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Poker Strategy | Omaha Poker Strategy

Omaha 8 – The Role Of Pot Odds

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As you start to learn to play Omaha High Low (also known as Omaha 8 or Better), you'll quickly learn one thing. There is a lot of math and probability involved and the sooner you learn it, the better off you'll be and the more money you will make. Of primary importance mathematically is the role that pot odds play. Pot odds is often the driving force, or should be, in the decisions you make in whether to continue with a hand or not.

Let's say that you have a hand like Q-Q-4-3 and the board is K-Q-7-9 with three spades. You're probably facing either a straight or a flush so you are going to need the board to pair on the river in order to win the pot. Here is where determining pot odds will help you make your decision in whether to call a bet or not. First, you must figure out what the odds of making the best hand are. Any king, queen, seven, or nine will most likely give you the best hand. That is 10 outs which gives you approximately 3.5:1 odds to hit your hand.

Now that you know the probability of hitting your hand, you need to make a comparison between the size of the bet you have to call and the amount of money that is in the pot. If there is $8 in the pot and it is $4 for you to call, you are getting 2:1 on your money. This is not sufficient odds and you should fold. However, if there is $20 in the pot and it is $4 for you to call, you are getting 5:1 on your money and are getting the right price. You should call. This is a good example of how pot odds can drive the decisions you make in an Omaha 8 game.

What about a different scenario where there is a large amount of betting and raising? Again, what matters is the final price you are being given. If there is $40 in the pot and it has been bet ($4) and raised (to $8) before it gets to you and you are confident that the betting will end up getting capped (total of $20) before it is all said and done; this means you are going to have to call a total of $20 in order to see the river. Add in the $40 between the two players doing the raising and the pot size will be a total of $80, meaning you will be getting 4:1 ($20 to win $80) on your money. It's close at 3.5:1 whether to call or not, but with the size of the pot, doing so is probably correct. Try and not look at these situations as one hand things, look at them over the long term. You might lose 7 out of 9 of these hands and $140, but the two times you do win it you'll win $160 and your net profit will be $20.

Despite how much pot odds can help you with your Omaha 8 game, you must also be aware that there is an inherent problem that exists in relying on them too much or too often.

This problem lies in the fact that Omaha High Low is a split pot game. You need to account that you might only be playing for half the pot. Let's say you have Q-Q-J-J and the board is J-8-7-5 with three spades. You have top set but there are flush and straight possibilities out there not to mention that the low is already there. While you are still 3.5:1 for the board to pair, you are only playing for half the pot, so you are going to need double that, or get 7:1 on your money, in order to continue. Not understanding this is a common mistake that many beginning Omaha 8 players make.

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