25 tips to quickly turn you into a profitable PLO Omaha player
Welcome to part 3 of our series of Omaha tips. If you haven’t read parts 1 & 2 yet then go ahead and click the links above because it’s well worth starting from the beginning. You can jump in on any page but to get the maximum benefit from this Pot Limit Omaha tips series you’ll want to view them all. With that said, let’s continue:
Be careful with non-nut flushes
One of the easiest ways to burn money in Pot Limit Omaha is to over value your non-nut flushes. If you have a ten high flush exercise pot control and make sure you have “folding to a raise” in your arsenal. Let’s take a typical situation where players go wrong: in 1st position you are dealt the following and raise pot $3.50:
The small blind (SB) calls and we see a flop heads up; it falls:
The SB checks and you fire out a pot sized bet with your flush draw and overpair. The SB calls and the pot is now ($21.00), the turn completes your flush and the SB checks to you again:
So what should you do? This is a situation where a player just switching from NLHE could get overexcited by his holding. Yes you’ve made a flush but beware, it is only a 9 high flush. This is a classic situation where, if you bet, you stand to win a small pot or lose a very big one.
First let’s consider what hands your opponent might have at the moment. We expect him to have called the flop with all his flush draws, most of his straight draws and occasionally a hand like J2xx if he somehow called with that preflop. If he flopped a set he’ll usually have check raised the flop rather than slowplayed because of all the possible draws that could hit on the turn putting him in a tough position to know where he’s at.
So against that range of hands what will a bet on the turn accomplish? Well unless we know he’s a complete donkey he should be folding his two pairs now the flush has hit and he will certainly stop trying to draw to a straight as he will expect to often be drawing dead. In short if we bet and he calls he will often have a flush and if he has a flush it’s likely to be a higher flush than ours simply because there are more combinations of higher flushes than lower ones in this situation.
A much more disastrous result, however, would be if we bet pot and he check raised us for pot basically committing us to put our whole stack in. Now a novice to PLO might be excited in this situation thinking they’re going to win a lot of money with their flush but in fact nothing could be further from the truth, you’re actually far more likely to be about to lose all your money. In my experience if you get check raised on this turn you are facing a king or ace high flush about 85-90% of the time. It’s a clear fold against all but the most insane or tricky of players.
So how should we play this turn if we expect our opponent to fold all his worse hands and call or checkraise with a lot of hands that have us beat? Well we should use pot control and check. Why is this a good play?
- By checking we keep the size of the pot small with our medium flush. We can then see what our opponent does on the river.
- Lets say the river is a King of Diamonds he might have made a straight. He could now lead into us expecting to have us beaten (after all we checked back the turn, we probably don’t have a flush) and we can call with the winning hand. He could also check, and now we can bet our flush for value expecting straights to call us. Also, because we checked back the turn he will be much more likely to put us on a bluff if we now choose to bet and because of this those J3xx hands he might have folded on the turn may now pay off a value bet.
- The River could be a blank 6 of hearts, here all the flop straight draws missed and our opponent may choose to fire a bluff. Again we can now call with our medium flush profitably. He might even take this opportunity to bet a two pair hand which he thinks might be good, again because we checked back the turn.
- If he checks the river and we bet and he checkraises for pot we should still usually fold unless we think the villain is capable of making a big bluff (most aren’t until you get to the mid and higher stakes). Remember he is never going to try a checkraise with a straight when the flush is out there so if he makes such a play he either has a strong flush or a bluff. Usually the bluff will not occur frequently enough to make calling profitable so stay disciplined and fold that hand unless you have a reason to believe the other player is getting out of line.
Remember: play very cautiously with small flushes; don’t give your opponents the chance to get all of your money drawing dead by overplaying them on the turn.
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Use a Poker Tracking Program and Heads Up Display
If you don’t already already have one I strongly suggest investing in some Poker Tracking software. I personally use and recommend Omaha Manager. This software will save all of your hand histories and give you detailed breakdowns of your statistics and track your winnings and losses. It will allow you to go back and replay key hands that you won or lost, letting you review your play and hopefully work out, after your sessions, where you could have played differently for next time.
Best of all though, software like Omaha Manager will overlay statistics on the table you’re playing at. Known as a “Heads up display” (or HUD) these statistics will allow you to see, at a glance, how loose the various players are playing, how often they 3bet and how aggressive they are generally (as well as hundreds of other optional stats). Another great feature of programs like these is that they allow you to instantly find out what your equity was after a hand on the flop turn or river. In a game like Omaha having this information easily available is extremely useful; I’m often surprised to discover that far from being an underdog I was actually a slight favourite in a hand, or that my draw on the turn was big enough that I had as much as 40% equity so calling a shove was a snap decision.
Don’t forget, almost all the other regulars on the PLO or NLHE tables are using this software so not using it is giving up a massive edge over the competition. For what it does the software is, in my opinion, extremely cheap, costing you less than one buy in at the $0.50/$1.00 game. Pick it up here.