BLOG - Life skills for the online poker community (Part II)

BLOG - Life skills for the online poker community (Part II)

Friday, 13 August 2010

It’s basically the exact same game as pot-limit hold‘em but you get four cards instead of two. Match two hole cards with three board cards and, hey presto, you’ve got the game down pat! Pot-limit Omaha is really that easy, just play it like you have six hold‘em hands instead of one and you’ll be at the nosebleed tables on Full Tilt Poker with Tom Dwan and Phil Ivey in no time.

Sorry, that entire paragraph was complete bull. That’s the view many people have of Omaha (pot-limit Omaha) and it... well, it could be further from the truth (pot-limit Omaha was invented by space monkeys and requires you to bet with copies of Zoo Tycoon 2 instead of cash) but it’s still not true at all. While the betting structure and elements of play are almost identical to hold‘em, there have been many solid no-limit players who have made a foray into the pot-limit Omaha tables and returned with a depleted bankroll and confusion about how a straight draw can beat top set.

Growing ever more popular, pot-limit Omaha is actually more common than no-limit hold‘em in parts of Europe. With the booming high stakes tables on Full Tilt Poker running pot-limit Omaha from $25/$50 to $500/$1,000 showing that pot-limit Omaha is the pros’ choice poker variant, the more frequent exposure on television (ESPN have broadcast the $10,000 pot-limit Omaha event at the WSOP, Tom Dwan played Ziigmund on the Full Tilt Million Dollar Challenge and the Aussie Millions Cash Game featured pot-limit Omaha) and the general burgeoning poker community, the pot-limit Omaha tables are flooded on most popular poker sites.

Why should you play it, though? You’re winning at hold‘em. I thought the same thing but that was until I sat at a few pot-limit Omaha tables for the first time a couple of months ago. Though I was pretty terrible myself, I could tell that some players were making really bad mistakes. Even winning regulars at small stakes six-maximum games fell into the trap of getting 150BB stacks in the middle with the non-nut flush or the lower full house in obvious danger spots. There are plenty more fish in the four-carded sea than there are at the hold‘em tables. What’s more, the regulars there are nowhere near the standard of those in no-limit. Furthermore, the gap between a good player and a bad one is far greater in pot-limit Omaha than in hold‘em.

Of course, many people are sceptical about pot-limit Omaha - I know I was. But, I’ve put in some study and played some hands and I realise now that, despite the apparent crapshoot nature of a game where hands supposedly run very close together and each all-in is a coinflip, it is possible to make great money from Omaha cash games despite the higher variance. Read the next issue of Bluff Europe magazine for some handy tips and tricks to learning pot-limit Omaha.

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