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Omaha Draws

[Note. This is part one of a two part guide to Omaha Draws. Part two is here: PLO Draws]

The value of Omaha Draws is a topic that is extremely important to get a solid handle on. Believe it or not, in PLO you can get it all in on the flop against a set with a big draw and actually be a significant favourite. In these situations it could be said that your opponent is the one who is actually drawing–to blank cards!

An example of how strong certain Omaha Draws can be
Player: Opponent with two sets You with a monster draw
The Board:
Equity: 34% 66%

Incredibly, getting it all in on this flop would end up being a disaster for the player with top set… having two sets here is actually a small disadvantage because it removes two of the cards that would give him a full house. With a flush draw, a massive straight draw and even a backdoor flush draw the “drawing” hand is the actually a 2:1 favourite to win. This is why calling it an Omaha Draw is a little misleading. The player with a set would do well to wait for a safe turn card before happily putting all of his money in.

Not all Omaha draws are equal, however. In some situations a draw can be a lot weaker than it first appears. Similarly there are spots where if you get it in with top set you’ll always be a big favourite. Knowing the differences between these situations is something most of us must learn through hard-won experience but there are some examples I can give to hopefully speed up that learning process.

The value of Combo Omaha Draws

A combo-draw is when you have a straight draw to go with your flush draw, or a pair to go with your straight draw, basically like it sounds, a combination of different draws. Remember, having a pair means you have “draws” to two pair or trips if you end up getting it in against an opponents overpair or small two pair. People often don’t think of drawing to two pair as a draw at all but it actually often is, depending on your opponent’s holding. A flush draw + a gutshot is a much better draw than the flushdraw on its own. Often that extra 7 or 8% makes you the favourite rather than the slight underdog. Also, don’t ignore backdoor flush draws. If there’s a club on the flop and you have two clubs in your hand you’ve just picked up roughly 4% in additional equity.

To illustrate the concept let’s give our opponent the following hand:

He 3bets you pre flop you call and then all the money goes in on this board:

Let’s examine how your equity changes dramatically based on the strength of your draws.

Your Hand Your draws Equity
Two pair + trips 33%
Two pair + trips + backdoor Flush + Backdoor Straight 38%
Two Pair + Trips + Gutshot + Backdoor Flush 50%
Two Pair + Trips + Open Ended Straight Draw + BDF 54%
Two Pair + Trips + Flush Draw + BDS 59%
Two Pair + Trips + Flush Draw + Big Wrap Straight Draw 78%!

Take a good look at this table. Study it and try to remember the general principles of how drastically the small changes in the strength of your Omaha draws add up. This is also a good demonstration of why you shouldn’t overplay bare AAxx hands. Even if your opponent hasn’t outflopped you directly he might still be a big favourite with the draw he’s raising you with.

In part two of this Omaha draws guide we’ll talk about why drawing to the nuts is so important as well as examining situations where your draws are weaker than they appear and should be played cautiously.

Click here for part 2: PLO Draws

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