Aug 3 2010

The Importance of Implied Odds in NLHE

written by: John under Poker Strategy Comments: Comments Off

Implied odds are incredibly important in Texas Hold ‘em. Since the most common form of Hold ‘em is No Limit, there is typically a lot of action in any given game. In Limit poker players make small bets and face small raises, but No Limit poker is quite the opposite. There has always been a lot of talk amongst poker players in regards to any types of odds. For example, things like “getting the right odds” and “being pot committed” are all phrases that were born from analyzing the odds in poker.

Most of the time, however, implied odds are more important than your actual odds. The odds in a hand of poker are usually the most valuable when critiquing or watching a hand after the fact. When you are in the middle of a hand, the odds themselves are largely irrelevant. Yes, you do need to be considering general odds at all times, but this will only get you so far.

Implied odds are considered when looking at the entirety of a hand and the stack sizes involved. Set mining is a NLHE tactic that relies heavily on the ability to accurately assess implied odds in poker. Implied odds tell a player whether or not a certain move makes sense given the amount of money (or chips) that can possibly be won. For example, if a player re-raises pre-flop to $28 in a $1/$2 NLHE cash game, the first thing you should look at is their stack size. If they have $200, it doesn’t leave much wiggle room with “speculative” type hands. If they are working with $600, however, calling with small suited connectors or pocket pairs makes a lot more sense. Of course, you would need a stack to match, otherwise all of this information is completely useless. The hand that you are playing is probably mediocre at worst, considering that we made the open raise, so the only thing to determine now is whether it can potentially get paid off.

Calculating Implied Odds

Using the example above, let’s pretend that we were three bet to $28 (from a $10 open) at $1/$2 and are holding 55. Now, 55 is hardly a super strong hand, but it has a lot of potential. If we flop a set there is a legitimate chance that we would win a big pot. Keeping this in mind, we check out the stack sizes. We have $580 and our opponent has $600. For all intents and purposes, we are playing for $580 stacks. So, we need to call $18 more with the potential to earn $580. The other players are out of the hand and we are last to act. With $18 going into $580, if we won a full stack more than 1:30 times, making a call would be profitable. This is how you go about determining implied odds. If you are holding AT here, you probably wouldn’t stack a three bettor greater than 1:30 times, so this might be a fold. With 55 though, this should be a call almost all of the time (depending on your opponent). Take implied odds with you to the table and you won’t be nearly as lost when it comes to tough pre flop (or post flop) decisions.

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