Omaha High-Low Turns

For this discussion, we’ll first look at a hand with a lot of capacity to win the low and a good but not huge chance to win the high. For example, you hold A♣2♣4♦5♦, which is a pretty good starting hand. You have a chance at the nut flush and can make all kinds of low combinations work. The flop comes, as shown in Figure 10.13.

Figure 10.13 The best draws are just that— draws.

This flop is very good in some ways and mediocre in others.
The good news is that if a low makes, you will by definition have the nut low, as the A4, A5, or 45 combination will be best no matter what happens. The other good news is that an Ace or a Six will give you a straight. The bad news is that the low is not yet made, and you have only a Five-high, runner-runner flush draw. Let’s say you are up against one de- cent hand and one outrageously lucky one, such as A♥5♥J♠Q♠ and 4♠5♠T♦T♣.

This is exactly the insane kind of situation in which you will find yourself in an online card room, so get used to stuff like this happening. It drives you crazy. Let’s say the turn card brings the 7♥ or the 6♥.

What a difference a card’s rank can make! Table 10.10 shows how the money is distributed.

In either case, the second hand will be picking up the nut flush draw and will make the second nut low. Unfortunately, neither is good as of the turn, and both need to rely on the river to improve in order to collect any money. Because the third hand already has a set of Tens and can split the low if an Ace counterfeits the first hand on the river, it is in great shape to win the majority of the money. If the 6♥ comes, though, it’s an entirely differ- ent situation. In this case the first hand will have made the nut-nut hand as of the turn, in that it will have the best low and high hand (A2 and Six-high straight). It needs to dodge a heart and a card that pairs the board, but it will, at worst, split the low, and in this case, it will split the high because the idiot who played 45TT will also have the best straight. Wow…but what can you do?

A much more common occurrence is for a flop to hit you pretty well but not perfectly. For instance, assume you have A♥2♥K♠5♠, you are against A♦2♦J♠Q♠ and 9♥T♥A♠K♥, and you get the flop shown in Figure 10.14.

Figure 10.14 You’re doing well, but you’re not there yet

Table 10.11 lists the percentages if the turn brings the K♣.

This is one of those uncommon hands in which no one will likely make a straight or a
full house. The simulation shows that the top hand will win the entire low half of the pot, unless a two comes on the river, in which case it will get quartered. Amazingly, it will also be in line to split the high with the bottom hand, with a pair of Kings and an Ace kicker.
If a Nine or Ten comes, the bottom hand wins with Kings and Nines/Tens. If a Deuce or a Five comes, the first hand wins with Kings and Deuces/Fives. The second hand will tie the low if a Deuce comes and will win the high if a Ten comes, giving it a straight. It will also win if a third Queen or a second Jack comes, which would give it trips and Queens over Jacks, respectively.

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