A Deeper Look at Implied Odds
So everyone knows what implied odds
are. You have suited connectors and are drawing without outs but you know your opponent has a monster and that if you hit you'll more than make up for the loss in pot odds
with bets on later streets. But I'm going to look a little deeper.
Here's a standard situation. Let's say 1/2 blinds with stacks of 400, no units, all that matters is the proportion. Anyways, a few limpers limp in preflop, button has AA, raises 6x (12) to isolate, gets one caller (pot size around 30 now). Flop comes out 259, 2 hearts. He raises to eliminate the draws, bets 3/4 to 1 times the pot size (say 25). Guy calls (pot size 80 now), Q of diamonds comes. Again a pot size bet (160). This time he re-raises (he makes it 250 from 80, new pot size = 410, 170 to call), instead of calling he pushes all-in, putting his opponent on something like AQh, thinking that with TPTK + nut flush draw he could possibly have the best hand, so AA pushes all-in (pot size is 580 after call, I haven't been calculating pot size, so let's say it's around 806, 400*2 + 3 limpers*2). He gets a call, caller flips over Q5o. So the AA curses at him, "how could you call with Q5o with a 6x PFR and then call an almost pot size bet with mid pair?
I'm sure you'd never do that, but let's look at the odds we are being offered on the flop bet. Preflop is tougher so we'll ignore that. So we're getting 55:25 = 2.2:1 on our money. But really if we hit trips or 2-pair we end up winning the entire stack. So that means we win 55+(400-12-25) = 418 and we only need to risk 25, so we're getting 418:25 = 16.72:1 odds!!! We only need to hit 5.64% of the time for this call to be profitable. We have 5 outs, which is 10.6% of the time, in fact, we average a 19.3 chip gain per hand ((418-9*25)/10). Remember this is at 1/2 so that means we average almost 10 times the big blind per hand (note that we rounded 10.6% down to 10%, so I'm rounding 19.3 up to 20, not exact, but close enough). Not a huge gain, but a profitable call. Yet how many people would call with Q5 to a flop like that, assuming you called with it preflop.
Now you probably notice, if the person with AA is able to lay them down and get a read that they are beat, this play is NOT +ev. This also raises the question, would AA be able to lay down to trips, seeing the pair on the board? Most of the time I'm guessing not but this significantly cuts into the profit (although eliminating 2 outs still leaves us 3 outs, and 3/47 = 6.38%, high enough to still be profitable). It's also possible that another heart could slow him down, but if we assume our pair is paired with the a heart on the board, and say our Q is of hearts, no calculations change (this also helps us without knowing the other hand, because if we hit the 2-pair or trips, opponent will not hit his flush if he has one).
So does this mean that people who call with hands like this are playing smart? Probably not. They probably aren't thinking this through, but I have a theory that a lot of people who chase way too much actually help themselves by giving themselves implied odds. Way too many people will bet big and assume that means they don't have a draw. If they'd quit making that assumption, chasing draws would not be profitable. But as long as people assume that a big bet being called means they aren't on a draw, calling this bet gives us implied odds.
I just have to laugh at people ridiculing the poor play of their opponents, when the mere fact that they called all the way through gave them the implied odds they needed. Sure there are a ton of suckouts where implied odds are not offered, but when the draw hits, it's easy to see if the other player was giving implied odds based on the action after the draw hits. Try a calculation next time you see someone call another person a donkey for chasing and hitting. Of course a lot of the times they are bad calls and even when they are good calls the person probably didn't actually think through implied odds, they just called because they had a chance to win. But if the stacks are deep (note that in this example both players had twice the max buy-in), you'd be surprised how many times the player complaining about the donkey at the table actually made the play by offering implied odds, paying him off the one time he did hit.
Which brings up another interesting question I've been pondering: how would poker be different if players were deep-stacked. What if the max buy-in were 1,000 big blinds? This kind of thing actually occasionally happens in a tournament, but usually multiple players aren't there. I'm talking a game where everyone has a ton of chips in front of them in comparison to the blinds. Simply raising AA 3-4x BB would no longer be profitable, unless you could make really good reads and fold it to a rag rainbow flop. Implied odds would then be everything and instead of bets being in comparison with the pot to take away pot odds, they'd be in comparison with stacks to eliminate implied odds. You may see things like AA raising 20x BB. Gut shot draws calling 3x pot bets... correctly. It's a very interesting topic to think about.