The Concept of Reverse Implied Odds in PLO

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Before we get into the inner working of reverse implied odds, let's have a brief look at what this rather interesting term actually means.

Reverse Implied Odds vs Implied Odds

You may have heard the term “implied odds” banded about and wondered what was being discussed. This is quite a complex and advanced poker-related subject. For the purposes of this article, we have created a short and concise explanation.

Suffice to say, implied odds refers to risking more with the possibility of making more, while reverse implied odds refers to risking more with the possibility of losing more...Simple!

Pre-flop Hand Selection

So now let's look at how this concept applies to PLO in terms of hand selection. Would you say that the hand 3c-3s-2d-2h has implied odds or reverse implied odds? Have a think before reading any further.

In Texas Hold’em a pair of threes or deuces would in all likelihood have implied odds. This is especially the case at a table with deeper stacked players, who would be willing to pay you off with top pair or two-pair, if you flopped a set.

Now get this; flopping a set and having it still be the worst hand is a rare event in Texas Hold’em. However, in PLO this just isn't the case. There are six times the number of pre-flop hand combinations in PLO than there are in Hold'em. So flopping bottom set in Omaha-Hi is likely to lead to trouble.

And, there you have it! In PLO a hand like threes and deuces has reverse implied odds.

If you flop bottom set in Omaha, you would need to have opponents in the hand who have weaker holdings to pay you off.  However, even hands like two pair and top pair will only go so far, before folding.

The bottom line is that you will only ever win a small pot with bottom set.

In PLO you must always ask yourself: “Is the risk of playing this hand going to make me or lose me money in the future?” The future being the flop, turn and river.

Baby Flushes are a No-No

Another example of reverse implied odds is hands that contain cards that are drawing to small flushes - hands like 7s-6s-5d-4d. This hand may look pretty and it may even make the nut straight. However, both flushes will be weak should you get there.

If you face multiple raises on a board that has both a straight draw and a flush draw in your suit, you would probably have to fold to avoid coming face-to-face with reverse implied odds.

Aces in Reverse!

Other classic Omaha-Hi hands that can suffer from terrible implied odds are hands that include a pair of aces. In PLO, it can be difficult to get that 4-bet all-in pre-flop.

And a raise out of position sends off sirens that you have a pair of aces. Leading out post-flop into a draw heavy board with your over pair - and in deep-stack scenarios - can trigger terrible reverse implied odds for your bullets.