Omaha HiLo Starting Hands
> Question came up in connection with a tightening up and improvement
> of my Omaha 8 game, consequent -- don't know if you read the post -- to my
> using TJ Cloutier's
strategies in his Omaha book, and articulating these with
> my discovery that the Turbo Omaha8 program... count strategies for RERAISED
> hands only, give you a good approach to the game. Cloutier suggests always
> having a backup card to A 2 and A 3, including the 6, but his approach to A 4
> and A 5 isn't as clear as it should be.
Focusing on hands without a game texture is not a very good idea. For example, AK54 is a terrific reraising hand in a tight game, and
a solidly profitable hand in a loose game, but it is in
trouble in a game right smack in the middle of
A54 is a uniquely strong Omaha holding in that if *any* low is made, especially flopped, your hand going to be well-integrated with
the board. This is not true of A24, or A25 or even A35. These hands have greater low strength, but they have a tougher time making a
hand that scoops the pot. It's no coincidence that a lot of people like Holdem hands like 54 or 56 or 53 or 57. A five is a very good
card in flop game poker, especially in Hilo split.
Windows - Mac
Omaha8 Starting Hands and Point Count Systems
Ken Kubey wrote...
> Pairs 88 thru 33 should have a negative value attached.
A233, A244, A255, A288.... these are terrific hands, and feature examples of holdings that have no value on their own (88 say) but can
add tremendously to the value of another seemingly unrelated independent holding (A2 for example).
Omaha is a game where a hand consists of four cards. Point count systems that value two card holdings can sometimes correctly discern
the approximate value of a hand, but they are missing the point of the game. Hands do not work that way. Players should not think
about hands that way. Values within a hand are not independent, and it's a fundamental mistake to think they are.
Ken Kubey wrote...
> In your 'terrific' hands' examples you include A288. I'm struggling to see the
> value of what appear to be uncoordinated 8's. The 5's and 4's I can see have
> possible low+straight+set-making value. Could you explain?
If A2 is going to be any good, there needs to be a combination of at least three different cards 3,4,5,6,7,8. Any of these combos that
includes an 8 should be obviously please. Any of these combos that do not include an 8, make two eights an overpair to at least 3/5ths
of the board, which if you manipulate the pot properly will often be able to win high.
The reason to play A2 is not because A2 is such a super great hand. It is a profitable holding on it's own, but you play A2 so that
you can essentially get a freeroll on the other two cards in your hand. In the case of A288, there will be a lot of flops where you
can really drive the action multiway, even besides the obvious ones like 873. Flops like like 987, Ks8s3s, 447, 369... boards where
betting A2 would make no sense, now become betting hands with the 88. The 88 is not a holding that is going to be super useful very
often, but when it is, it will usually come into play in a big pot where you are getting way the best of it.
Pre-Flop Omaha HiLo Play
> Ah, nice to see that this lunacy isn't restricted to the low-limit
> Omaha8 Paradise games. A question, Badger: I've been playing
> O8 down there for a while now and love the game, but I'm making
> really slow progress money-wise. The reason seems to be that it's
> *very* hard to scoop unless I back into a nut high with no low possible.
Ace-baby-suited, plus pot manipulation so that you get people to fold on the end when you represent a hand you don't have. That only
happens rarely in low limit but one half a pot a day is quite a lot of money. But see below...
> The reason for *that* seems to be that players stay in with almost any 4 cards,
> so somebody will probably get their high hit pretty hard by the board, meaning
> I'm usually fighting for the low half and often being quartered there.
If you have tons of players, getting quartered is still profitable, and all you have to do is hit your flush draw or gut shot straight
draw on rare occasion to make a dandy hit. But see below...
> e.g. if the board allows a low with, say, 874, someone in those family pots
> is almost guaranteed to have stuff like K965
Fine. See below.
> Just keep grinding with respectable hands, or play even tighter?
I don't like the word tighter here because that is misleading. You want to play suited aces, and you really want them with good other
cards. But still see below...
> Also, reading McEvoy and Cloutier's Omaha book I noticed the part where they
> say "no Omaha hand is worth an initial raise". This makes sense to me as you
> don't have a hand till you see the flop. Do you agree with them?
I believe that is in their Pot Limit book. It's totally wrong for the type of game online. You should be raising with *most* of the
hands you play. THAT is where you make your money in loose Omaha8 games. You want to charge all the players who have hands like K965.
Sure, one of the five of them might split the pot with you, but the other ones contributed to that pot. Aside from playing good
starting cards, there is simply no better game tactic for loose Omaha8 games than commonly/sensibly raising before the flop. First
under the gun with A225, hell no don't raise, but after two limpers, absolutely raise.
