Omaha: What to Do When You’ve Been Raised

If the pot has been raised before you act, tighten up on the hands you play. When you are raised before the flop, the raiser invariably has an outstanding low hand. If you have any low draw other than A-2 along with protection against being counterfeited, throw your hand away.

Since bluffing is infrequent in Omaha/8, if you are raised after the flop, the raiser usually has one of the following:

The best possible high hand
The nut low with a draw to a high hand A big hand with a draw to a good low

As in all forms of Poker, you need a stronger hand to call a raise than to initiate one. Before you call a raise in Omaha/8, give your opponent credit for a strong hand — and quite possibly a strong hand in one direction and a draw to an equally strong hand in another. Call only if you believe your hand is stronger.

Flopping a Draw

Here’s how to decide whether to continue with your draw if you flop a 4- flush or a 4-straight.

When you’re facing three or more opponents, a draw is worthwhile if you think you’ll win the entire pot by making your hand. If you have a draw to a high straight or flush and you are certain one of your opponents already has a low hand, half the pot will go to your opponent, so you’ll need five or six opponents to make the draw profitable.

But if you have a draw and only two low cards are on the board, don’t be afraid to bet, or even raise to make it expensive for opponents to draw for their half of the pot. If that low hand never materializes, their investment is dead money, and you’ll claim it if you make your hand.

Table 5-2 shows how likely you are to make a low hand.

Playing the Turn

If you survived the flop, keep playing if you have done any of the following:

Flopped the best high hand.

A draw to the best high hand.

Flopped the best low hand.

A draw to the best low hand.

Flopped a two-way hand. You may not have the best possible hand in each direction, but if you believe you can win in one direction and have a shot at the other, keep playing.

Should you play, or should you fold?

More often than not, the cards dealt on the turn won’t clearly lead you to stay in or fold. When you’re unsure of what to do, answer the following four questions to gauge whether it’s a good idea to continue playing.

How do my opponents play? If your opponents are loose players, you can draw to the second best high hand; but if your opponents are tight players, you probably don’t want to continue unless you have a draw to the best hand or have already made it.

What in the world could my opponent be holding? If the pot has been raised, you have to think about what kinds of hands your opponent would raise with, as well as the hands other players in the pot need to justify calling a raise.

Where do I sit in relation to the other bettors? If you think you might be raised if you call, you need a much stronger hand than you would if you have no reason to fear a raise.

How much will it cost to see the hand through to its conclusion? This is Poker’s essential risk/reward issue. The amount of money you’re likely to win if you make your hand should be higher than the odds against making your hand. In other words, if you think you’ll win $30 on a $5 investment, it pays to stick around as long as the odds against making your hand are less than 6-to-1.

If you can win $30 for an investment of $5, the relationship between the cost of your investment and the size of the pot is 30-to-5, which reduces to 6-to-1.

If the odds against making your hand are only 3-to-1, then this represents a good bet. But if you were a 9-to-1 underdog, you’re better off folding your hand.

Playing the turn at Omaha/8

If you survive the flop, here are some tips for playing the turn successfully:

Bet or raise aggressively if you’ve made the best possible hand on the turn.

If you have the nut low along with another low card to protect your hand from being counterfeited, bet and call all bets, but be wary of raising. You do not want to drive out other hands that would otherwise pay you off, and you want to avoid being drawn and quartered.

If you have the nut low hand along with a draw to a high hand, feel free to raise from late position. In this situation you want to get more money into the pot. You’ll probably win the low end, and you want that additional money in the pot in case you win it all.

Call with a draw if the pot odds exceed the odds against making your hand and you know you’ll have the best hand if you catch the card you need.

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