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Poker Strategy | Omaha Poker Strategy

Omaha 8 – Playing the River; the Non Nuts

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Playing the nuts on the river in Omaha 8 is, for the most part, easy. You bet and you bet some more. What about the times however when you have nothing or have a 2nd or 3rd best hand? What do you do then?

For example, let's say you played a hand where you had the nut low going into the river but the river is a terrible card for you as it counterfeits your low leaving you with a live Ace for your low. Don't make the mistake that most players make by calling bets. Just because you've invested a number of bets prior to the river it doesn’t mean you are “pot committed” - there's no such thing in most instances in an Omaha High Low game. If you know you're hand is no good, there's only one thing you should be doing and that is tossing your cards into the muck.

Another example that often rears its ugly head is when you have a hand like a straight or a flush and the board pairs on the river. In heads up or three handed situations, your hand still might be best but the more players you are facing, the more likely it is that someone has hit a full house and your best option is to fold if there is any betting.

What if you have a hand like second nut low with a good high hand? For example, let's say you have A-3-4-5 and the board is 6-8-K-7-J. You have the potential to win the low, the high, scoop, and even lose both sides. What do you do here? A key factor is how many players you are up against. The fewer opponents you have, the more likely you should be betting and raising. The more opponents you have, then you should probably be check-calling. Folding here is probably not an option, but try and minimize the losses that might occur in the rare instances neither of your hands are good.

Let's move one step further down the ladder and talk about 3rd best hands. A frequent example of this type of hand is something like A-A-6-Q and the board comes K-10-7-3-2. You have an over pair to the board and the 3rd nut low. Because the 2 and 3 came, it's possible that many lows have been counterfeited and your low is best. In these instances, checking and calling is often the correct course of action. Again, however, if there are 5-6 players in the pot, then the odds of someone having a hand like A-4-x-x, A-5-x-x, or 4-5-x-x increase and you should take this into consideration.

One last thing to consider when playing non nut hands is that often times a marginal high hand will win ½ the pot. Many players in Omaha 8 so often play low cards that a hand as bad as a weak two pair or pair can be best. What's important is to know is what kind of hands your opponents typically play. If they are the type of players to play low cards and the board is 5-7-Q-Q-J and you have A-3-J-K, your two pair - queens and jacks - could be good. Don't automatically toss these hands into the muck and don't be afraid to bet if your opponents have checked to you and you know they are low card players.

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