Chase Poker Term

Definitions of Chasing in Poker

by Jesse Knight


Poker Chaser
Chase -
1. To take a draw when you strongly suspect you are behind.
2. To take a draw with a slim chance of winning.
3. To take a draw without pot odds.

Players often call even when they suspect that they are behind in the hand. They also sometimes call when they lack the pot odds or implied odds necessary to take a draw. This is called “chasing.” A person who frequently makes poor quality chases is called a “chaser.” The term chaser has negative connotations, because it implies that the player is often playing from behind and is prone to making bad calls. It also implies that the player in question does not have the discipline or knowledge to throw their hand away when it is the correct play. So it reflects their playing ability, judgment and even intellect.

Certainly, chasing can reveal a lack of discipline in a player’s game. Sometimes a player will chase because they have gotten “married” to their hand. This means that they have become psychologically attached to their hand because of the investment they have made. They find it difficult to cut their losses and get away from their hand even if it is the right play and will save them money in the long run. This is a bad habit which is commonplace among players who play poorly.

It is true that chasing too much is a bad idea. In general, the odds favor the player who is in the lead. It is unwise to attempt to come from behind constantly, and without regard for pot odds or implied odds. It is certainly a bad idea to adopt a method of constantly chasing as your playing style, and it is impossible for someone who plays like this to have very much success in the long run. With that being said, it is important that we differentiate between a good chase and a bad chase, and acknowledge that there are situations where chasing is legitimate and even correct.

So, how do we differentiate between a “good” chase and a “bad” one? The simple answer is that a good chase will yield a better net result, in terms of long run profit and loss, than would mucking, and conversely, a bad chase will yield a worse long run result. In other words, a good chase is profitable to make and a bad one is unprofitable. Therefore, it is your responsibility as a player to be able to recognize the chases you should be making and lay off the ones you shouldn’t. This is done by applying pot odds analysis and implied odds analysis.

In order to make a chase worthwhile you must have either pot odds or implied odds, and preferably both. Remember profitability is a function not only of your probability of winning, but also how much you have to call, and what you stand to receive if you do win. The first thing you should know is that pot odds analysis and implied odds analysis are different analytical tools and provide different, albeit similar, information. Pot odds are calculated from the information that you have at the time of the calculation, with no thought for future events likely to occur. It may be helpful to think of pot odds analysis as a description of a photograph, or more specifically, a snapshot in time of the situation you are facing when you make the calculation. When calculating pot odds, you make your calculations using the inputs taken at the moment of calculation Implied odds analysis gives you a different viewpoint. Think of implied odds analysis as a description of a video clip of events as you foresee them happening. With implied odds analysis, you make your calculations using inputs that are adjusted based upon what you believe is likely to happen.

With pot odds calculations, you simply use the amount of money that is already in the pot, and the amount of the bet you are currently facing as your basis for the calculation as to whether or not you should take a draw. With implied odds calculations, you instead consider how much the draw is ultimately likely to cost, and how much money is likely to be in the pot by the end of the hand. There is a significant difference here. Pot odds are calculated on a concrete amount. You are not required to make any subjective evaluation about what the draw is ultimately likely to cost, or what the pot size will be should you complete it. Calculating implied odds, on the other hand, does require speculation about the future. Instead of using the bet you face as your input, you use the amount you think that the draw is likely to ultimately cost. Instead of using the size of the pot as your input, you use the size which you think the pot will be at the end of the hand. You also can add additional inputs if the seem appropriate, like discounting for the possibility that you make your draw but lose anyway to player who has made a better hand.

Both pot odds analysis and implied odds analysis are useful and different tools, and one should not be seen a superior to the other. Implied odds calculations will be more accurate than pot odds calculations so long as the assumptions you make about future events are accurate. But actual future events will depend entirely on your opponents’ actions and reactions, which can be unpredictable. Just because you make logical assumptions about what your opponents will do, it doesn’t mean they will do them. The bottom line is, if your assumptions about future are correct, implied odds calculations will be more accurate than pot odds calculations. On the other hand, if your assumptions about the future are incorrect, implied odds analysis will yield a less accurate result. For a detailed discussion of these concepts, see their definition in our glossary.

Usage: Chased and Got There, Don’t Chase, Chase You Down, Chaser, Chasing

Previous Poker Term: Case Card
Next Poker Term: Check


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