Nov 19, 2007

Pot Limit Omaha Basics

In Pot Limit Omaha
by Clonie Gowen

Most Pot Limit Omaha players know that Omaha is a game of "the nuts." In a multi-way pot, the winning hand is, more often than not, the best possible hand out there. When you start with four cards, you have six different possible two-card hands. This increases the chances that someone is holding the nuts. What many beginning Pot Limit Omaha players do not understand is that Omaha is really a game of redraws.

A redraw means that after the flop, you not only have some kind of made hand, you also have draws to a better hand. Having redraws in Pot Limit Omaha is so important that it is sometimes mathematically correct to fold the nuts on the flop. For example: suppose you raise in the late position with Ac Kh Tc 9h -- a very good starting Omaha hand. Two players call and you see the flop three-handed. The flop comes 6d 7s 8s. You've flopped the nut straight, which is the best hand possible at the moment. The problem is that you have absolutely no chance to improve your hand. This is as good as it gets. This may be okay if both of your opponents check to you. But, if one opponent makes a pot-sized bet and the next one makes a pot-sized raise, then what do you do? How can you fold the nuts?

If one of your opponents has flopped a set, and the other player -- or possibly even the same player -- has a flush draw, you are almost a 2-1 dog to win the pot. If one of those opponents has the same straight as you with a flush draw as well, or a wrap to a higher straight (such as 9,T,J), your hand is even worse because you can only win half the pot even if you don't lose to a flush or full house. You have to ask yourself what your opponents would possibly be betting and raising with on this flop. If there is a chance that all of the redraws are out against you, then you should always fold. If both of your opponents check and either one is tricky enough to be capable of a check raise, then you should still check this flop. If a blank comes on the turn - the 3c for instance -- your hand will be much stronger. Keep in mind, though, that if all of those draws are still out against you, even now you're not much better than 50% to win
this pot.

Having multiple redraws to the nuts is much better in Omaha than having the best hand at the moment. Lay this hand down and save your chips for use in a better spot.

Good luck!

Clonie Gowen