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Omaha Strategy

Pot-Limit Omaha is one of the most fun and yet heartbreaking card games to have ever been played. This variation has so many ups and downs in the same hand that people often think that there is no strategy to it. I have sat down at poker tables where players just keep raising the pot, after which they run it as many times as they feel like. But that’s not poker. That’s not even gambling. That’s just stupid. 


The truth is, Pot-limit Omaha, like Texas Hold’em, has a significant element of strategy involved.  I like to argue that in Omaha, folding is the most important action. This article explains why. 


Firstly, if you flopped top pair, along with the best or decently high kicker, and you face a pot bet, you’re most likely not ahead of your opponent. The most common mistake made by many Omaha beginners is that they treat it like No-Limit Hold’em. In PLO, a flop bet (on an unpaired flop) could mean a two pair, set, straight or flush. A paired board could very well mean a full house. If you have just a pair, with no draws to the nuts, throw your hand into the muck. 


Secondly, if you flop the nuts, say nut flush, you are still in danger! It is very easy to flop a set and turn a full house (or river it). Similarly, flopping the nut straight but with a flush draw on the board won’t drive away players with nut flush draws. Thus, never raise the pot so high that you can be called all-in, since it is very likely that you get sucked out on the river. If you have flopped the nuts, either you raise to make your opponents fold, or check it down till the turn at least so that you reduce your opponent’s odds of calling a river bet. 


Thirdly, do not play all hands. It is a common misconception that all pockets should be played. But low pockets should be avoided because they can make you lose a lot of money if you have a set but someone has hit a higher set. Double suited hands should be played till the flop at least. A wrap is a very strong situation in PLO. A wrap is a type of straight draw in your hand where you have more outs than an open-ended straight draw. Basically, wraps give you straight draws where you have more than 8 outs. Technically, the most powerful wrap draw has 20 outs. For example, if you’re holding 


T♥ 9♠ 5♣ 6♣


The flop comes out to be -  2♥ 7♠ 8♥


This is a very strong hand, since any 4, 5, 6, 9, 10 or J gives you a straight. A Queen on the turn gives you even more outs, since 9 T J Q gives you an open ender, with a K adding four more outs. 


Lastly, do not go all in without the stone-cold nuts! On a paired board, top full-house, even though not the nuts, is a strong enough hand to shove with, since it is very difficult to put your opponent on Four of a Kind. But when it comes to straights and flushes, always play for the nuts, unless you have the nut blocker, in which case, you can try to pull off a bluff. 


PLO is a risky game, and often very fast paced. Play it according to your pace. Do not be in a hurry to win big chunks of money. Wait for the best hand, and extract maximum value. PLO is a game where players who lack composure and calm thinking go broke very easily. Do not be one of them. Play by the book.



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