Tony is a regular on-line player living in England. He mostly plays Texas Hold'em and Omaha (High and Split) at fixed, pot and no limit, at both cash and tournament tables. Tony says: "I often play lower stakes games because there is money to be made without excessive risk to your bankroll. Many players I come up against at these levels are not schooled in poker strategy and the truth is they are giving away money, either through ignorance of strategy or misplaced aggression. If you have a limited bankroll, you should be conservative and choosy but the pickings are there. These articles are written to prevent you becoming one of the hunted."
Last week, I concluded our on-line session of Omaha High which I hope encapsulated to some degree the puzzles and decisions faced every time you play limit poker on the Omaha tables.
This week and next I am recording the hand by hand action of a game of limit Omaha Hi/Lo Split which I hope will flesh out the typical problems faced when playing that particular variation. These have been discussed in past articles, namely Articles III, IV and IX in particular. Now I want to see if I can keep to my guidelines!
As for the previous game, I am entering a game on Party Poker (where there is an abundance of such games) at limit $0.5/$1.
Into the Mix!
8 out of 10 seats are taken and I am starting in the big blind. I have brought $100 to the table whereas most here started off with the default sum of $25 that is offered when joining the table at this level.
Hand 1: Big blind of $0.50 posted by me and I am dealt 3c 6d 3h Jd. Hopeless for Hi/Lo and it is raised so I fold.
Hand 2: Small blind. 9s 6c 5c Kd. Again poor for Hi/Lo so fold.
Hand 3: On the button. 8d 2d 7h 4s. Some smattering of low cards but, without an A or a 3, this doesn't merit much. A raise before confirms that I should wait for something better. Fold.
Hand 4: A much better proposition - 6c 6s As Ah. Single suited aces, two pairs with a low back up of sorts. I must raise this as I am in late position. Four callers to my raise and the flop comes 4h Ks 4d. Not wonderful if someone holds a 4 but I will call in the cheap round. It is checked to me and I bet $0.50. Called by all four. The turn is another scare card for me, Kd. There is now only a high hand possible and I am losing to anyone holding a single K or 4. I now need to see a pair to have any chance. I may be in luck as it is checked to me so I bet $1. That narrows the field. The river is 4s and everyone checks. I take down the pot of $7.75 with a full house 444AA. That was a bonus in the circumstances.
Hand 5: Ah 8d 3s 6s. There is not much high potential but fair lows. I'll take a cheap look at the flop. It comes Qd 9c Jh which finishes off my low positions and is hopeless for my highs. I will fold at the first opportunity. Everyone checked so I see 6d on the turn and fold to the first bet.
Hand 6: As 6h 8d 8c. Not much here on either the low or high side. 88 is a weak pair in Hi/Lo because another 8 making the set also makes one part to a low for someone else. A set of 8's is also quite weak as a high hand. Fold.
Hand 7: Qs 2h 7s Jc. Fold.
Hand 8: 5s 8h Ts Th. Not bad if this were Omaha High as it's double suited with moderate straight potential and a pair. Not much low potential. I'll try to see a cheap flop for value. Flop is Qs Jd 4s. A flush draw and gutshot draw with little low prospects for others so some promise after all. I check and all check to the button who bets $0.50. I call as do a few others. The turn is As so I have hit my flush! Only someone with Js or Ks and another spade can beat me without a pair on the board. I'll bet $1 and see if I can get away with it. Two fold but the button raises. I'll have to call. The river is 3c which opens up a low hand so I may be sharing this pot. I check and so does the button. With surprise, I collect the whole pot of $11.50, with the A flush high and an 8-high low.
