Poker Basics – Implied Odds

The pot odds show the relationship between the possible amount to be won and the amount you need to pay. The amount you can win in this case is the money that is already in the pot.

The implied odds also include within the possible winnings, how much you can win from the following streets. This concept allows you to call with incorrect pot odds on one street if it can be offset by accordingly high implied odds. You assume that you can win the required money on later streets.

What amount do you still need to win?

In a lot of cases, you will face a bet on the flop that you can’t call with a draw according to pot odds. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to give up this hand. It depends on how much you can win if you hit your draw.


You have a flush draw on the flop and your opponent bets pot size. Since the pot odds are 2:1 you can’t call profitably with a flush draw. For a profitable call you would need pot odds of 4:1.

Now the implied odds come into play. You assume that you will win more money if you hit your hand on the turn. But how much would that at least have to be?

For this, have a look at when you could call correctly on the flop:


There is $15 in the pot and your opponent bets $5. You therefore get odds of 4:1.

In this case, you get the required odds. Compared to the previous example there is $10 more in the pot. This $10 is the exact amount you would have to win on the turn and/or river.

In the first example you are getting odds of 2:1 instead of 4:1. You are therefore missing two sets of $5 which obviously equates to the required $10.


Here your opponent uses a bet of 1/2 pot size. You are getting pot odds of 3:1. To get the required pot odds of 4:1, you are missing $5.

Can you still win this amount?

You now know how much you need to win to make a profitable call. To decide whether you can actually win this amount in practice, you have to take into account the following factors:

  • The hand strength of your opponent: when your draw hits, he still has to be willing to stay in the hand and pay into the pot.
  • Special attributes of your opponent: what player type is he? A calling station for example will often take every made hand to the showdown, a maniac might barrel all three streets no matter how the board develops. In both cases you can give yourself high implied odds
  • How obvious is your hand? A finished flush is quite obvious for your opponent. Same goes for an OESD.

If you hit your flush on turn there will be four hearts on the board. It is unlikely that you will be paid off with a worse hand and could therefore not justify your call on the flop due to implied odds.

Position: You can make better decisions in position than out of position due to the information advantage. This increases your EV and therefore your winnings. Also consider that you can give yourself higher implied odds on the flop than on the turn, since there are still two streets to come.

The effective stack size is also important. If your opponent hasn’t got enough of a stack left, it is not possible to win the required amount.

Evaluate the strength of your draw

The strength of a draw needs to be assessed. Have a look at the last example. You were holding an obvious draw with K T. If you hit on the turn, you not only have the problem that your flush is obvious, but also a hand that contains the A beats you.

Flush draws and OESDs are strong draws. With weaker draws you have to be careful though:


On the flop, you have two over cards. However, your over card outs aren’t “clean”. Against hands like TT, 99, 22, T9s, you would still be behind. These hands dominate you.

Hands like JT and 87 are also problematic. If you hit a Jack on the turn, your opponent has also improved and beats you.

The same goes for hands like AK and AQ, which your opponent can continuation bet on the flop. If there is an ace on the turn, your opponent will dominate you. You will still have to pay, since you only called on the flop to hit this exact card.

In such a case, you are paying more money into the pot from the turn onwards with a weaker hand. Situations like this are referred to as reverse implied odds.

Non clean outs therefore need to be discounted. In this example you should discover that you don’t have a single clean out.


You have a flush draw and an OESD on the flop. This gives you 15 outs.

There isn’t any out that will guarantee to give you the best hand on the turn however. In the case of a flush on the turn, there would not only be four diamonds on the board, but your 4 high flush would never be paid off by a worse hand.

If you hit the OESD with a ten, you are holding the “idiot end” straight. If a five falls on the turn, you could potentially have the best hand. It is debatable whether you would be paid off by a worse hand.

You discover that your potential 15-outer is completely worthless. All outs have to be discounted. Should you hit on the turn, you are far more likely to have reverse implied odds. You are most often going to be paying money into the pot with a weaker dominated hand.

To learn more about the basics of implied odds in poker check out this article or watch the video below:

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