Omaha8 is starting hands. Starting hands exist before the flop. That is where you get enormous edges in the game against a field. On
the turn you'll get plenty of times where some players are even drawing dead, and that is clearly the juiciest money in the game, but
the simplest, most direct, most necessary way to beat these games is to get more money in the pot when you have A255 and several of
your opponents have hands like K965.
Omaha HiLo Hand Selection
John Silveira wrote...
> 1) What hands an O8 beginner should consider playing when
defending the BB.
> 2) What hands to consider playing when completing the SB and which hands to
> to consider playing when there's one raise.
Game liveliness makes a big difference, but as for a raise when you are in the small blind, basically you should play whatever hands
that you would play on the button. In my normal game there isn't any hand that I would add in the small blind that I wouldn't play on
the button for two bets. (Unless when you say "defending" the big blind you mean head-up. That's a different story than multiway.)
> I call one raise (only) if I'm the Big Blind with at least three high cards
> (ten to Ace, no trips, of course) and I'll complete the Small Blind with
> the same hand. It's the possibility of the high straight or a high full
> house along with the times two high pairs just win that I'm looking for.
> Naturally, the hand is always better when it also contains a flush possibility.
You should be mucking these that don't have an ace at least until you become more sure of yourself.
> I'll play four to a middle-size straight or three to a middle-size straight
> that has a pair, from the blinds to either call one bet in the Big Blind or
> complete the Small Blind.
These are always crap. Muck them.
> I'll complete the SB or defend the BB with any A3 or 23 or an A4 where
> the Ace is suited. And, of course, I'll play any low hands I consider
> better than these.
23 is the hand that costs inexperienced players the most money. It shouldn't be the worst hand in Omaha, but for most players it
Ed Canuck wrote...
> I understand that you don't have a lot of use for point count systems
> in Omaha8, primarily because you feel that the entire hand should be
> treated as a coordinated unit, not just combinations of 2 cards. It seems
> to me that the Hutchison system tries to take this into account and does a
> pretty good job. Could you give some examples of opening hands that you
> feel the system either undervalues or overvalues and your reasoning?
Undervalues.... As6sAd7d. This was discussed earlier this year. See the January RGP Posts page. As for overvalues, in the hands of most players,
a naked 23 should be rated a negative value, certainly not positive. I believe more money is lost on that holding than any other.
> What would constitute your minimum calling hand with 23 in an unraised pot?
For most players... outside the blinds... nothing. I'd play 2s3s4c5c most of the time, and in a really loose passive game it would be
okay for most players, but as a general rule 23 should just be mucked. It *should* be profitable in many players hands when it comes
with a 4, 5 or is double suited, but I would guess probably isn't, because most players won't play it well after the flop.
> Barf. KK9Tds makes a bunch of non nut hands. In a full ring you almost
> have to have the A of your suit land in order to be able to push this hand.
> Otherwise your going to be winning little halfs and losing big halfs.
> Cheap in this case should mean your happily rapping in the big blind
> or a post. I can't find my poker probe disk at the moment but I highly
> doubt KK9Tds even wins its fair share. Anybody got a simulator handy
> to run the showdown numbers?
Just ran KsKdTs9d in a 100,000 hand, nine-handed, no foldem simulation on Poker Probe. The hand scooped 9073 times. It won high in a
split another 12,762 times. With this hand in the field, the random hands were able to scoop in the 3200 neighborhood. The is a HUGE
hand in this situation. It gets a piece of the pot about 21.8% of the time nine-handed. (I'm not sure how Poker Probe allocates 1/4
Few players recognize the strength of KK in loose Omaha games. Pass the barf over here. Unlike most other strong Omaha hands though,
it is very dependent on the flop, and in a tight game it's crap. A similar hand, AAT9 double suited scooped 7729 times, and won half
another 15,999 times.... getting a piece 23.7%.
> I recently read your Omaha Poker Strategy and have since started
> playing the micro limits at Paradise. I was wondering where I can get
> more insight into starting hand selection (not a chart, I know how much
> you love them) as well as the deeper intricacies of the game. Just to let
> you know I thought you Omaha intro was amazingly informative and has
> helped me play some real solid omaha8 (for a newbie). I'm curious about
> your view of a hand like As9s3d4h, is this playable, hands like this
> me a bit but I think they are playable am I a fool or on track to making
> some headway as Omaha player.
Since your thread title mentioned Holdem, I assume you come to Omaha from a Holdem background so you likely may not appreciate the
intricacies of low-hand poker. You play a little while and you'll get that though. At Paradise micro-limits, hands like you describe
can safely be played for one or two bets any time. Even if this hand is not the best one out there, probably three people are in each
pot with very poor hands. Take-the-flop percentages in these games usually are between 45 and 55%.
