In our last article we looked at what pot odds are and how to calculate them and use them to your advantage when you are deciding whether to call a bet with a drawing hand. This article only looked at pot odds and did not take into consideration the implied odds in the hand. Your implied odds are very important when deciding whether to draw to a hand as we will investigate in this article.
Implied odds are the ratio between the amount of money expected to be in the pot after the last betting round and the size of the call you will have to make to remain in the hand and see the next dealt card. This definition varies from the pot odds definition because with implied odds you are also including the amount of money that you are anticipating your opponent(s) will call if you do make your flush or straight. Your implied odds can also be looked at as a percentage, where the implied odds are the size of the bet you must call divided by the size of the pot plus the amount of chips you think your opponent would put into the pot if you make your hand.
For example, if after the turn the pot is at $20 and you must make a $10 bet to see the river and you feel your opponent is a calling station and would call a $15 bet if you make your hand on the river. Then your implied odds are $10/$35 which equals 28.5%.
Using implied odds to your advantage
Continuing with above example, in order to call the additional $10 bet on the turn your odds of making the best hand should be over 28.5%. For example if you have an open ended straight draw on the turn and you are putting your opponent on top pair, this means that you have 8 outs to hit your hand. Since there are 46 cards remaining unseen then you would only have a 17.4% chance of making what you feel would be the best hand. In this situation it would be the right decision to fold your hand. On the other hand if you have a flush draw and bottom pair and you are putting your opponent on top pair then if you make a flush, a set or two pair you feel you will have the best hand. This means that you have 9 outs to the flush, 2 outs to the set and 3 outs to two pair which equals 14 outs in total. Therefore your odds to make the best hand on the river are 30%. This 30% is higher than the 28.5% implied odds so it would be the right move to make the call in this situation and hope to make the best hand.
Here is one more detailed example. You have (4C,5C) in your hand and the board shows (6C, 9D, KC, 3H) after the turn. The pot was $100 and your opponent bets another $80, making the total pot $180. You feel that both your straight or flush would be good and you have your opponent on a big hand. You feel that your opponent would call another $120 on the river if you make your hand which makes the amount you could win from making the call $300. This means that you need to have better odds than 26.66% to make your hand in order to make the call. The flush draw gives you 9 outs and the straight draw gives you 8 outs, which means that you have a 37% chance of making the best hand on the river. Since the 37% chance of making the best hand is better than the 26.66% implied odds then you should make the call.
One thing to watch when calculating your implied odds is that you do not get overly optimistic. In order to calculate the implied odds correctly you must make accurate assessments of how much your opponent will call on the river. If you are too optimistic when calculating these odds you stand to lose more using implied odds than you will win.