Here is the second article in a series dedicated to beginner strategies. We will talk about how to win in Pot-Limit Omaha.
In Omaha, pre-flop play is a little less important than in Hold’em. Having said that, however, the pre-flop remains a crucial street. And just like in Hold’em, folding weak hands before the flop makes it easy to make decisions about subsequent decisions.
The easiest way to understand this concept is to keep the following in mind:
- The more weak hands you play, the more marginal hands you will close
- The more marginal hands you close, the more difficult the decisions you will have to make
- The more difficult the decisions, the greater the number of mistakes you will makeThe more mistakes you make, the more money you will lose
Very simple. So, just like in Hold’em, you need to train for rigorous discipline, avoid problematic hands, and focus on what in Omaha can make you win a lot of money.
When you play good hands before the flop, playing from the flop onwards becomes much easier. This is because good pre-flop hands have a higher percentage of turning into post-flop winning hands. Very often, a good starting hand is enough to take the pot home, regardless of what flop, turn and river they place on the board.
So which hands should I play?
When you think about the qualities of a good starting hand in Omaha, you must always ask yourself:
“How can I close the nuts?”
Hands that are the second best are expensive, so closing the nuts (i.e. reaching the highest possible hand value) is the main goal.
Your selection of hands should be based on this concept. You want hands that can connect firmly with the flop, hands like 8 ♠ 9 ♠ T ♥ J ♥.
A double-suited high rundown like 8 ♠ 9 ♠ T ♥ J ♥ is even better than a pair of aces, in the deep-stack game of Pot-Limit Omaha.
This is because when he hits the flop, he does it firmly.
Imagine yourself 8 ♠ 9 ♠ T ♥ J ♥ on a flop 7 ♥ 8 ♥ 9 ♦.
In this case you flopped the nut flush with a flush flush draw and the top two pair.
Okay, this is a rare case. But it shows how different Omaha is from Hold’em.
You want hands that can flop great flops in more ways than one. You want to hit something and something else too.
Also be careful to distinguish the nuts potential of a hand, not always immediately recognizable. If you come from Texas Hold’em, you might think that a hand made up of three or four aces is the best possible … and instead any hand that contains three equal cards is a bad hand!
This is because in Omaha two private cards are compulsorily used in connection with three of the five cards of the board. It goes without saying that having three aces cannot therefore be an advantage, but instead is a huge disadvantage because it excludes a card from potential combinations.
The hands made up of two pairs (like AAKK or KKQQ) are instead very strong pre-flop, for obvious reasons, but from the flop on they are not the best, unless they have hit the top set or are also accompanied by projects of scale or color.
Connectedness, suitedness and flopability
When deciding which hands you want to play in Omaha, you should keep these three factors in mind:
- Suited and Double Suitedness
The term “connectedness” is obvious: you want cards that can flop nuts in many ways.
In Hold’em, suited connectors are great because they can close hands from big pots, like ladders.
In Omaha, four consecutive cards represent a very strong hand, because they have even more ways to flop ladders and straight draws.
Suited and double suitedness
The concepts of “suitedness” and “double suitedness” are similar.
If you flop a straight or a two pair, it doesn’t hurt to get a flush draw as well.
If your hand is double-suited (two pairs of cards of the same suit) your flush draw can be either plan A or plan B.
In short, you have multiple options.
For example, if you have A ♦ A ♠ 3 ♦ 8 ♠ on a 9 ♠ 2 ♦ 5 ♣ flop, your main hand is the pair of aces.
But you also have two nut backdoor color projects, which can always help.
If you have a hand like 8 ♠ 9 ♠ A ♣ T ♣ and the flop is 6 ♠ 7 ♣ 5 ♣, you have flopped the nuts. But if you go all-in against an opponent who flopped nuts like you, you will play a freeroll thanks to your nut flush draw.
The term “flopability” refers to the fact that the flop connects with a part of your hand, also giving you some other options.
For example, a hand like 8 ♠ 8 ♦ 7 ♠ 6 ♦ has good flopability.
Let’s say the flop is 8 ♥ 5 ♣ 3 ♠. You hit the top set, but since your hand has excellent flopability, you also have a bilateral straight draw.
In Omaha you always want to flop something with something else.
The best hand can change on every single street, therefore it is always a good idea to have more than one arrow in your quiver.
Play hands that give you ample opportunity and which force your opponents to guess. In this way on the one hand you will have ample room to improve a point that could potentially already be a winner, and on the other you will keep your opponents in complete darkness, because they will wonder if you are not simply chasing a project, if instead you could have a hand already completed or – why not – if you are not simply bluffing.
A note on the location
We will talk more about it, but in Omaha the position is extremely important.
Being able to take a free card or bluff when your opponent checks is even more important in Omaha than Hold’em, just because the best hand can change on any street.
If you play too much from out of position in Omaha, too often you will have to guess someone else’s hand, and you will lose a lot of money.
While learning to play Omaha it is very important to play very tight when you are out of position. This will allow you to lose less pots (and therefore less money), because you will avoid being in uncomfortable situations, in which maybe you have a hand with which you would like to continue the game, but not being in position you cannot even estimate how much this could cost you .
Then, when you are more experienced, you can start playing more hands from out of position, but while you are still learning this literally means wasting money.
How not to suck Omaha: Playing Tight and in Position
The foundations of a good game in Pot Limit Omaha begin before the flop.
It’s very easy to get caught up in the random nature of the game, and wanting to play too many hands, but this should be avoided.
Concentrate on tight play, especially from out of position. You want hands that can connect firmly to the flop and have more potential.
If you can play this way, and not fall into the trap of gambling too much, you will be on the right track.