Reverse Implied Odds – Get Out While You Can!

Many seasoned Texas Hold’Em players will have run across a situation where a good hand has lost.  Sometimes this is a bad beat, and down to luck, most other times, it’s poor judgment.  Knowing your Reverse Implied Odds will help with that judgment, hopefully saving you a great deal of heartache.  For the mathematicians in the game, this is something of a tricky one, because it’s based somewhat on guesswork.  Nevertheless, knowing a little more of when to hold and when to fold is something every player should prioritize.

This strategy is best applied to Texas Hold’Em poker but can be applied to other games as well. The following information is going to help teach you all about the different strategies and will tell you exactly how to use the reverse implied odds strategy to your advantage.

What Are Reverse Implied Odds?

Implied odds show you how you stand to gain from a strong hand in future rounds of betting.  Understanding how the concept works is not crucial for understanding reverse implied odds, but it certainly helps. For more depth on implied odds, you can read this guide.

Reverse Implied Odds

When it comes to reverse implied odds, you’re looking to safeguard yourself.  Therefore you’re thinking primarily of how much you stand to lose.  Having a flush beaten by four threes is a genuine bad beat, and largely can’t be avoided.  However, making big bets on a flush when you hold 23s is a recipe for disaster.  Similarly to implied odds, being able to put your opponents in a range will help these decisions hugely.  Even without that, though, you can avoid some risky calls by using a bit of common sense.

As stated earlier, there isn’t a lot of hard, accurate math to do here.  The objective here is to see how likely a weak hand, in particular, a draw, will be beaten.  Naturally, your implied odds fall off quickly the more players are in the hand and the fewer outs you have.

How to Gauge Your Reverse Implied Odds

The first thing to consider is whether you have a made hand or a draw.  If you’re still clinging on to those 4 outs that you have for a gutshot straight, you’re not thinking along the right lines.  If you have a made straight to seven, of which the 5, 6 and 7 are on the board, along with a 9, should you stay in?  It’s not an immediate yes or no answer.  Consider the following:

Number of Players

Remember that each player still in increases the chances that one of them holds a stronger hand.  They could all be in on different angles, too.  One may be holding pocket 9s, and could sink you with any of 10 other cards.  Another could be holding a flush draw, and any one of them could hold an 8, or even 8,10 for the top straight.  The more you’re up against, the more likely that one of these outs is in play.

Stack Sizes and Behavior

Just as with implied odds, other players stack sizes are important to evaluate.  Are your opponents limping?  Did someone push the blinds?  Was there a sudden change of behavior?  All these can factor into your guess as to who is holding the winning hand.

Pot Odds

Are your pot odds great? If so, it might be worth pushing it anyway.  It’s the long game you’re playing, after all.

Sadly, the amount of guesswork involved here means that you can’t put a real value on to reverse implied odds.  Much like the straightforward counterpart, it’s more a sense of “there’s too high a chance my opponents can still win”.  If you see you have reverse implied odds, it’s almost certainly better to play for your long game, suck it up, and fold.


As with anything when it comes to gambling, it’s important to understand that this advice and this strategy can easily go both ways for you when you are using it in a tournament or just in casual play. The more you use these strategies and the more you practice them, the better you’re going to get so it is important to try and use the reverse implied odds strategy whenever you can.

Like all odds strategies, this is for use in the long game.  You’re playing the percentages to make sure you come out on top over an enormous number of hands.  You will miss out on some tasty pots using this strategy, so it’s important to keep an eye on how many harsh losses you avoid with it, too.

Things to Remember

  • Use implied odds to figure out how much you can win if you hit your hand
  • Use reverse implied odds to figure out how much you stand to lose
  • If you’re playing a lower flush or straight, you’re most likely to have reverse implied odds to fold

Reverse Implied Odds Conclusion

Using reverse implied odds to help your poker game can be revolutionary.  It’s a moderately tricky concept to see in action at first, so try it out in plenty of low-stakes games first.  Remember that it’s to safeguard you against greedy decisions on weak draws. By following the information and advice provided above and practicing the strategy often, you should have few problem effectively increasing your success rate at the tables.

We hope you enjoyed our guide to reverse implied odds, tell us what you thought in the comments below!

I'm a tech geek who enjoys extreme sports, computing and, of course, an avid poker enthusiast.

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