Bankroll Builders, Vol. 4: Omaha Hi/Lo, Part 2
In Part 1 of this article, we examined why the low variance and soft competition in Omaha hi/lo cash games makes them a perfect bankroll builder. Now it’s time for you to get in there and start crushing the online donkeys. Check out our time-tested tips from the trenches below and watch your account balance climb.
Tips from the Trenches:
• It never hurts to study. Whether you’re an Omaha hi/lo newbie or have some experience with the game, pick up a book and give yourself a refresher course. Open that dog-eared copy of “Super System 2” and read Bobby Baldwin and Mark Gregorich’s excellent chapter on Omaha hi/lo. If you’re looking for some more extensive anaylsis, pick up Mark Tenner & Lou Krieger's “Winning Omaha 8 Poker,” or Ray Zee's “High-Low Split Poker For Advanced Players.”
• Play to scoop. Most beginning Omaha hi/lo players fail to understand the key concept of the game — always draw to both sides of the pot. Part of the reason Omaha hi/lo is such a profitable game is the simple fact that a strong majority of the time you’ll find players chasing down only half the pot when the object of the game is to win the whole pot.
When deciding whether or not to play a hand, think about its scoop potential. Does your hand have an ace? Aces are vital in an Omaha hi/lo starting hand because they help to make the nut low, the nut flush, and the nut straight. If you’re a beginner, seriously consider throwing away any hand that does not contain an ace.
Next, think about your possibilities for winning the high half of the pot. A hand like has numerous possibilities for high — you could make the nut flush, the nut straight, or top two pair. Finally, examine your low possibilities. The A-2-K-Q hand can also make the nut low, which is why it’s an excellent two-way hand with scoop potential.
Hands with strong low potential will almost always contain A-2 or A-3 or A-2 or A-3 with an additional “backup” low card. The isn’t going to get you anywhere for low should the flop come down , but if you held , you would be drawing to the nut low with A-4 along with your nut flush draw for high.
• Hit it or quit it. If you hit the flop hard, like in the A-2-4-K hand above, by all means, get as many bets and raises in there as you can. However, if the flop come down something like , or get away from it as soon as you can. Profits in Omaha hi/lo come from those occasions when you do flop huge two-way draws, as so many players will chase to the river drawing only to one half. You want to be the one winning that money, not the one donating it.
• Keep good notes on your opponents. Whether you’re in the hand or just watching one, take note of what type of hands your opponents are showing down. Is this a player who always turns over the nuts? Or is this a player who will keep drawing to the bad end of a straight when there is a possible flush on board? Does he continue to chase low flushes when the board double-pairs? Will he draw only to the nut low, or really any low?
Additionally, after playing at one limit for a few days, you’ll start to see some of the same screen names popping up over and over. Tag the regulars and remember — just because they’re regulars doesn’t mean they’re winning players. For even more help tracking your opponents, consider investing in a software program like Poker Tracker Omaha or Omaha Manager. You’ll not only collect valuable data on the people you’re playing against, but you’ll be able to track your own tendencies as well.