The difference between Omaha Pot Limit and Omaha Split Limit
The difference between the form of poker known as Omaha poker when it is played "pot limit" and "split limit" is so massive that they are completely different games.
In Omaha poker players receive four cards each face down and must use two of these along with any three of five common cards dealt in the middle of the table.
There are four betting rounds as in hold'em. In the UK pot limit is the preferred version. This means that players can bet or raise whatever amount there is in the pot. Much of the time this results in all the chips going in when the flop is dealt - the second round of betting.
In the USA and in many parts of mainland Europe the split limit variety is preferred.
With bets or raises limited to say 10€ on the first two rounds and 20€ on rounds three and four it is almost impossible for a player to go all in - bet the lot.
The effect of this is that there is a lot more loose play. There are more people in each pot with very unpromising starting cards.
There is far more raising too - after all if a player who raises from 10€ to 20€ is only exposed to a re-raise of a further 10€ this is not particularly scary.
This may sound like the chaos version of poker but believe it or not there are tactics and strategies which can work long term.
An old Las Vegas pro passed on to me what his Grand Daddy told him about limit Omaha. "First build a big pot and then try to work out how to win it", he said.
This may seem to be poker suicide, a new way to massacre one's chips, but it is mathematically sound in some situations.
For example say a player is in late position and there has been a raise from 10 to 20 and five other people have called. It is almost worth getting involved with any four cards - and not by just calling but by raising.
If six players are in the pot having paid 30€ each to see it, there will be 180€ in the pool. The opening bet at this stage will be 10€ which means the worst odds a player gets will be almost 20 to 1.
Now even drawing to a gut shot straight (a single card in the middle of a run) is a viable proposition at just over 10 to 1 against.
Omaha poker in general
One of the attractions of Omaha poker is that players can get involved in hands with rubbish starting cards.
This particular poker discipline requires the use of two out of four down cards dealt to each player with three from five common cards in the centre of the table.
In hold'em where participants receive only two down cards the range of possibilities of a fit with the flop - the first three common cards - is somewhat limited.
But at Omaha almost anything is possible.
A starting hand such as --- is not one to put the mortgage on.
But if the flop shows for example -- it has a fighting chance of winning a big pot.
The lucky holder has made a 6 high straight, has top set (three of a kind) and can make a full house, has a draw to both a flush and a straight flush - requiring the 4c - and can even make four of a kind if the 6s appears on the board.
Such a hand is fraught with danger though.
If any card above a 6 is dealt on fourth or fifth street an opponent could make a full house having a hidden pair of the same denomination.
Any club could make someone a higher flush and any 7 or 8 of a different suit would make a higher straight a possibility.
In the pot limit form of the game where bets can be made up to the amount in the centre of the table the brakes would go on.
The holder of the made straight would not want to bet out because of the imminent danger of being outdrawn or re-raised.
If the game were being played to a split limit structure where bets and raises are restricted to a maximum of say £10, the player with the made hand would probably bet out and hope for the best.
The best in this instance would be to make a full house by pairing the 2 or the 4, catching a 6 for quads or the club 4 for the straight flush.
Here's a tip.
If you must play Omaha poker and you want to get your money in with rubbish, do so holding either an ace with another card of the same suit or an ace with a suited king.
You could win by accident.