Hand 9: Big blind. 5h 3h 4d 2c. This is four parts of the wheel (A2345) so quite strong but it does lack the crucial ace. Nonetheless, I resolve to raise this if it is called round to me. It is and I raise to $1. Four callers come along for the ride. I would like to see an A on the flop and, indeed, there is one. Sadly, it is not accompanied by other low cards. The flop is Ah 9d Ks which does little for the high side. I will check this. There is a bet and I call with three others. Turn is 2d which increases my chances of a return. I have nine outs for the Wheel - any 3, 4 or 5. I check and call two others. The river is another 2. That dashes any low hand but gives me a set of 2's but I only have a low kicker in hand, a 5. I check-call and find I have lost to a full house of 99922. I should probably have folded after the river so I have cost myself $1 there.
Hand 10: Js 6h 5c 7c. Poor Hi/Lo hand and it has been raised before me so I fold.
Hand 11: Button. 9c As Th Qs. That's a nice collection of high cards but missing K and J. I hope to get a cheap sight of the flop and I do. It comes Qh 8d 4c so immediately it looks likely only half the pot is available to me with two low cards there. A pair of Q's isn't a lot to get excited about. I decide to take a cheap look at the turn as the pot is building but it is 2d which gives someone a low hand and fails to help my high side. I fold to the first bet.
Hand 12: 2d 4c Ac Jc. Three clubs is a downside but there are good low cards and a nut flush opening so I'll raise that pre-flop in late position. There are three callers and the flop comes out Tc 3h Ad. That gives me a draw for the nut low if a 5, 6, 7 or 8 can find a way onto the board. My high is limited to a pair of A's at the moment. It is checked to me and I bet out $0.50. It is called by three again. The turn is another T. It is checked through for a free card. Kc on the river. No help. It is checked through again and I take the pot with my A and J kicker. $6.25 added to the stack. There was no qualifying low hand and it would seem the callers were seeking low cards without any sort of high support.
Hand 13: 7d 6s 3d 6c. Poor and folded. I currently have $113.75 in my stack, a profit of $13.75 in 15 minutes of play. Not too bad at this low limit table.
Hand 14: 5c 5d 8s 2d. Average low cards and fold.
Hand 15: 8d Js 6s 9c. It's a half-decent Omaha High hand but all too middling for Hi/Lo. If I made a good straight, I would probably lose half the pot to low cards. Fold.
Hand 16: Big blind. Qc 3s 2s Td. It's not brilliant as the low and high end both lack an A. I am able to check in the big blind and the flop is useful for the low side, Ah 8s 6h. I'll bet this out and hope no 2 or 3 comes to counterfeit my nut low. There is a raiser so I also might be in danger of sharing the low with another player with 2 3. There are callers but I decide to call. Turn is Kd. This gives me a nut straight only if a J hits the river. I am therefore still betting my nut low. The raiser might have a set rather than quartering me. The river is a 6 and I again call. I am indeed quartered and broke my own rules of chasing only the low side with several opponents in tow.
Hand 17: Td Qc 3h 7c. A mish-mash of cards and I fold to a raise.
Hand 18: Button. 8h 7h Th 5d. This is a collection of cards in the middle of the deck which is normally a poor choice for Hi/Lo. Fold.
Hand 19: 5c Ks 4c 9s. Double suited cards but very moderate high and low positions and it is pushing it to expect a good outcome. I risk $0.50 to bet cheaply but it is raised. I decide to follow it through and see the flop for value. Flop 8h 5d 7d. That has lost me the low half of the pot. It is raised and I fold. A careless waste of $1 there.
I will take a breather at that point and continue to the end of this short session in the next article.
This was a far more active session than the one I had at Omaha High. In some ways this is to be expected with two hands to aim for but I shouldn't be entering twice as many pots unless my starting cards give me good reasons to. I should always demand a shot at both of the pots or the whole pot in the absence of low cards. In this session, I think I did receive better cards than the Omaha High session. I made around $10 in 20 minutes of play. That is ten times the big blind which cannot be criticised as an average. I also ought to have done a little better by folding a couple of situations that were getting away from me.
21 June 2005
Ed note: Learn about Omaha at Ultimate Bet, and maybe you can make the final table next year.