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Poker Strategy | Omaha Poker Strategy

Poker plays with Pokerpeaker - You CAN bluff in Omaha

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One of the "rules" about Omaha is that it's almost impossible to bluff.

There are just too many hands out there that people can call with.

But the greatest thing about poker is that it's one of the few venues in life that has no hard rules. It's anarchy within a well defined structure. And what better way to celebrate that anarchy than Omaha, a revolutionary game if there ever was one?

I'm dealt {K-Clubs} - {K-Spades} - {A-Diamonds} - {9-Diamonds}, and I'm playing .10/.25 on PokerStars. A player UTG raises to .75. I'm definitely calling despite the first-position raise, for three reasons. I have a big pair and I also have a suited Ace, so I have a chance to flop one of the biggest hands in Omaha, top set with a flush draw. Plus this is a six-handed game, so UTG raises don't mean quite as much as they would in a full game. Finally, I have the button, and position is just as important in Omaha as it is in Hold 'Em.

OK, I call, and the small blind calls.

The flop comes {9-Hearts} - {5-Diamonds} - {2-Clubs}.

The small blind checks, and the original raiser bets $1.75.

Out of all the flops that could have hit, this is probably one of the worst flops I've ever seen in my short Omaha career. I'm a little suspicious here. I just can't see him raising with any hand that could have hit him. He could have Aces, but that's unlikely, given that I've got one in my hand.

I've got position
, so that leads me to call. It's a bit dangerous, I have to admit, and when the small blind calls too, I'm not loving it. I don't really know what the small blind has, and there's no huge draw out there, so he could have a crappy two-pair. It's dangerous to assume in Omaha that your opponent doesn't have anything when he just might, even with a crappy flop. And I've got two players going along for the ride, not just one. Unless something encouraging comes on the turn, I'm probably folding.

OK, we've got a nice pot brewing. The {10-Diamonds} comes on the turn. The small blind checks again and the original raiser checks this time. Hmm.

I'm betting here because I like the pot now, so I wouldn't mind taking it down. Plus I have the nut flush draw plus a few other outs, so I have an escape valve if I do get called. Finally, I can't see how that {10-Diamonds} really made anyone's hand much better. Again, that kind of thinking is dangerous is Omaha, but I'm sticking with my read until my opponents tell me any better.

I bet nearly the pot, $5
. I'm usually in favor of betting near the pot most of the time in Omaha, even if I'm on a draw, and I like my draw. I've got Kings, I've also got a 9 in my hand, so a third 9 could give me the best hand, and I've got the nut flush draw.

The small blind folds, as he probably should have on the flop. However, the original raiser calls. Maybe he does have Aces and just can't let them go.

The {6-Hearts} falls on the river.

It's an interesting card, but again, I don't see how it could have helped my opponent. If he has 7-8 he has the straight, but I can't see him calling my flop bet with just an inside straight draw. So what does he have that beats me?

Well, he could definitely have two-pair, and I suppose he could have lucked his way into the straight. I doubt he has a set, as he probably would have raised on the turn with a diamond draw out there. He could have lucked his way into a set of 6s I suppose, but I'm not putting him on that.

He checks. I do not think I can check here. If he does have Aces, he wins, and if he has some crappy two pair (think about a hand like A-A-9-10) he wins. I do not think he has a big hand, and I also don't think he can call a big bet.

Plus I will say that checking in Omaha is even weaker than checking in Hold 'Em. It just screams weakness in a pot-limit game when there are a ton of possible hands you could be holding. It's certainly a good play if you have nothing, but that's also what you're telling your opponent most of the time you check in Omaha. You just don't see many check raises in Omaha.

I'm heads up, I have position, and I have what I think is a good read on my opponent's weakness. These are all good elements for bluffing on the river, and I push in the rest of my chips, $15.90.

It's not a crazy bet. It's actually close to the pot. So it does not look suspicious.

Plus I think in order for your bluff to work in any poker game, you have to tell a good story. Let's look at the story I was telling.

1) I'll call your pre-flop raise, so I do have a hand.

2) I'll just call the flop. I could have raised, but it's almost never a bad idea to just call the flop in Omaha. So I have a hand.

3) When you checked, I bet nearly the pot on the turn. I have a hand here, seriously, and I would suggest folding.

4) I'm pushing the river because I want you to call. It's nearly the pot, and you've called me down so far, so I'm confident you will call.

It looks like I have a set myself, actually, and I don't blame him for folding. What he doesn't know is I was celebrating it as well.

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