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Tony Murtagh

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The G-Spot: Odds Breakdown
8/26/2007 4:36:17 AM

Two types of odds are important in poker: card odds and payout odds. And payout odds can be broken down into three categories: pot odds, implied odds, and reverse implied odds. Understanding all these types of odds will help you make sound decisions at the tables.

Card Odds

Card odds have to do with hitting poker hands. Suppose you have a flush draw on the turn. Not accounting for reads you may have on your opponents, there are 46 unknown cards in the deck, 9 of which give you a flush. The odds against you hitting your flush are 37:9 (4.11:1).

To draw profitably, your payout odds need to exceed your card odds. In this example, your payout odds need to be at least $4.11:$1.

Pot Odds

Your pot odds are the ratio of the amount of money in the pot to the amount of money you need to call. Let’s take the flush draw example from above. Say the pot is $400 going into the turn, and you have a single opponent who bets $200. $400 + $200 = $600, so you are getting $600:$200 = $3:$1 pot odds.

Implied Odds

Implied odds refer to money that you’ll win on future betting rounds if you hit your draw. Suppose that if you call the $200 and hit your draw, you’ll win $400 more on the river. If that’s the case, you’re receiving an additional $400:$200 = $2:$1 on your preflop call. Accounting for implied odds, you’re getting $5:$1 instead of $3:$1 on your money.

Reverse Implied Odds

Of course, there’s a chance that you hit your flush draw and still lose. Perhaps he hits a better flush, or your flush out gives your opponent a boat or quads. This means you’re actually getting less than $5:$1 on the money. The precise adjustment for reverse implied odds depends heavily on your opponents’ hand distributions and can take awhile to figure out precisely (I remember the work I put in for some of the examples in Killer Poker By The Numbers). Since you usually won’t know exactly how much your opponents will bet anyway, just know that you should get a rough idea of how much you stand to lose and roughly how often you’ll lose it.

Honestly Assess All Situations

The two biggest mistakes that people make when evaluating their payout odds are:

1.) Assuming that their implied odds are bigger than they truly are
2.) Neglecting to take reverse implied odds into account.

Being a pessimist or an optimist won’t do you any good at the poker tables. Instead, be a realist, and watch the profits roll in.

Tony Guerrera is the author of Killer Poker By The Numbers. Visit him online at


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