Pot Odds and Implied Odds in Texas Hold’em Poker

Pot Odds

Odds and Implied Odds in Texas Hold’em Poker

Pot odds and Implied odds in Texas Holdem PokerIf you are new to poker, poker odds can be very confusing, but if you want to take poker seriously then having a basic knowledge of poker odds is very important. You might ask yourself why? Well because in poker it’s all about the arithmetic and what happens in the long run, over many games and many hands. It’s not about the hand you are in right now. Once you understand this, and understand pot odds, your win rate will go up. Why? Because if you know what the chances are of you winning the hand, and work with that, if you work with the odds and it doesn’t work out with the current hand, it doesn’t matter because overall you will win in the long run.

Poker Pot Odds and Implied OddsWhat are Texas Hold’em Hand Odds?

When you bet on your cards you are trying to win the money that is already in the pot. But how often do you need to win to make a profit? The answer to that is not every time. If there is $200 in the pot and it costs you $20 to bet, your odds are 10/1. You can be wrong 9 times out of 10 and still break even on the 10th  – but the point is it depends on your cards and the odds you get, so if your cards don’t give you the right odds the odds in that situation won’t be 10/1. For instance if there are cards which would make a straight on the board and all you have is a high card, you don’t have the odds to call that $20 bet. But if there is the possibility of a straight on the board and you have two suited cards leading to a flush on the board, the turn and the river give you great odds for making a call. So you have to have a hand which might lead you to win the hand for pot odds to work. This is the essence of the pot odds. You are calling a fraction to win a larger sum. But you have to work out those odds first.

For beginners, understanding the concept of poker pot odds is a must in order to play winning poker. Making bets that don’t pay off in the long run will give you a loss instead of profit.

Poker Pot Odds and Implied OddsWhat are Texas Hold’em Implied Odds?

Implied odds are occur when you are in a hand and a bet is made before you get to act, and the bet is sufficient to mean that the pot odds mean you should fold. But implied odds are when you then factor in the players behind you and whether they are likely to call or not. In this case, the fact that you called means they have better odds to call also, so are more likely to. And now your pot odds are good.

An example of implied odds in action in Texas Hold’em poker is when you limp in with a small or medium pair pre -flop. Your chance of hitting a set is around 7.5-1. This means that pot technically needs to have 6 or 7 other limpers to make it worth your while being in the hand. If you are in early position you have to consider whether players behind you are likely to enter the pot, and if you are in late position you will see how many players have called already.

Assume there are four other limpers and your bets will narrow the field down by 50% on the flop, and another 50% on the turn – so what are your implied odds?

Here, you stand to win 8 small bets, at the initial price of 1, which gives your call positive expectation (against the 7.5% of hitting your set). So, your implied odds are good to make the call with a weak pair because of the money you will figure to win if you do hit your set, rather than the “definite” amount you’re about to win.

The only downside to implied odds in poker is that they are a mathematical estimation, and you can be too optimistic in calculating them – because you are guessing what might happen after you have acted.

Poker Pot Odds and Implied OddsHow Do Texas Hold’em Hand Odds Affect Your Game?

Implied odds can have a benefit on your pot odds. If you think that your opponent will bet after the next card (turn or river) that can be added to the pot odds. It only works if you win in the end so it does take some thinking about. This means you may make bets/calls when your opponent is not giving you the correct pot odds to bet/call on that particular card.

poker winning handsFor example if you have the nut straight draw the odds that you will complete the draw on the next card are roughly 5 to 1. If your opponent bets $50 making the pot $100, they are giving you 2 to 1 odds to call. Now if you are to base your decision to call purely on pot odds, then you should not make the call. However, if you believe that you have good implied odds, the call becomes justifiable. This is because you will be making more money when you make your draw, than if you folded.

The fundamental rules of implied odds to remember are:

·       If you have good implied odds, you can afford to call without correct pot odds.

·       If you have little or no implied odds, you should stick to the pot odds.


