Pot Limit Omaha Poker Cash Games Guide - Part 2

Pot Limit Omaha Cash Games - Pot Odds, Bluffing, Pairs, Flops

Limping or Raising Before the Flop

Your opponent's hand always has a chance of beating your hand in Omaha. Even a A-A-K-K double-suited is 50,000:1 (against) and that hand is a 3:2 favourite to win against 8-7-6-5 double-suited. That brings up whether or not you should raise when you hold a good starting hand.

Should you only raise when holding Aces? The problem with this is that you become predictable; other players will never make a mistake against you if you get this predictable.

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What about limping in? This can be better than raising with Aces all the time, but it is not optimal. Whenever you bet, raise or call on the flop, your opponents will also have a good idea of what cards you have. If you never raise pre-flop, you won't make other limping players pay enough to see the flop when you do have a b starting hand. You won't pick up as many pots as compared to using a raising strategy.

By raising pre-flop with a variety of hands, you will gain several big advantages: you can't be predictabled, you win more pots, you force other players to pay when you are likely to have the best hand, and you get more chances to bluff. It is also much more fun to play according to this strategy. It becomes clear that a strategy combining raising and limping with a variety of hands is the best.

What Hands to Raise

Pre-flop, raise any of the top 30 hands listed above which hold at least one suit and most that don't. This alone will not be enough and you have to raise with more hands. Add any four cards in a row that are double-suited with Six or higher, and all single and double suited A-K-x-x with at least one x-card, 10 or higher. Hands like Q-J-9-8 or J-T-9-7 double suited are good raise hands.

Summary:

1. All top 30 hands with at least one suit and most of the time when off suit.
2. All suited A-K-x-x with at least one x-card, Ten or higher.
3. All double suited four in a row of hands, Five or higher.
4. All double suited connected hands, Five or higher, with a maximum of one gap between the top two and the two low cards or between the low card and the three high cards. An example is K-Q-T-9 double suited and J-9-8-6 double suited.
5. All K-K-x-x double suited.

What hands to limp with

1. All A-Q-x-x with at least one x-card, Ten or higher, and the Ace being suited.
2. All four in a row combinations, Four or higher.
3. All A-x-x-x anything with at least two x-cards that are connected and the Ace being suited.
4. All four in a row combinations, Five or higher, with a maximum of one gap that is not between the top and bottom three cards in the hand.

General Flop Advice

Your pre-flop raise history makes a difference in how you play your hand. If you are a known pre-flop raise player and the pot is short-handed, consider betting out even if you hand did not improve. If it is three-handed and you raise with two bare As, the flop holds Q-J-T, there's a flush draw but you don't have it. Check and see what the other players do. If the flop were Q-6-3 with no flush draw, you should bet out. This gives some unpredictability to your playing style, allowing you to win more pots. You shouldn't slow-play any hand when you hit hard on the flop, and never give free cards in Omaha because it carries a lot more risk than in Hold'em.

Two Pairs

Two pairs is a hard hand to deal with in Omaha. While it is a b hand, it is not b enough that you feel completely comfortable committing mcuh cash to it. You should have at least a top two pair to act on the flop. There are too many ways you can lose or be outdrawn. When straight and/or flush draws are on the board and you are called, use your best judgement about whether to bet again on the turn. Consider the type of players playing against you. If you think your opponent will keep drawing, bet in an effort to shut him out. In Omaha, when someone just calls on the flop, they are on a draw, or theyhave a bottom set or a weak two pair and don't want to release on the flop. Bottom two pair and top and bottom two pair are not worth playing on the flop. The most dangerous thing about these hands is you can trap yourself when a full house appears on the turn and someone else gets a larger full hours.

Sets

Because you already know that playing small pairs is risky, don't let yourself fall into scenarios where you face a bigger set. If you raised pre-flop, bet-out on the flop if you hit the set. It is rarely incorrect to bet-out with a top set in short-handed pots, even if the board looks a bit frightening. When you flop a set, you have a 34% chance of getting a full house at the turn and river combined.

Some players will only raise Aces, and if one of these types raises before the flop and an Ace flops, put them on the top set quickly. This is especially good if they limped in from early position and re-raised the pot after it was raised after them. They will usually hold Aces.

Straight Draws

You will flop many types of straight draws when playing Omaha. You want "wrap-around" straight draws. This is when the flop comes along with two cards that connect and you have the surrounding cards. Here are examples:

1. Hand: Q-J-8-x    Flop: T-9-x     Outs: 17 (wrap around)
2. Hand: J-8-7-x     Flop: T-9-x     Outs: 17 (wrap around)
3. Hand: K-Q-J-x    Flop: T-9-x     Outs: 13
4. Hand: 8-7-6-x    Flop: T-9-x     Outs: 13
5. Hand Q-J-8-7     Flop: T-9-x     Outs: 20 (double wrap around)

It is much better to have more overcards than undercards when drawing so you can hit the bigger straight. Hand 1 in the example above is better than Hand 2; Hand 3 is better than Hand 4. Sometimes Hands 1 or 2 will go all-in at the flop and when this happens, Hand 2 goes down in strength greatly.

Bet most of your big draws on the flop for two reasons: you can win immediately with the semi-bluff and because it switches up your play making you less predictable. If you play this way, no one will be able to decide if you are betting a made hand or a draw.

