Implied odds within the modern online poker dynamic

Poker chips

Many years ago the poker games played much differently to what they do at the present time. This applied both in live poker games and online games. When I first turned pro in 2002 and played limit hold’em then the games were incredibly soft.

That all changed and by 2005 the middle limit games had become incredibly tough in which to achieve substantial earn rates. So by 2008 I was playing NLHE and catching the tail end of the poker revolution before the coaching sites changed everything along with the loss of the US market.

So all poker variations tightened to a large extent and this had a profound effect on implied odds. Back in 2007 the average dynamic of an online NLHE cash game was different to that of today. The games were much more loose and passive and also the average stack sizes were slightly deeper than what they are today. There is a very sound and logical reason as to why stack sizes are shallower these days and it is to do with the number of players that operate with a short stack strategy.

If you look at an online NLHE cash game these days and add up the stack sizes of all of the participants then it often comes to less than 100bb and is often in the 75bb-90bb range. This is because of the presence of the short stacks. This is what is known as the average stack size. So when average stack sizes get shorter then this has clear implications on strategy and the overall game dynamic. One such difference is in implied odds and with shorter stacks then calling raises with hands like pocket pairs and playing fit or fold simply doesn’t work anywhere near as well.

Also when your opponents are better opponents and they play better poker then obviously they will not only make fewer mistakes but they will also make smaller mistakes. So the natural knock on effect of this is that the implied odds decrease and certain plays become less profitable. The number of people seeing the flop caused by more and more players multi-tabling also has an effect on implied odds. This is because players are folding more hands and playing tighter ranges.

So when implied odds are smaller then your opponents are better, stack sizes are smaller and games are tighter! So if this is the case then how does an online poker player ever make money? Well that is a very good question and it is true that it isn’t easily answered within the confines of one or two sentences. Against stronger and tighter opponents then you need to change your modus operandi so to speak.

Stop playing lines that are blatantly obvious to your opponents and be a lot more acutely aware of your perceived range and then manipulate that to your advantage. Implied odds are usually far lower than what you think in the modern online poker game dynamic.