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April 11, 2005
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Poker Lesson: In Pot Limit...
Author: 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.
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