Poker Pot Odds and Implied OddsHow Do You Calculate Texas Hold’em Hand Poker Odds?

There are many ways to calculate different kinds of Texas Hold ’em poker odds. You could use a poker cheat sheet. You can also use a poker chart as a guide. But in most games you are not allowed to do this at the table so you probably won’t be able to work out the odds until after the hand. It is simple maths to work out the pot odds,  as we showed above and once you have learnt the maths you will be able to do it in your head quickly every time. If you are playing online, sure you can use a cheat sheet or an odds calculator.

Poker Pot Odds and Implied OddsHow Do I Calculate Texas Hold’em Hand Odds in My Head Quickly?

The rule of four and two is the best easiest way to know what your odds are. It’s a simple process: first, work out how many cards you can hit to improve your hand. For example, if you have a flush draw, there are nine cards you can hit to make a flush.

To know the odds of making your flush on the turn, simply multiply your outs by two and add two. To know the odds of making your flush on the river, multiply your outs by four and add four. In this case, you have a roughly 40% chance of making your flush by the river.

Poker Pot Odds and Implied OddsConclusion

Pot odds are critical in working out whether to stay in a hand right now or not on the basis of your long term profitability. And don’t forget that’s what it is about, not whether you make a hero call on this hand, but whether you have the odds to make the hand work for you over and over again. If you don’t have the odds, you should fold right there.

Implied odds are useful for deciding whether to bet or not after calculating your pot odds. If you do not have the correct odds to call a bet and make your draw a call is justifiable if you have good implied odds.

However you should stick to the pot odds if you figure that you have little or no implied odds.

Poker Pot Odds and Implied OddsAnd Finally on Texas Hold’em Hand Odds

A final point to consider is that you have no implied odds if your opponent is all-in. There will be no betting on further rounds as there is nobody else in the pot. So its not right just to call. You still have to work out the pot odds and base your call on the result of your calculations.

The best way to understand your pot odds and implied odds is to simply play more poker. Good luck.

Start doing the maths, it will help your game.

Click here to find a poker game near you right now!

Seven Great Live Poker Tells and Common Poker Tells

Texas hold'em basic strategy

Seven Great Live Poker Tells and Common Poker Tells

If you have seen the James Bond film Casino Royale you will have an idea of what a ‘tell’ is. The villian Le Chiffre gives a false tell at the poker table which James misreads results in him losing all his chips in a big hand. Luckily for us James is re-staked by the CIA agent Felix Leiter and goes on to knock Le Chiffre out with a straight flush. A tell is your opponent unknowingly revealing the strength of their hand through their body language, speech or behaviour. The types of tells a person may have can vary from player to player. There are common poker tells that less experienced players tend to do at a high frequency. Even experienced players tend to have subtle and not-so-subtle tells. There are over 200 recognised live poker tells. Knowing how to spot poker tells and understanding common poker tells is an essential part of your advanced poker strategy.

Live poker tells; Signs of Strength

  1. Poker StrategyA player looking away from the poker table when they’re in the middle of a big pot

This is a common poker tell a lot of inexperienced players make. Sometimes it’s a conscious act sometimes it’s unconscious. The ideas of this tell is to show the table that they are uninterested in the hand and are conveying weakness. So why would a player that has a strong hand want to show the other players at the table that they are uninterested? By looking away from the table and showing a lack of interest, as well as showing weakness, you are diverting peoples attention away from you. This serves to hide the fact that you have a strong hand. And you are doing this because you want your opponent to bet or bluff, or to call your bet. You don’t want attention on you. Its an obvious tell for an experienced player to spot and a top poker read, so keep an eye on your own behaviour next time you have a big hand. Make sure you don’t give your hand away!


  1. Poker StrategyA player tilts or bends their neck

Sometimes players may do this in an act of confusion or appear curious and unclear. Studies have shown that bending and tilting your neck is a difficult thing to do when you are under stress. This is because the trapezius muscles in your shoulders tighten up and restrict neck mobility.