If you approach the flop with caution with a hand like this, against four opponents, and then play post-flop correctly, the hand will
do great. This hand gets people into trouble if they play poorly post-flop (like calling two bets with a AK7 flop). A big bunch of the
starting hands you will want to play in Omaha don't take that much sense to play post-flop. This group of more speculative hands
should just be viewed as needing to hit the flop more squarely. If you don't wildly chase when you are drawing slim, this hand is the
sort of hand a newbie should be
learning how to play. It would be nicely
profitable for an excellent player in these games, and newbies should be learning how to get to that point.
Rate an Omaha8 Hand
> A couple of weeks ago there was a thread on here where Badger
> and some others were saying AQ88 suited was a payable hand.
> Part of the argument was that Badger believed flopping trip 8s
> gave you a good hand. Please explain why AQ88 is a better hand
> than TT99 double suited.
The value of the AQ88 was first in a suited ace. It's second value is AQ. It's third value is 88. The top value of TT99 is flopping a
set. It's straight power is very vulnerable because either there will be a low or there will be a good chance it is only second nut,
especially if it ends up being only a one card straight.
A suited ace is the prime nut hand in a nut game. You can't make a better flush than an ace flush, except a rare straight flush. TT99
will normally and easily not make a nut hand, or even will be vulnerable to obscure hands (like on the turn a board is 9554, so any
picture card might kill it). Besides straight flushes, nut flushes have precisely one mortal enemy -- a board pair. Sure, if you flop
a ten or a nine, you will make money, but as the prime draw it is a lousy one.
But remember, the other hand was AQ88 on the button with five limpers. Calling with TT99 in the same situation would be okay -- about
the only time it should be played outside the blinds.
If I'm in the big blind, I'd much rather have As9s99 than 9876o. The first is an extremely easy hand to play, that has a very clear
target hand. The second is a bunch of nightmares. AQ88 is mostly a straightforward hand. The TT99 can lead to more sorts of
Differences in the Value of a Suited Ace in Omaha
> I see your point about the reduction in value of A234 without a suited
> ace, but isn't AKQJ reduced in value by approximately the same amount
> without a suited ace? The hands posted by Lee both have suited aces.
> So I'm wondering if you intentionally singled out A234 and didn't include
> AKQJ or if not including AKQJ was simply an oversight. If they shouldn't
> both have been included, then I'm missing something.
10,000 poker probe hands, ten handed fields, all opponents are random hands...
Scoops 794 times
Scoops 632 times
Scoops 648 times
Scoops 299 times
The offsuit big cards would scoop at a rate of about 80% compared to if the ace was suited. The offsuit baby cards would scoop at a
rate of about 46% compared to if the ace was suited. The change in strength isn't in the same ballpark.
Bad Hands That Look Good
A hand being discussed (2s3s4d7h in Omaha) makes me think of the data one cardroom put out about the actual results of all Holdem
hands for the first six million games played on their site.
Notice that the hands that lost the most money are obviously not the "worst" hands possible. The biggest money loser (not
coincidentally) is 32s. It lost more than 32o or 72o. Then also, A2o lost more than 32o.
One thing to take from this is pretty darn clear... overvaluing crap cards is a kiss of death. Hands that should do better than other
hands (32s should do better than 32o) end up doing markedly worse because people play them and think they "have" something. These sort
of statistics are impossible for Omaha, but my view is
that 23 is the single most costly Omaha holding in the hands of 90% of the players... and it holds that distinction by far. 234 is a
big improvement, adding the 7 helps, and adding a suit does too, but anyone who thinks this is a "good" hand is surely going to lose a
lot of money with it.
Again, this scenario is about the best possible for the hand (besides a free ride in the blind of course), but the hand is still
highly speculative and will be a money loser for non-good players. Contrast this to A347 and even a non-good player will have a
profitable hand on the button.
Winning Omaha is about scooping pots where you can bet your hands. This hand is nearly the antithesis of that. It has very low scoop
strength, needs an awful lot of help to even make a hand, and is not very bettable. And, if ever there was a hand that had "please
quarter me" around it's neck, this is it.
Loose Preflop Omaha Calls
Izmet Fekali wrote ...
> Badger wrote: "pots are raised less often in Omaha."
> What a wonderful argument for playing looser In Omaha.
> Seeing the flop is not that cheap in typical Holdem games.
Hardly any Omaha hands that are not winners for two bets become miraculously winners for one bet. I wrote a whole section in my
Introduction to Omaha Strategy on the reverse
schooling phenomenon in Omaha, which is something that
apparently some players have no understanding of.
Getting in cheap with a losing hand is no reason to play the hand!