“Your reverse implied odds are terrible”

by ~ September 2nd, 2008. Filed under: Instructional posts.

* Modified April 5th, 2010 *

I always wondered why people hit my blog searching for this exact phrase, “your reverse implied odds are terrible“. The other day I figured out why. It’s a quote from a question used in donkeytest.com. I guess people are using Google to try to find the answer since they don’t know the answer themselves.


I took the test recently, which is how I ran across the question, and immediately recognized it because I have been getting people hitting my blog and it’s precursor, pokeranon.wordpress.com and I had thought there must be a reason why so many people search for that exact phrase.

I scored 112 on the test, which is supposedly okay. It’s geared so the results are supposed to be similar to standard IQ tests where 100 is average and 150 is a genius. I’ve always scored somewhere in the 140s on standard IQ tests, although I scored high enough on the GMAT exam to qualify for entrance to MENSA (95th percentile in the quantitative, 99th percentile in the qualitative for the 99th percentile overall. 600 is the standard base requirement to gain entrance into an MBA program and I scored 720 or 730, though I flunked out of the program because I had no previous business training or experience).

Should I answer the question? 😀


First, implied odds are an estimate, but are based on the chances that you will get paid off big enough to cover the cost of playing even though the pot odds are not sufficient. For example, a tight player raises 3 BBs from early position and you have a middle pair, say 77. The chance that you will hit a set on the flop is something like 7.5 to 1 against so if your pot odds at the moment are 3 + 1 + 0.5 to 3 or 4.5 to 3 so not very good odds at all relative to the chance of hitting your set.

However, in deep stack poker implied odds are much more important here. If you and the raiser are deep stacked, “implied odds” are the chances for you to hit a set and take his stack when he has an overpair or TPTK. In other words, most of the time you call a tight early position raise with 77 you just fold when you miss the flop, but the time that you do hit your set you win big, big enough to more than recover all the 3BB calls that you made and threw the hand away on the flop.

Reverse implied odds work in the opposite direction. Again both you and your opponent have deep enough stacks that pot commitment is not an issue, but in this case you hold something with little chance to improve. Say there is a raise from a good player. You are in the big blind with KJ and you think, this is a decent hand, I’ll call.

This is a bad situation you’re getting yourself into. First, you’re playing from the blinds, out of position. Second, even if you were in late position, you are playing one of Doyle Brunon’s “trouble hands”, hands that can be dominated. A strong, experienced player might be able to make money doing this, but beginners get themselves into trouble this way.

Say the flop comes KT4 rainbow, and the preflop raiser bets. You can’t fold because you have top pair, but you are dominated if your opponent has AK or KQ or even KT. You’re in really big trouble if he has TT, and if he has QJ and continuation bet the flop with his OESD and then an Ace or 9 comes on the turn you’re drawing pretty thin.

If you aren’t going to fold when you flop a King or Jack,  you’re giving off big reverse implied odds if you choose to call with KJ.

This is probably not the best example, and bad reverse implied odds applies more to limit poker rather than no limit because in no limit you can size your bets to give opponents incorrect odds to chase. But essentially bad reverse implied odds means that in your situation you stand to possibly win a small pot, but are at risk to lose a big pot.

At weak tables calling preflop raises with weak aces is a common error that gives bad implied pot odds as well, since the bad players will call raises with A6o and then call down when an Ace comes on the flop, never considering folding even though their opponent probably has a bigger Ace.

And reverse implied odds depend on the player. As I said earlier a good player can play KJ from the blinds against a preflop raise;  really good players can play almost any hand from any position. But most beginners with pocket Aces or Kings give huge reverse implied odds simply because they cannot fold postflop. They will win many small pots when they raise preflop, get frustrated, and refuse to fold when it should be obvious that they are beaten.

Be Sociable, Share!

1 Response to “Your reverse implied odds are terrible”

  1. sandrar

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

Leave a Reply