Pot Limit Omaha – 4 Common Myths

Omaha Poker MythsPot Limit Omaha is becoming a more popular game, as players get tired of the usual game of Texas Holdem. They are looking for a different challenge and often it is Omaha which they turn to.

As Pot Limit Omaha increases in popularity so do the number of myths and misunderstandings about the game.

This can really get players off on the wrong foot and before long they become disillusioned with the game because they are losing and return to the more familiar ground of Texas Holdem.

This is a shame as Omaha is a really challenging and fun game, that shares a lot of similarities with holdem but is sufficiently different to feel fresh.

So… Lets take a look at 4 common Pot Limit Omaha myths – and set the record straight!

Pot Limit Omaha Myth #1 – Complexity of the Game

With 4 hole-cards instead of the 2 dealt in Holdem the number of possible hands that can be made is vastly increased. You will need to be observant and assess all the possible combinations of hands. However the heart of the game is actually very simple. You must use 2 cards from your own hand and 3 from the 5-card board to make a hand – no more and no less.

The simplicity actually lies in the number of combinations – each player in the pot will have the equivalent of 6 Holdem hands. Your job is not to assess each possible combination of hands with the board – it is to look for the nuts!

Whether the nuts is a straight, a flush or a full house will be indicated from the board, you compare the chances of having the best hand by comparing your holding to the best hand possible and then factoring in the number of players in the pot. With several players in the hand at the river it is likely someone has a nut hand or something close to it – with a single opponent the winning hand is more likely to be less than the best possible.

Myth #2 – A Game of Outs

Pot Limit Omaha is a game of draws and re-draws, the number of hands possible mean that you can have up to 21 outs to make your hand on the turn or river. But wait…. any number of these outs could make an opponent a better hand!

For example you hold A-K-4-5 with the A-K being hearts. The board comes 2-8-J-Q with 2 hearts after the turn. On the surface it looks like any heart or ten will give you a winning hand. However you need to be careful here, an opponent with trips will beat you if the last heart pairs the board. Also the 10 may leave you splitting the pot.

Pot Limit Omaha is actually a game of ‘nut outs’ you need to assess the number of outs that will give you an unbeatable hand – not just the likely winner. This is even more important in a pot with more than one opponent.

Myth #3 – Never Raise With Aces

More money has been lost by inexperienced Pot Limit Omaha players holding aces than any other hand. A-A-X-X hands are strong pre flop and should be raised, especially where suited or double suited.

What new players fail to realise is that Omaha hand values are closer pre-flop than in many other forms of poker. While A-A-X-X is strong, an unfavourable board such as 6-7-8 suited will make the hand worthless after the flop very quickly (assuming you do not have the nut flush).

Some opponents will only raise with aces. In Pot Limit Omaha this is asking for trouble. The relatively small size of bets before the flop means that they are telling opponents what hand they hold at the same time as giving an excellent price to beat it. Observant opponents will call with a wide variety of holdings and take the unfortunate ‘ace-only raisers’ entire stack when the flop is favourable.

Aces are a strong starting hand in Pot Limit Omaha and should be raised. This should be part of a balanced raising strategy which includes many other types of strong hands and properly accounts for table position. Do not let that pre-flop raise give away your holding.

Myth #4 – Never Bluff in Pot Limit Omaha

The possible combinations of hands which can hit the flop with 4 hole-cards means it is much more likely that an opponent has a hand strong enough to call a bet after the flop. This makes bluffing more difficult in Pot Limit Omaha than in games such as Holdem where it is less likely anyone hit the flop.

However there are some excellent bluffing opportunities in Pot Limit Omaha. Firstly the ‘continuation bet’ where you raised pre-flop and got a single caller is a powerful bluffing spot. The likelihood of a single opponent hitting trips or a nut draw is small enough that a good sized bet will often take the pot immediately.

Secondly it is possible to take many pots from late position when the community cards are ‘scary’ (for example paired board or 3 of one suit). People are reluctant to draw to straights or flushes on a paired board, and will often give up their hand to a bet. If you encounter resistance with these bluffs it is best to give up quickly by check-folding to a bet on the turn.

Omaha Myths Busted

So, there you have it, 4 common myths busted and some helpful advice to go along with it. Now your ready to hit the Omaha tables and give it a go for yourself.

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