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Implied Odds

Marcus Bateman RSS / Marcus Bateman / 14 July 2008 / Leave a Comment

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Implied odds are one of the most important concepts in no limit hold'em games.

The term 'implied odds' simply refers to how much money you think your opponent(s) will put into the pot on a later street. Each player will have slightly different implied odds, ranging from player x, who struggles to fold even ace high for his whole stack; all the way to player y, who will see ghosts everywhere, and will fold nearly every hand to a large bet.

A good illustration of this concept would be calling a small pre flop raise from player x with a low pocket pair or suited connector - hoping to hit a big flop and win a large pot from the player that just can't seem to fold. Although you will miss the flop often, when you do hit big, you will frequently be rewarded with player x's whole stack, which will more than pay for the times your hand misses. Players who give good implied odds will lose a lot of money in no limit games - they are by far the easiest players to make money from - and should be looked for at every available opportunity.

After you have identified the type of player that gives good implied odds (usually they are not hard to miss), the next most important thing to do is identify their stack size. There is no point calling raises with speculative hands if your opponent has only one pot size bet left for the flop. You will miss so often - and win so little when you hit - that the play will be a long term loser.

These two factors are the most critical when considering whether to play speculative hands in hold'em. Is my opponent going to be prepared to lose a lot of chips if I hit? Have they got enough chips to pay me off big if the right flop comes out? If the answer to either of these questions is no, then you will often be better off folding marginal hands to their raises.

A final point to consider is the implied odds you give to other players. If you are regularly losing large pots with your over pairs and top pairs, you may need to reconsider your playing style. Although big hands in the latter half of tournaments, a single pair is a relatively weak hand in deep stacked no limit hold'em, and one which should frequently be folded. Try and work on minimising your own implied odds - it really will pay dividends in the long run.

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