied odds:

### 1. Play in position

Understanding your opponents’ tendencies and playing styles is crucial for estimating your implied odds accurately.

If you’re playing against tight players who only bet when they have strong hands, your implied odds may be lower compared to playing against loose-aggressive opponents.

### 3. Consider stack sizes

If you have a small stack, your implied odds may be limited since you won’t have enough chips to extract from your opponents.

Conversely, if you have a large stack, you can put more pressure on your opponents and potentially win larger pots.

### 4. Be selective with your starting hands

Choosing hands with high implied odds potential can increase your chances of profiting in the long run.

Hands like suited connectors or small pocket pairs have the potential to make strong hands that can win big pots.

### 5. Continuation betting

When you have a strong hand, consider making a continuation bet on the flop to build the pot and increase your implied odds.

This strategy can also help disguise the strength of your hand and potentially induce your opponents to make mistakes.

## Understanding Pot Odds

Pot odds are a fundamental concept in poker that help players determine whether a particular bet is profitable in the long run.

Pot odds are the ratio of the current size of the pot to the cost of a contemplated call.

By comparing the pot odds to the odds of completing a drawing hand, players can make mathematically sound decisions.

For example, let’s say the pot contains \$100 and your opponent bets \$20.

The pot odds would be calculated as follows:

• Pot odds = (Pot size + Opponent’s bet) / Opponent’s bet
• Pot odds = (\$100 + \$20) / \$20
• Pot odds = 6:1

In this scenario, you would need to win the hand at least one out of every seven times to break even.

If the odds of completing your drawing hand are better than 6:1, it would be profitable to make the call.

## Implied Odds vs. Reverse Implied Odds vs. Pot Odds

Here’s a simple explanation of these terms, which are commonly used in poker:

### Implied Odds

Implied Odds refer to the expected odds of a particular outcome happening, taking into consideration the potential future betting rounds.

It is a calculation that considers not only the current pot and bet sizes but also the expected size of the pot on future betting rounds.

It helps you decide whether to call a bet based on the potential earnings in future rounds.

#### Example

Imagine you have a hand that has a low chance of winning at the moment, but if a specific card comes on the turn or river, your hand could be very strong.

You would calculate the implied odds to decide if it’s worth calling a bet now in anticipation of winning a larger pot in the future.

### Reverse Implied Odds

Reverse Implied Odds are the opposite of implied odds. It considers the amount you stand to lose in future betting rounds if you complete your drawing hand but still lose to a better hand.

It’s a measure of the potential loss in future rounds, and it helps you decide whether it’s worth continuing with a hand that might end up being second-best.

#### Example

You might have a decent hand now, but if a specific card comes that completes a potential flush or straight for your opponent, you could lose a big pot.

You would calculate the reverse implied odds to decide if it’s worth folding now to avoid potential losses in the future.

### Pot Odds

Pot Odds are a bit simpler and are calculated based on the current state of the game.

It is the ratio of the amount of money in the pot to the amount you need to call to stay in the hand.

It helps you decide whether or not to call a bet based on the current size of the pot and the cost to call.

#### Example

If there is \$100 in the pot and it costs \$10 to call, your pot odds are 10:1.

You would compare this to the odds of you winning the hand to decide whether or not to call.

## How Do Pro Poker Players Combine and Assess All 3 Together?

Professional poker players combine implied odds, reverse implied odds, and pot odds to make informed decisions during a game.

Here’s a simplified explanation of how they might do this:

### Step 1: Assess the Current Situation (Pot Odds)

First, they calculate the pot odds to understand the immediate value of making a call.

They compare the size of the pot to the size of the bet they need to call.

### Step 2: Consider Future Rounds (Implied Odds)

Next, they think about the implied odds, which involve estimating how the size of the pot might grow in future rounds and how likely they are to win the larger pot.

This step requires considering the tendencies of their opponents, the community cards, and the potential strength of their hand at showdown.