When you are bluffing, you feel a lot more stress and pressure than when you are strong. You are more likely to be sitting straight and tall. When you are strong you feel confident, more relaxed and have feelings of excitement. A player with a strong hand would find it easy to move their neck freely. So they might look confused, but they are not. Try it for yourself. When you next feel stressed, bend or tilt your neck. It will be uncomfortable. Because this is not such a common poker tell, when you do spot it you will know what is really going on and is a great live tell.


  1. Poker StrategyOral tells

These can be some of the biggest tells in a live poker game. If you are in a hand and a player exhibits anger on the flop or turn, he will have a good hand. It doesn’t make sense to act out in anger when you are weak or when your hand has missed.

If a player has a weak hand they don’t want to draw attention to themselves. They would do the reverse and represent quiet strength.

Some examples of oral tells your opponents may say:

“I really don’t know what to do here… I’ll go all in.”

“Who raised?”

“Oh, did you raise?”

These oral speeches of confusion are all bad attempts at acting weak. Most people are not good actors, otherwise we would all be trying out for Hollywood! A general rule, when your opponents act weak, they are strong.

Live poker tells; Signs of Weakness

  1. Poker StrategyActing Strong

Players often behave in a way representing the reverse of their hand strength. So if they have a weak hand they will try and represent a strong hand.  This is standard advanced poker strategy. They may for instance talk their hand up, or throw chips into the pot, or try to be assertive. These are all potential signs of a person with a weak hand trying to deceive their opponent. Although a common poker tell you do of course have to be careful. If the player acts quickly on their turn it is likely a bluff, But if they act slowly and deliberately, thinking about their action, they probably are strong. You need to understand the type of player you are up against. If you get it right it is one of the top poker reads.


  1. Poker StrategyFreezing

When a player makes a bluff, especially a big bluff, the pressure they are under is immense. In real life your body tightens up when you tell a lie versus when you tell a truth. In a Texas hold’em poker game you might see this if someone has placed a big bet and is bluffing. They will become very still, their fists clenched. All their actions are slow and stiff. They might stare at a spot on the wall or table and refuse to look anywhere else until their opponents have finished their action. Because of the pressure they are under they can’t relax.

They also find their voice becomes shaky. If you talk to them they don’t respond for fear of giving themselves away. They don’t want to engage in social interaction because of the worry of their bluff being figured out. Tightening up under pressure, such as when bluffing or calling with a weak hand, is a common poker tell.


  1. Poker StrategyLong Checking period

Most of the time if someone takes a long time to check, they are weak. There is no reason for it. If they take time to bet, its different, because they are trying to work out how to gain maximum value. But if they take time to check, it’s more likely they are trying to work out whether to bluff or not. And if they don’t bluff, they want you to think that they have a strong hand anyway, hoping it stops you from raising. And if its on the river, they will be hoping that you won’t risk a bet against them and they could win with a weak hand.


  1. Poker StrategyDouble tells

Double tells are an advanced poker strategy most likely to be made by an experienced poker player, hoping to catch a less experienced player out. A new player to the game is not likely to pick up on double tells. They are best used against medium level players. An experienced player may, for instance, deliberately look away from the table when they have a weak hand. This is to represent strength, reversing on of the common poker tells as discussed in the first of the tells in this article. The player knows you are aware of this common tell and is using it to his advantage when he is now holding a weak hand. If you know the player and know they are experienced, when you see them try this tell work, you can figure out he is trying to trick you and has a weak hand.

Live poker tells; Conclusion

These are a few of the common poker tells inexperienced players will consciously and subconsciously perform at the poker table. More advanced tells start with double tells and will proceed to more specific custom poker tells. A custom tell is a particular tell that only a specific player happens to be doing and they are completely unaware of it. For instance if a player has a monster hand he might move his cards behind his chips. Or he could scratch his left ear whenever he has the nuts. This would be a top poker read, but you would need to observe a player over time to work this out.

