Omaha hi/lo tips and tricks

titans4ever

titans4ever

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Someone wanted some advice on PL Omaha so I thought I would start one and give some of my advice.

Scooping is a must.
When betting to just half the pot you can loose money when there is less than 4 people in the pot on the turn and river. If you split the low or high with someone, you are actually going to lose money on the last bet and only come close to breaking even on the hand sometimes. Scooping is best with an A high flush and 3 cards under 5. A good starting hand would be like A234 or AA23 where the A's are suited for flush possibilities (more later on hands).

Backup
A2 are very helpful to win the low but often you need backup. A2 without a 3 4 or 5 can be destroyed on the turn or river if the A or 2 comes on the community cards and you are now forced to fold. The third low card can help you keep the low if one of your cards hit. I play very carefully in PL games if I don't have backup since it can get very expensive on the turn and river and your hand just got destroyed with no backup card.

Rule of 4/6 for starting hands.
The Rule of 4/6 - you need 4 points to call and 6 to raise.

In hi/lo good cards are the low one or a suited A. You have 6 possible hands for each game. Each hand that is a good hand recieves one point. An A suited Ax is also worth one point. A good hand is defined as one that can contribute to a straight or PP. Cards between 7 and 10 are in limbo and do not count for anything. They are to high to help with the low and to low to help win the high so I don't like to play any hand that has more than two.

Examples
:ah4: :2h4: :4c4: :6d4:
A2 = 1 pt, A4 = 1 pt, 24 = 1 pt, , 26 = 1 pt, 46 = 1 pt, suited A = 1 pt; total 6 pt = raise

:ah4: :2h4: :4c4: :8s4:
A2 = 1 pt, A4 = 1 pt, 24 = 1 pt, 48 = 1 pt, suited A = 1 pt; total 5 pt = just call

:ah4: :3c4: :6h4: :9s4:
A3 = 1 pt, 36 = 1 pt, suited A = 1 pt; total = 3 pts = fold (69= no pts, 9 is one of those cards that don't count for anything). otherwise you would have 4 pts and be tempted to play this hand, when all you may get is the low if a 2 hits.

Ramp the bets.
I only raise with premium hands and limp with the rest. You want people to fish and chase. If you play tight and only stick around when you hit on the flop you want people to chase to pay you off. I will raise 2 or 3 BB to keep marginal hands in. Only bet 2 or 3xBB on the flop and same on turn. You can bet big on the river when you have good shot at scooping or are a lock on the high. I don't recommend betting just on the low on the river because they can get split more often. I also ramp the bet because the nuts can change with every card so I don't want to invest a large amount of money unless I have the nuts and it can't be ruined on the next card (straight losing to a flush on river etc).

Fear the nuts
With every player still in the hand there are 6 hands you are really playing against. With 4 people in the hand there are really 24 possible hand that you are playing agianst so the nuts changes with every card. People stick in the hand only if the catch a piece of the flop or are drawing to something big. I have saved alot of money by checking on the river when the board pairs and someone hit their full house to take the high or you hit a K high flush only to lose the the A.

That is all for now, will add some more soon.
 
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titans4ever

titans4ever

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Just realized I broke my own rule on example two for the hand examples.

48 should not count for a point since 8 is a limbo card, but still have a total of 4 points and is still worth calling. Sorry about that.
 
starfall

starfall

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Thanks for the advice - the poker stars tables have micro limit PLO8 (from $0.01/$0.02 stakes), so I decided they were a good place to learn to play PLO8 better - tables with 70% seeing the flop, and you play very tight, and only raise with a made hand... so far it's looking profitable, because you'll lose a few cents here and there.
The advice about what size raise is useful, as the general danger with an ultra-tight strategy is not getting paid off enough when you do hit a hand. When you have just a good drawing hand, then this size of raise may well put off another player making a larger raise, too, presumably, without costing you too much.
The recommendation about playing low hands with backup is also useful, because while it helps profitability in Limit games, the hands that do hold up should pay for the ones that don't, while in Pot Limit the ones that don't hold up will probably be amongst the largest ones you're involved with.
So far I've played probably slightly tighter than the guidelines titans listed - only seeing the flop with hands that include A2, A3 or 23.

One of the things I'm seeing is that the low hand is even more important - so much so that when there is a low hand possible, unless someone makes a flush hands like a pair or 2 pair win the high hand a lot more often than Limit Omaha8.
 
starfall

starfall

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Oops - I said 'you'll lose a few cents here and there', and missed off the 'but will make a big stack when you hit a nut hand' bit to finish off that statement.
 
Alon Ipser

Alon Ipser

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Nice post. Never heard of the 4/6 rule but I am going to give it a try. Repped.
 
titans4ever

titans4ever

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starfall said:
So far I've played probably slightly tighter than the guidelines titans listed - only seeing the flop with hands that include A2, A3 or 23.

I use the 4/6 rule as a guide to know when to raise or call, not as much as is it a playable hand, that is another story alltogther.

I guess I did not really state that most good starting hand in PLO8 should have A2 A3 or A4 as part of it. Nice catch. Hands like 3456 can be worth 6 points since they all help with a straight but you are going to have a hard time taking the low unless an A2 come on the flop.
 
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starfall

starfall

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I think I'd tend to only go for A4 if it was suited, and to possibly prefer some of the 23 hands, because A2 just needs to avoid aces or 2s with enough low cards, and A3 and 23 just just need one particular card...