When you hit a 13-way straight draw at the flop and draw to the nuts even with no possible flush draws, you will become involved in the pot. With the 13 nut outs, you have a 29% chance of hitting on the turn and 50% of hitting with the turn and river combined. If an opponent bets the amount of the pot, call or raise, depending on the specific situation and the player invovled.

The Turn

The turn is when you will be making some big decisions. Bet again? Re-raise the max? Fold? Call? You have to decide based on too many factors to include here, but there are a few guidelines you can follow. If you have the nuts, bet on the flop and, if you still have the nuts at the turn, bet the maximum again. If another player is probably drawing, shut him out or charge him a lot to try to get the draw on you. If you hold a minimum of 13 outs, call a pot-sized bet at the turn, but only if both you and the other play have money left at the river. 13 outs give you a bit less than 2:1 against improving your cards and those are the pot odds in this case as well. The implied odds make a call correct if there is money left to win.

The River

When you have the nuts, squeeze out the maximum from the other player. If you missed the draw,, you must fold or bluff. A lot of your decision will depend on how big the pot is and whether you hold a good hand but only lacking the nuts.

Consider you opposition and their capabilities. Will the other player bluff if you check into him or her? Will that player check? Should you value bet with a good hand that is not the nuts?

Omaha Bluffing

Bluffing has a place and role in every form of poker. In Omaha, bluffing is used less than in Hold'em but it is still an important skill. Bluff when you hold one or more key cards in the hand, such as the bare Ace with a possible flush on the board. Here are points to consider when deciding whether to bluff or not:

1. Type of opponent: Don' bluff weak opponents who call with just anything. These players are known as "calling stations". This is a very common mistake. You need to be certain your opponent is a good enough player to fold.

2. Number of opponents: Don't bluff againt three or more players. A bluff is much more likely to succeed against a single opponent, because the pot is usually smaller, which makes it less desirable.

3. Your table image: For a bluff to succeed if you have a tight table image as opposed to a loose one. If you were caught bluffing recently, other players may call you in the future, although reverse psychology can prove beneficial in these situations. If a good player caught you bluffing and he regards you as a good player, he might think you wouldn't dare to bluff him again.

4. How well you read players: If you "read" the game well and are able to put your opponents, you can identify good bluffing opportunities. This is probably the hardest but most important skill to master.

5. The board: When the board looks as if it could have hit your opponents or presents many drawing possibilities, a bluff is lun to be successful. Look for boards without lots of draws and with cards that are unlikely to improve the other players' hands. If you represent a hand, the bluff is more likely to work. An uncoordinated board with a scare card allowing you to represent is a good bluffing opportunity.

6. The pot size: Other players will be more likely to call when the pot is big because of the better pot odds. But, if you make a successful bluff in a big pot, you win more. This is where judgement comes into play.

7. Position: When in late position, you will usually have more access to information about the other players' hands and, you will be in a better situation to bluff. If it is checked to you, and the board looks favourable and there are few players in the pot, take the opportunity.

Made Hand vs. Drawing Hands on the Flop

Let us look at some odds for made hands vs. drawing hands on the flop when playing Omaha.

Made Hand Drawing Hand Favourite

Set overpair and flush draw Set 1.97
Set gut-shot straight and flush draw Set 1.91
Set overpair and straight draw Set 1.88
Set 13-way straight draw Set 1.44
Set open-ended straight and flush draw Set 1.38
Set 17-way straight draw Set 1.03
Set 13-way straight and flush draw Set 1.01 (even money)
Set 20-way straight draw Draw 1.19
Set 17-way straight and flush draw Draw 1.27
Set 20-way straight and flush draw Draw 1.43

Pot Odds

Pot odds are used to calculate if a certain play has a positive expected return. It is defined as the relationship between the size of the pot and the wager. For example, if the pot is $100 and you bet $10, the pot odds are 10:1. In order to calculate pot odds, you must know how many outs your hand has available. If you flop a nut heart flush draw, you then have 9 outs to make your hand. There are 13 hearts in total. You hold 2 and the flop came with 2, leaving 9 hearts unseen.

Refer to the table below and you'll note that you have a 35% chance of hitting with 9 outs on the turn and river combined. This is a bit better than 1 in 3 times, meaning that if it costs you $10 to win $30 or more, making drawing for a flush the correct move.

Every out gives you about a 4% chance of hitting on the turn and river combined. If 5 outs gives you about a 20% chance of improving, 6 outs about 24%, and so on.

Outs for specific draws

Double wrap around straight draw 20 outs
Wrap around straight draw 17 outs
Straight flush draw 15 outs
Flush draw and overpair 11 outs
Flush draw 9 outs
Open-ended straight draw 8 outs
Three pair 6 outs
Two pair 4 outs

Drawing outs from a deck of 45 unseen cards

Number   % on River
of outs
4             17
5             21
6             25
7             29
8             33
9             36
10           40
11           43
12           47
13           50
14           53
15           56
16           59
17           62
18           65
19           67
20           70

Omaha Poker Strategy Guide:

Strategy Article 1. Pot Limit Omaha Cash Games Skills Advice Flops - Part 1

Strategy Article 2. Omaha Hi Starting Hands

Strategy Article 3. Omaha Hi Lo - Playing Aces

Strategy Article 4. Omaha Pot Limit Advice and Tips

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