### Step 3: Evaluate Potential Losses (Reverse Implied Odds)

Simultaneously, they also consider the reverse implied odds, which involve estimating the potential losses in future rounds if they hit their hand but still lose to a better hand.

This step requires a deep understanding of the potential hands their opponents might have and the likelihood of those hands beating theirs.

### Step 4: Make a Decision

After considering all these factors, they make a decision that maximizes their expected value.

This decision might be to fold, call, or raise, depending on which action they believe will result in the highest long-term profit.

### Step 5: Adjust Strategy Based on Opponents

Professional players also adjust their strategy based on their opponents’ tendencies.

If an opponent tends to bet aggressively, they might adjust their implied odds calculations to account for larger future pots.

If an opponent tends to fold to bets frequently, they might adjust their reverse implied odds calculations to account for smaller potential losses.

### Step 6: Continuous Learning

Lastly, professional players continually learn and adapt.

They analyze their decisions after the game to improve their understanding and refine their strategies for future games.

By combining all these aspects, pro poker players can make more informed decisions that help them win more in the long run. It’s a complex process that involves a deep understanding of the game and strong analytical skills.

## Q&A – Implied Odds vs. Reverse Implied Odds

### 1. What are implied odds in poker?

Implied odds refer to the potential future bets you can win if you hit your hand.

They take into account the additional chips you can win from your opponents in later betting rounds.

This is why betting flush draws after the flop is so popular even if they haven’t actually made a hand yet.

### 2. How do implied odds differ from pot odds?

Pot odds only consider the current size of the pot, while implied odds take into account the potential additional chips you can win in future betting rounds.

### 3. How can I calculate my implied odds accurately?

Calculating implied odds precisely is challenging since it requires predicting your opponents’ future actions accurately.

However, experienced players develop a sense for estimating these potential winnings based on their opponents’ tendencies and the dynamics of the game.

### 4. What are reverse implied odds?

Reverse implied odds refer to the potential future bets you may lose if you hit your hand but still have the second-best hand.

They represent the potential losses you could incur by calling and losing the hand.

### 5. How can I minimize the impact of reverse implied odds?

To minimize the impact of reverse implied odds, it’s crucial to consider the likelihood of your hand being dominated by a stronger hand and weigh the potential losses against the potential gains.

Being selective with your starting hands and assessing your opponents’ tendencies can help mitigate the risks.

### 6. Is it always profitable to play for implied odds?

No, playing for implied odds is not always profitable.

It depends on various factors, including the strength of your hand, the likelihood of hitting your hand, the potential additional chips you can win, and the potential losses from reverse implied odds.

It’s essential to make informed decisions based on these factors.

### 8. Can implied odds be used in all poker variants?

Yes, implied odds can be used in all poker variants where there is a betting structure that allows for potential future bets.

However, the specific dynamics and strategies may vary depending on the variant.

### 9. Are implied odds more relevant in cash games or tournaments?

Implied odds are relevant in both cash games and tournaments.

However, they may have a more significant impact in cash games where the chip stacks are deeper, allowing for larger potential winnings.

### 10. How can I improve my ability to estimate implied odds?

Improving your ability to estimate implied odds comes with experience and practice.

Paying attention to your opponents’ tendencies, studying hand histories, and analyzing your own decision-making can help you develop a better sense of estimating potential winnings.

### 11. Can implied odds be used as a standalone strategy?

No, implied odds should not be used as a standalone strategy.

They are just one aspect of a comprehensive poker strategy that also considers factors such as pot odds, position, hand strength, and opponent analysis.

### 12. Are implied odds more important in no-limit or limit poker?

Implied odds can be important in both no-limit and limit poker.

However, they may have a more significant impact in no-limit games where the betting is unrestricted, allowing for larger potential winnings.

### 13. Can implied odds be applied to online poker?

Yes, implied odds can be applied to online poker just like in live games.

However, it may be more challenging to gather information about your opponents’ tendencies in online poker since you cannot observe physical tells.