With A4 you're needing both the 2 and the 3 to make the nut low, so it's got to be much harder to be confident on that side of your hand, so I'm figuring that needs to be pretty strong otherwise (e.g. A4KK or A4QJ, double-suited) to be worth playing, since you're looking to make the nut high hand and have a reasonable chance at winning the low, not the other way round.

The thing that I did find from the previous experimentation with PLO8 was that making a play with a 2nd best hand both ways is a great way to lose money. So far since reading your tips and the ones on the Play Winning poker site that Steve Badger runs, I've started playing only strong hands to the flop, and then only playing after the flop when I've hit the flop very well...
So far, the 'nuts-only' strategy is working out well, and while I've had loose aggressive players stealing pots post-flop frequently, the pay-off from those players when you do hit a hand more than makes up for it.
 
beardyian

beardyian

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Only just starting out in this format - but i do really enjoy it.:)

Thanks for the tips, as of course coming from hold-em, unsure of what starting hands are the best playable.

I have often felt i was just entering the pot too often, as i felt i had "possibilities" with my dealt starting hands.

Now i know i was :D:D - although with a bit of luck and possible hold-em experience i have won a few $3 SNG's on Poker stars - which is nice :D

Thanks again

IanT
 
starfall

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Players who have obviously come from HoldEm seem to be the best candidates for fleecing with a tight game - in HoldEm you're generally not expecting to have the nut hand - often top pair is enough, and trips is just something that will occasionally catch you out, so you need to be looking at making stronger hands in Omaha or Omaha Hi/Lo (Pot Limit or Limit).
With the High/Low split games, you're generally looking for a hand that has both high and low potential, because a low hand will be possible something like 40% of the time. This is the key thing that you have to get used to when coming from HoldEm - that you're wanting the nut hand.
For Limit and Pot Limit Hi/Lo games you need to factor the Low hand into your pot odds calculations and your starting hand considerations. Although a low hand won't be possible fairly regularly, playing a starting hand that doesn't have low potential is playing a hand that's only at 80% strength, when you want to be playing only strong hands - non-low hands therefore have to be very good otherwise.
The other reason playing non-low hands is really bad is that a lot of the profit in PLO8 comes from when you have a lock on half the pot and a shot at the other half. With a high-only hand you'll be the wrong end of those large pots, with no chance at the low and generally some chance of losing the high.
 
ChuckTs

ChuckTs

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the 4/6 rule is a new one for me too....sounds pretty interesting though; i usually just use my judgement as to how well put together a hand looks, but I'm gonna try a session using this method :)
 
titans4ever

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I made up the 4/6 Rule myself after playing regular Omaha. Here is the short story. I was told 4 of the 6 possible hands should work together to play a hand in regular Omaha. I modified it to try and use it for O8. I still use the 4 for calling but added the 6 for raising. Let me explain it alittle more.

I use it as a guide. I have a hand I think is worth playing. Now what? Is it strong enough to have a chance to scoop or is it a marginal hand? I count the points and look at position and decide from there.

If I have at least 4 I think it is worth calling but you are gambling more since you have less chances of scooping or at best taking half the pot. All hands need help in O8, and with only 4 points you are going to need some or major help. It usually means only 3 of your 4 cards are working together so the odds of you making a straight are less, therefore your odds of scooping are less. This mean I want to see a flop but will need some help to scoop.

If I have at least six points I think my hand is strong enough to win both or at least a better than average shot to win the half. You want to raise preflop to sweeten the pot when you have a better than average chance to take both. Larger preflop pots are harder for marginal hands to let go even if they are chasing only half and then you nail them for calling when you get the flop you need.

Hope this is explains it alittle more. Anyone can add or help me modify it if you think of something better or how to improve how it is used.
 
starfall

starfall

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There is another question that is relavent for later stages or tournaments or sit-n-gos, and that is the one of playing when short-stacked and its shorthanded. So far I havent seen anything about that, so Ive been winging it...
My current strategy involves trying to play hands which have at least 3 low cards in and at least one suit potential, which means that if a low is possible then generally those cards will make some kind of low (obviously the better the low cards, the better the starting hand, but this is talking about when youre desperately short-stacked and needing to pick a hand to play soon or often). The suited cards give an improved chance of winning the high. This is for when seeing the flop would cost you most of your chips, and is hoping to not get called as often as not, so that you can steal a few hands. Does anyone have their own strategy that they would like to discuss, or comments on mine (its for high-blinds, 3-players, more than any earlier)?
 
ChuckTs

ChuckTs

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thats another problem i have with OH8.
I haven't played it enough and especially not with different #s of people at a table, so i can't use my judgement as to how strong my hi or low end of the hand is.
My best conditions are at a full table with loose players.
I play the prime hands and milk players for all they got, but when it comes to marginal situations i don't have quite enough experience to make the right decisions all the time yet.
A guide for s/h play would be nice, if anyone could find one.
 
starfall

starfall

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The logic behind playing 3 low cards for short-handed is that when you're putting all your chips in, what matters is winning at least half of the pot. If the other players will play hands with 2 or less low cards, then often you'll find that when a low hands you'll generally have a low, and the other player may not. If you happen to pair 2 of your low cards, then you may well have a good enough high hand to win that end instead. The straight potential is because you'd rather scoop, and this gives more high hand potential.
My suspicion is that your criteria necessarily moves towards hands that will preserve your stack and keep you alive (i.e. at least split the pot), rather than just scooping hands. However, this is only based on a limited number of Sit-n-Go's, and a few tables which have started to break up.
If you have a larger stack and you're short-handed, then to be honest I'm not sure what the best approach is, except that instead of limping in with hands, you're more likely to be raising with them instead, so you're turning up the aggression factor.
 
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