In online no limit hold’em then pot odds diminish in importance and factors like implied odds and being able to move you from a hand escalate in importance and this is especially the case when you opponents become tougher at higher levels.
If you really want to make yourself a tougher poker player in no limit hold’em then you need to concentrate on two key areas, these are implied odds and trying to create dead money in the pot without seeing a showdown.
Players who switch to playing no limit hold’em from forms of poker like limit for example often struggle with the concept of pot odds. In no limit hold’em then the two big factors are implied odds and the ability to be able to take your opponent off a hand and especially in heads up situations. I will use an example here to show what I mean. Your opponent in a NL100 six max game raises from the cut-off to $3.50 and you look at the screen and see Jd-9d on the button and call. Both blinds fold and the pot is $8.50.
The flop comes and is 8h-4d-2d giving you a flush draw, on overcard and a backdoor straight draw. Your opponent bets $6 on the flop and so your pot odds are roughly $14.50/$6 or around 2.5-1. You have a nine out flush draw and an overcard which is less likely to be good if you hit it and so we will count the three outs to the jack as one out and assess it as a ten out hand for the sake of simplicity. With 47 cards unseen then your hand is around 3.7-1 to improve on the next round and so your pot odds are only 2.5-1.
Clearly this is not enough and is why you cannot play a fit or fold strategy. Now we need to look at stack sizes and if we assume that each player had 100 big binds at the start of the hand then we can see that each player have a lot of big blinds sitting behind. But the fact that your opponent made a c-bet tells us nothing about their hand strength as they would more than likely c-bet with a large percentage of their range anyway. Ideally we want to make our flush but we cannot play poker with our primary strategy being to make big hands.
This may have worked some years ago when the games were softer on the whole but these days you need fold equity more and more. So you call the $6 but it has absolutely nothing to do with pot odds. The turn card comes and is the 4c and if your opponent checks then I would definitely step in here with a bet. This risks being check-raised from the hand but in my experience then the risk is minimal at this level. Now let us look at another line where our opponent barrels the turn and makes it $14 into the $20 pot. Here once again I want to extract the maximum without seeing a showdown while also giving me a chance to bust my opponent.
The play so far has not indicated to my opponent that I have a big hand. But if they have a bluff then they may give up and check the river and I can step in with a bet unless it is a jack or nine! The pot odds were $34-$14 and so once again means I am taking 2.5-1 on a 4-1 chance. These are not correct pot odds when looked at in isolation but the combination of implied odds and moving my opponent from the hand makes a call viable once again.