### 14. How do implied odds affect bluffing strategies?

Implied odds can impact bluffing strategies by influencing the size of bets and the likelihood of opponents folding.

If your opponents have high implied odds, they may be more inclined to call larger bets, making bluffing less effective.

### 15. Can implied odds be used to justify playing speculative hands?

Implied odds can be used to justify playing speculative hands with the potential for high payouts.

However, it’s crucial to assess the risks of reverse implied odds and consider the likelihood of your hand being dominated by a stronger hand.

### 16. How are implied odds different from pot odds?

While pot odds focus on the current size of the pot, implied odds consider the potential future bets that can be won if a drawing hand is completed.

Pot odds are calculated based on the current pot size, while implied odds require estimating the potential future bets.

### 17. How do you calculate pot odds?

Pot odds are calculated by dividing the current size of the pot (including the opponent’s bet) by the cost of a contemplated call.

The resulting ratio represents the pot odds.

### 18. When should I consider using implied odds?

Implied odds should be considered when the pot odds may not justify a call, but there is a high likelihood of winning additional chips from opponents if a drawing hand is completed.

### 19. Can implied odds be negative?

Yes, implied odds can be negative.

If the potential future bets are not significant enough to justify continuing in a hand, the implied odds may be negative, and it would be better to fold.

### 20. Should I always rely on pot odds or implied odds?

No, it is best to consider both pot odds and implied odds together when making decisions in poker.

### 21. Are implied odds more important than pot odds?

Neither implied odds nor pot odds are inherently more important than the other.

Both concepts have their significance in different situations.

It is critical to understand and utilize both concepts, as well as reverse implied odds, to make optimal decisions in poker.

### 22. Can implied odds be calculated precisely?

No, calculating implied odds involves estimating the potential future bets and the likelihood of opponents continuing to bet.

It is not an exact science and requires experience and observation at the poker table.

### 23. How can I improve my understanding of implied odds and pot odds?

To improve your understanding of implied odds and pot odds, it is recommended to study poker strategy books, watch instructional videos, and practice playing poker regularly.

Additionally, analyzing hand histories and discussing hands with other experienced players can provide insights.

### 24. Can implied odds be used in all poker variants?

Yes, implied odds can be used in all poker variants where players have the opportunity to make drawing hands.

Whether you are playing Texas Hold’em, Omaha, or any other variant, understanding and utilizing implied odds can give you an edge at the poker table.

### 25. Are implied odds more relevant in cash games or tournaments?

Implied odds are relevant in both cash games and tournaments.

However, they may be more significant in cash games where the stack sizes are deeper, and players have more room to maneuver and potentially win larger pots.

### 26. Can implied odds be used as a standalone strategy?

No, implied odds should not be used as a standalone strategy.

They are just one aspect of a comprehensive poker strategy.

It is essential to consider other factors such as position, table dynamics, and opponent tendencies when making decisions at the poker table.

### 27. Can implied odds be applied in online poker?

Yes, implied odds can be applied in online poker just as they can be in live poker.

While you may not have the same physical tells and observations as in live poker, you can still estimate potential future bets based on your opponents’ betting patterns and tendencies.

### 28. How can I practice applying implied odds and pot odds?

You can practice applying implied odds and pot odds by playing poker online or participating in home games with friends.

Additionally, there are various poker training websites and software that offer simulations and practice scenarios to improve your decision-making skills.

## Summary

Understanding implied odds and reverse implied odds is crucial for making profitable decisions in poker.

While implied odds consider the potential future bets you can win if you hit your hand, reverse implied odds highlight the potential losses if you hit your hand but still have the second-best hand.

By incorporating these concepts into your decision-making process, you can maximize your chances of profiting from favorable situations and minimize the risks of unfavorable outcomes.

Remember to assess your opponents, consider stack sizes, and be selective with your starting hands to make the most of implied odds in your poker game.

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