Thursday, February 9, 2012

Poker Quiz Question #47

Q#47: What does "your reverse implied odds are terrible" mean? Choose one best answer.
  1. You're short stacked, so implied odds don't matter
  2. You'll either win a big pot or lose a small one 
  3. You're deep stacked, so implied odds matter 
  4. You're out of position, so you should move in or fold 
  5. You'll either win a small pot or lose a big one 
  6. The implied odds are good for you but bad for your opponent


A#47: The easiest way to answer this question is to simply Google the phrase "reverse implied odds" and then pick the closest answer from the list above. But this wouldn't really teach us anything, would it? So bear with me as I ramble a bit, starting with a brief look at the term "implied odds."

The term Implied Odds, or IOs, usually refers to a situation in which you're on a draw. In a sense, it's the amount of money you will probably expect to win after you make your draw, divided by the amount of money you have to put into the pot to continue in the hand. Unlike pot odds, in which you know exactly how much money is in the pot and how much you have to bet or call, calculating implied odds is not typically a very precise calculation. Instead, it's more of a qualitative than quantitative calculation, though an actual number is usually calculated in the end. Let's look at a quick set-mining example to see what I mean:

Let's say you're in a $1/2 NL cash game, and you are dealt 3-3 on the button. An EP player raises to $6 preflop and the action folds to you. Let's assume that both you and villain are relatively deep with $600 stacks. Further, the blinds will probably fold if you call, leaving you heads-up with the villain. You believe your opponent holds a big overpair (88-AA), and that the only practical way you're going to win this hand if you call would be by hitting another 3 on the flop, giving you a set. You know that you'll only hit your set approximately one out of every 8 times (actually 7.5:1 in terms of odds, but we'll use 8:1 in this example to simplify the math).

Now, it appears at first glance that you could potentially win up to $600 if you called the $6, saw a flop, and then hit your set, right? In other words, the probability of hitting a set is only 1 in 8, but there is the potential of winning $600 for a $6 call. This means your maximum implied odds are 600/6 = 100:1. This is far greater than 8:1, so at first glance it appears that this is a good situation in which to set mine. You should call, right?

Well, not so fast. Like most things in poker, the answer is that it depends. For instance, let's say that your opponent is a relatively bad, L1-thinking player who is unaware of board texture and does not put his opponents on hand ranges. He also overvalues his big one-pair hands. In other words, the probability of getting paid off by this player is high. So calling the $6 is correct.

Ah, but what if your opponent is actually a very good, L2-thinking TAg player and that can get off of a big one-pair hand? In this case, you're probably not going to make even 8x your call. Your opponent may cbet a flop, but if you stick around he's probably going to shut it down and not pay you off.

Against the first (bad) player, we say that you do have good implied odds to call and set mine. Against the second (good) player, we would say that you don't have good IOs.

Okay, so what does this have to do with Reverse Implied Odds, or RIOs? Let's see...

Like it's name suggests, RIOs are simply the opposite of IOs. Instead of qualitatively measuring how much you stand to win by continuing in a hand, RIOs are a qualitative measure of how much you probably will lose if you hit your hand. For example, let's say that you have KQo in late position and a TAg rock UTG opens for a raise. If you call here, what are you hoping to hit? If the board bricks out and the villain checks to you, you can probably cbet and take down a small pot. If he cbets, however, you'll have to fold. Worse, if a K or a Q comes out on the flop, and he cbets, you stand to lose a lot of money, as his range typically crushes yours. Hands like this are called "trap hands," "trouble hands," or, in modern parlance, "RIO hands."

Said another way, the phrase "your reverse implied odds are terrible" means that that you will probably win a small amount, but potentially lose a large amount, if you continue in the hand.

Answer: (5) You'll either win a small pot or lose a big one

All-in for now...

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