Saturday, May 12, 2007

MTT Strategy - Over-Estimating Implied Odds...

Thinking about Implied Odds today... really more for Multi-Table Online Tournaments - you may enounter these situations early in a SNG but since the optimal line for these often involves mainly pre-flop decisions this is more of an MTT topic. Hopefully this will be the first of many posts looking into Texas Holdem Poker Tournament Tips and Strategy.

Will use a flush draw as an example - assuming you have a 4 flush on the flop your chances are 9/47 = about 4.2 /1 or 19% to hit... fairly common knowledge right... that is not the question though.

Since different opponents are more / less likely to 'pay you off' if you hit your draw you need to also set some guidelines for how much you expect to be paid on average when you do hit... here is an example and a look at some numbers.

You have 6 7 Hearts in the BB - it is early in the tourney with effective stacks of 100 times the big blind. UTG raises 5 times the BB, the button calls as does the small blind and you call from the BB.

The flop comes 2s Kh 8h giving you a small flush draw (will ignore runner runner straights and wierd 2 pairs etc to simplify!). UTG bets the pot 20*BB, the other players fold and its up to you.

You don't have the pot-odds to call - getting 2/1 on a 4.2/1 shot - the question becomes this...

If you call and make your flush, will you be paid enough chips - on average - to make your call worthwhile??

First a couple of assumptions to keep things simple... if you hit you win, you will not be outdrawn and your opponent does not hold a higher flush (not always true in real life of course!).

Now we can ask the question - how many more chips do you actually need to take from your opponent to make this call worthwhile... for every 5 times we make the call we lose the extra 20BB 4 times and make the current pot + whatever else our opponent pays us 1 time.

Our break-even point is thus (80bbs) = (40bbs + X), thus X must = 40bbs... that is to break even we must win an extra 40 BBs each time we hit... at this point our opponent has 75bbs left in his stack... will take more than half his stack EVERY TIME when our flush hits?

Probably not.

The flush will be obvious and we are out of position - it is going to be difficult to get paid here, expecially if our opponent (for example) has just one pair. Add to this the fact that in real situations we may well get outdrawn (by a higher flush or a full house) and we have a fold.

Opponent tendancies are key here - a wild player or calling station might be more likely to pay.

Enough for one post, remember to think about how many chips you need to win and the likelihood of winning them in this specific situation before making that implied odds call!!

GL at the tables,

Mark

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