The best way to get better at reading other players’ tells is by practicing what you have learnt. Get out there and play lots of games, pay attention all the time when you are at the table to the actions of others. Look for common poker tells. Pay particular attention to a players’ actions who then goes to showdown. This gives you an opportunity to work out how they play what cards they have been raising / betting / calling with. Information on your opponent is critical in poker and of course forms part of an advanced poker strategy. It can be difficult at first reading poker tells, but once you learn how to read tells you will see a whole new side to the game.

And Then:

Finally, there is one other aspect, your own tells. When you are in a hand you must try to be conscious of what signals you are unconsciously giving away. Make sure you know what your hands and face are doing when you are under stress or when you have a big hand and make sure that you are not giving away any of the common poker tells. And try some of those reverse tells, see if you can make them work. Good luck.

Click here to find a poker game near you right now!

Tournament Strategy and Cash Game Strategy

Poker strategy

The difference between poker cash games and poker tournaments.

Texas Hold’em poker is a complicated game, and when you go from cash games to tournaments or vice versa, it becomes more so. There are many really good players in one sphere who struggle in the other. You might think it’s all poker and you just play the same in tournaments and cash games. However, in some respects they are two completely different games and therefore the strategy used on the different tables varies.

poker winning handsIn either game you will play poker for real money, however in a poker cash game you are playing with chips which represent money, dollar for dollar. Every chip you lose is costing you actual money, so you need to think about every hand carefully because it has an actual dollar value.

Poker tournaments are different. Because the blinds go up on a regular basis you are forced to play to stay in the game, and of course the whole idea is to win all the chips, ultimately, in the tournament, which means you must be involved in more pots, making more bets and risking it more often. And you can’t buy back in either, once you are out, you are out. Your poker life is on the line with every all-in. To win, you need a poker tournament strategy whether you are in a club game or a major poker tournament.

Poker StrategyTournament Strategy

Tournament poker is a game with a lot going on. There are however two basic strategies to playing. The first is naked aggression, trying to aggressively win chips from the first hand. This is a dangerous game to play but can result in a healthy bullying chip stack early in the game, or you can be out the door in the early blind levels. It is quite likely you will experience wild swings in chip counts during this type of play. If, however you can play aggressively and with intuition and experience and an understanding of the other players hand ranges, you will end up with that big chip stack.

The other way to play in tournaments is to stick to the advice given to beginners on this site, but which plenty of professionals also use, which is to only play premium hands, or any other hands only in position, and to play small stake poker. With a tactic like this you are not going to land a fortune in chips early on like the aggressive player, you will slowly build a stack with a lot less risk. It’s a good strategy for staying out of trouble, especially in the early stages of a tournament when blinds are low, but betting is proportionally high, and the crazy players are still behaving like they can win the tournament in the first half hour. If you do lose a hand at this stage, it shouldn’t cost you too much in chips. This is a solid way to play, and can pay off, and is a lot less stressful as you avoid the wild swings of the aggressive player – but it also has its pitfalls. If you are not prepared to raise with good hands, or fold too often and don’t take any chances, or take a couple and lose, eventually you start losing out to the increasing blind levels. But the table will not have much respect for you either, noting that you fold almost everything in every position. Raising is itself intimidating, but essential if you want to keep the other players guessing about your hand strength. If you are too passive, eventually you may have to decide at which point you are going to risk the all-in to stay in the game.

Poker StrategyAggressive pre-flop play.

In general, a level of aggression when you have a good pre-flop hand or hit the flop serves you well in a tournament. As the blinds go up in a tournament a lot of players will tighten up, because the cost of being in a hand is higher proportionally to the chip stack compared to the beginning. For instance, you might have 400 or 500 big blinds at the start of a tournament, but even if you win some hands, with the rising blind levels you might be down to 50 or 60 before long. To take advantage of this, depending on the play of the table, you can get much more aggressive pre-flop, ideally in position.  Your opponents may not even believe you have a good hand but are not prepared to take a risk and lose chips at this stage.


