Reverse Implied Odds

Implied odds deal with additional bets you expect to win, when you complete your draw. Reverse implied odds deal with opposite situations.

Reverse implied odds

Reverse implied odds are pot odds that include further bets you expect to lose, should your opponent have a better hand in the showdown.

You have to deal with reverse implied odds situations when:

 You have a weak made hand with little chance to improve (e.g. top pair with less-than-top kicker). You can be already beat by a better made hand (top pair with top kicker, two pair, set) or your opponent may have a draw.
 You have a weak draw that, when completed, will not give you the stone cold nuts. Your opponent may be drawing to a better hand.

In both cases, your opponent will never put more money in the pot with a worse hand on later streets. If he has a draw, he is going to put more chips only when it completes. Therefore, you can win a small pot if you have the best hand but you will lose a big pot if you do not.

Hands that are especially vulnerable to reverse implied odds are – AJ, AT, KQ, KJ, QJ, QT, and JT. With such hands, if you hit a top pair, somebody may have a top pair with better kicker or an overpair. Even if you hit two pair, somebody may have a straight draw or a flush draw. These starting hands are troubling even for good players. I suggest that you play them very cautiously.

How to play in reverse implied odds situations?

Since you already know that you can win the minimum and lose the maximum, you will face situations, where all options are EV- (see Pot odds and expected value). If you fold, you will lose the pot right away. If you call, you may win a small pot or lose a big pot. You have to decide which option will cost you less.

Generally, folding is rarely a bad decision. If you are new to poker, it will save you a lot of money. I recommend calling only if the pot odds are good (the bet is small) or when you know that your opponent loves to bluff all the time.

Reverse implied odds example

You hold 65 and the flop is 78K. You and your opponent both have $500 in your stacks. With $100 in the pot, your opponent bets $80. Should you call?

You may think that, with so much chips left in your stacks, you have good implied odds to call. However, the reverse implied odds outweigh them.

There are a lot of hands that give your opponent a better draw. He may have T9, giving him a higher straight draw. He may also have two clubs, giving him a flush draw. If he has a top pair, he probably is not going to call any further bets, when you complete your weak draw. The correct decision here is to fold.

Remember – avoid drawing to anything but the best hand. If there is a higher straight draw possible – fold. If you have a straight draw and there are two cards of the same suit on the flop – fold. If you have a weak flush draw – tread with caution.

More articles on poker probability:

 Poker odds calculator
 Poker outs and odds
 Pot odds and expected value
 Sklansky bucks
 Implied odds
 Poker hand probability chart
 Common preflop odds chart
 Common flop odds chart
 Pocket pairs - flopping overcards odds

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