Steve, the Intro that you wrote is very good. It just about sums up my entire knowledge of the game and how I
try to play in the local Mississippi HiLo games. The games are usually 3-6 Kill, 4-8 half kill, 5-10 Kill and 10-20 Kill. The game I play
in most is a 3-6 Kill at the Silver Star in central Mississippi. Most of the other games are about 3 hours away in Tunica and on the Coast.
My game is still developing, but I am still an overall winner the last three years. Omaha HiLo has been the most consistent money
maker for me since I realized the edge Omaha presents. You and Dr. Ed Hutchison have been my mentors. I kept seeing Doc Hutchison constantly
stacking up his chips and going home a winner. I flat out asked for help. He pointed me to his webpage with the point count system. Your
Lee Munzer interview in Poker Digest
also played a significant role. I studied Doc's system and used it for 4-5
sessions. It worked. I won. I haven't used it in a
game in over 2 years.
Before I started using Doc's system I had no clue about what a good starting hand could be. I knew A-2 was good. I also thought 2-5
was nice. Doc's system helped me focus on what the good hands are in Omaha. I really had no other way to learn.
Windows - Mac
The tuition for learning Omaha in live games can be rather expensive. Doc's system in effect gave me a scholarship. In addition, I was
able to skip a few elementary grades because I now had learned the basic starting hands that are profitable in Omaha. Sure a point
count system is a crutch, but the long term goal is to throw away the crutch and walk on your own two feet.
A few comments on sections from your fine introduction:
INTRODUCTION TO OMAHA STRATEGY (ITOS) - "but it is very easy to teach a player to play way-above-average Omaha... but the basic advice
is to play with great discipline... but having discipline
is an advanced skill... and is boring as paste."
COMMENT - Right on the mark. This also gives some justification for early use of Doc's system. It is rather tight and if a player
follows it they will have great discipline before the flop.
ITOS - "Starting hands... Unlike Holdem, where
post-flop play is far more critical, winning Omaha fundamentally begins with starting hands. Starting hands exist before the flop,
which is where you get enormous edges in Omaha against a field."
COMMENT - I hate to use your words to back up my belief in Doc's system as a learner's tool, but the strong starting hand nature of
Omaha makes Doc's system useful for a beginner. Of course, you get your edge by knowing what to do with a starting hand. At least, a
beginner can start with a hand with an edge.
ITOS - "Not counting AA and perhaps KK, Holdem hands run much closer in value than Omaha hands do -- urban myths not to the contrary.
If you don't know and appreciate this basic concept, you are going to be in trouble in Omaha. Omaha has a fairly large group of hands
that will win at double the rate of randomish hands. Few Holdem hands can say the same."
COMMENT - This may be what is deceiving some people. Omaha has more hands that can be big winners. Holdem probably has more hands can
just be a small winner. Thus, I will play more hands before the flop in Holdem. I just will not win big with many of them.
ITOS - "Before the flop: you should play hands that have a high expectation; you should manipulate the pot size; you should try to
manipulate your opponents so that
when you have a hand that plays well against fewer opponents you are playing against fewer opponents and when you have a hand that plays
well against a full field you are playing against a full field."
"After the flop: the flop is critical. Here you should begin to roughly calculate the probabilities and deduce how favorable your
chances are to win. Again, here a player should be manipulating the pot -- get more chips in when the odds favor you, try to minimize
when you have a longer shot."
COMMENT - I don't think there have been two paragraphs written that better state the "Essence of Winning Low Limit Omaha."
ITOS - "The RGP
Posts section of this website addresses several fallacies involving Omaha point count systems, and
starting hand charts in general. There are
a lot of reasons these systems are a bad idea, but the most basic flaw is they view Omaha hands as several two-card units."
"It should be easy enough to see though that while 3d3h is a basically useless Omaha holding on its own, when combined with an As2s it
now becomes a powerful aspect of a coordinated hand! Viewing the 33 out of the context of the A2 is a serious error."
COMMENT - Doc Hutchison's system
does not look at an Omaha hand as a series of two card units. It takes into account all four cards at once and awards points based on
the basic two card low and gives additional points for kickers, pairs and suited cards.
ITOS - "Beyond the simplistic thinking about starting hands, it is critical to think of Omaha hands as four card units after the flop.
You might play As2s3dQd, but end up with a flop of Qs9c2c. Before the flop no point-count system would assign the Qd2s aspect of your
hand any value, but now here on the flop it is part of your whole hand, and you must think in terms of how you have two pair, a
backdoor flush draw, a back door nut low draw, a backdoor wheel draw, etc. Omaha hands are multifaceted and multi-dimensional. They
should be viewed and analyzed as integrated wholes, not separate parts. An Omaha hand can be greater than the sum of its parts, or
sometimes even less, but Omaha hands are always four cards."
COMMENT - Doc's system, of course, recognizes the power of A-2-3. It also gives additional credence to the suited A, the suited Q and
the Q as a kicker. I've dug up my old cheat sheet to show you the actual points here on this hand. A2 = 20 points, 3 kicker = 9
points., suited Ace = 4 points, suited Queen = 2 points, Queen kicker = 2 pts. For a total of 37 points. Twenty points are considered
the lower limit for calling in early position. This hand screams raise to build a pot. If I changed the Q kicker to an unsuited nine
the hand is lessened in value by four points, but the hand still suggests raise.
I'm sure I will never convince you to change you mind about using Doc's point count system as a learning tool in Omaha. However, I
found it to be helpful to me. I'm just anecdotal evidence, but it worked for me.
I couldn't tell you the point value of a single hand I played last night. My cheat sheet for Doc's system is only found in a file on
my computer. I haven't needed it for over two years. It was another good night. Three hours of play, positive three big kill bets an
hour against a table of regular players who for the most part don't have a clue about "The Essence of Omaha."
Needless to say, I do not plan to distribute copies of your excellent "Introduction" to any of them.
I don't think you have ever met Dr. Ed Hutchison. I and most other players consider him to be the best low limit Omaha HiLo player in
Mississippi. He has a Ph.D. in psychology. He is a gentleman and a scholar. I've never seen him on tilt. His discipline is excellent.
He combines these strengths with his psychology based people reading skills to outplay everyone pre and post-flop. It is like he can
see the front and backs of cards and peer down into player's souls at the same time.
I hope I haven't been too long winded in my COMMENT. Maybe you can see some insight into why Doc's system worked for me and how it
could work for some others. I don't think it will work for everyone because most players don't have and don't want the discipline to
use it to take an exponential leap in learning starting hands.
Frank "mredge" Bowen