How to Figure Implied Odds

What Are Implied Odds?
Pot odds are straight forward. You look at the odds you’re getting from the pot, you look at the odds you’ll make your hand and if the odds are good, you bet. If the odds are bad, you fold. Implied odds, however, muddle up the formula.

Consider the example we discussed in the article on pot odds.

  • You: AK of spades
  • Opponent: ??
  • Flop: T(s)-5(d)-2(s)

Remember that we were in a tough spot on the flop. Our opponent raised preflop from early position and then made a pot-sized bet into us on the flop. We concluded that his possible holdings were TT, JJ, QQ, KK or AA. If his hand is JJ or QQ, we’re 54% to win, but if his hand is TT, KK or AA to win we’re only 36% (it’s actually a little less because the 5 of spades would make our opponent a full house if he held TT).
It’s a marginal call at best, but knowledge of our opponent and implied odds could make our decision easier.

Implied odds aren’t as straightforward as pot odds. Pot odds are exact and measureable, but implied odds require a bit of guesswork. You have to estimate how likely you are to get paid and much you think your opponent will pay you off if you make your hand.

Going back to our example, let’s say that your opponent plays super-tight, scared poker. You think your opponent would check/fold trips if another spade falls and you bet enough. In this case, I’d fold the hand. Your edge is small and your chances of getting paid off are non-existent.

However, you would want to play this hand if your opponent will happily call an all-in shove with an overpair regardless of what cards are in the community. In this case your call on the flop could pay off with your opponent’s entire stack.

Knowing the potential profit of your hand is the key to making money playing poker and building your bankroll. And the way you evaluate that potential profit is by considering both the odds the pot is giving you immediately and the amount it’s likely to give you by the river. Learn to exploit the odds, and you’ll make money. You can experiment with implied odds at real money online poker tables without having to risk a single dime of your own. Check out our lists of no deposit poker bonuses and free poker bankrolls.