Poker StrategyTexas Hold’em Cash Game tips.

No limit hold’em cash games have a load of strategies all their own. Your money is on the table; the chips represent actual cash, which they don’t in tournaments. If you lose it all you can just buy back in if you have the money. However, its real money on the line so you don’t want to be buying back in if you can avoid it. After all the point of cash games is to make money.

Poker StrategyTight Texas Hold’em poker strategy.

The classic play in cash games is to play super tight, be prepared to sit at the table all day or night, or both, and build your stack with premium hands when they turn up.  This is like the tight play in a poker tournament, you rarely raise and only put big chips in the pot when you have the nuts, or close. Like tournaments this means you will put your stack at less risk and put yourself under less stress – but it does require the patience to stay a long time if you do want to win a lot of money on the cash tables.

Following on from this is tight-aggressive play which is and advanced no limit holdem tournament strategy. Players using this style slightly widen their starting hand range to include suited connectors ten and above, but also be more aggressive once they are in the hand, being prepared to raise with their cards and following up on pre-flop play with betting and raising post-flop. This lets the other players at the table know you are capable of being an action player and you will get more table respect for it, and when you have won a few hands in this way there is more room for you to successfully C-bet and semi-bluff.

Poker StrategyAggressive play in poker cash games.

If you are an aggressive player, your starting range widens out significantly. If you have position, any two cards will do to raise with and see the flop. It can be tough to play someone who uses this Hold’em cash game strategy, because you don’t know whether they have a good hand, or they are trying to push you off the hand by raising with weaker cards. It’s a good play until you come up against who does have a hand and follows you to the river. Suddenly your chip stack loses height. Another issue with this style of play is that eventually players work you out, and then when you have a big starting hand and raise, they don’t believe you and call you off with a dubious hand, and win. But that is a feature of this type of play, big rewards at times and costly at others.

how to play Texas holdemSometimes you come up against a super aggressive player who plays almost every hand and always raises, often pushing all the other players off the hand before it begins. In this way they build their stack by stealing blinds and chips off limpers. Not only that, they are not afraid to risk their entire stack heads up if they have an ace or even high suited connectors, or if they are really crazy mid-range connectors. This can be a good Hold’em cash game strategy because they know that in a heads-up situation, despite what the percentages might be, they will have a chance with any two cards of winning the hand even if they start as underdogs. If they get a caller for their all-in jam, and win, they are chipped up and can dominate the table even more. Its an exciting way to play and can reap big rewards, however it can be a super roller coaster and these players can be back at the tellers’ window for another stack of chips. If don’t like facing this type of player, you better hope they end up on another table, but if you see them as an opportunity, hope they come back.

All of that aside, a smart way to play a cash game is regard it as a bit of a grind and try to see flops cheaply. Every game is different but if your cards turn into a good hand you should be able to capitalise with a big chip win. It’s a good poker strategy for avoiding trouble and is a top Texas hold’em cash game tip. And if you miss completely on the flop, but there is a bettor or raiser, you can get out without too much damage. If you do hit with your high value cards, that is when a bit more aggression pays off. If you do decide to take on an aggressive pre-flop approach, what it does do is get chips in the pot so if you do end up with the best hand or can pull of a bluff you win a decent pile of chips.

Poker StrategyThe Secret to Winning Texas Hold’em Poker.

The way you play a game is dependent on many variables. AS you can see there are many advanced live poker tournament strategies. Everyone has a poker strategy play that they are comfortable with, from passive to aggressive, and have a different approach to the result from the point of view of cash winnings and kudos. To some both mean nothing and to some they mean everything. On top of that there is the mix of people on the table. To do well in either the cash game or tournament play you need to work out the combinations of all of the above for each player, then their hand range, and adapt your game accordingly. Having one live poker tournament strategy to play with isn’t enough, you need to be flexible. To do well at poker you need to understand your opponent and their style of play and your own play. When you can work with those two things you will become a champion. Good luck.