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Pot Limit Omaha Strategy: Fold Equity

by Deke Marston

No Limit Hold 'Em poker is filled with concepts like three betting light and continuation betting. These ideas exist because you've got a great amount of fold equity on your side. What’s fold equity and how does it relate to your game? Simply put, fold equity is the likelihood that an opponent will fold, multiplied by the gain you’ll experience if they do. As Omaha poker gives more players hands that are playable in each round, you're going to actually see fewer players who are willing to fold right off the bat. This means that fold equity is a smaller element in your overall Omaha poker game, but you should definitely be aware of it.

When you're playing No Limit Hold 'Em, certain boards are going to greatly restrict your opportunities to place a continuation bet because they'll open up your opponents' hands. Let's look at an example of your opponents range and how it works in NLHE compared to PLO. You've raised from under the gun while holding KQ and the player just before the button calls. The flop hits: 78T. In Hold 'Em, it's a good idea to check or fold rather than keep betting because your opponent is likely to have hit a stronger hand than what you're calling. Also, with a low-to-mid-range spread like that, they're more likely to float you than if the board had something like AJ3 while they’re holding something they’d bet with on 78T

You can see how fold equity can greatly decrease when your opponent has four cards that they can take to the board. When you consider bluffing into more than one player, it's even less likely that you're going to have a significant amount of fold equity on the same sort of board. For example, let's suppose that you've raised while holding AA23 rainbow (two different suits) and you end up getting called by someone in middle position and then the player on the button. This is a very common scenario before the flop because, again, there's a better chance of making a drawing hand in Omaha.

In this case, the board drops with 9hTsJh, helping someone build a straight or draw to a flush. Should you make a continuation bet with your AA? Unless your opponents are very loose, the answer is no. If you're not the one making the straight or flush draw, then you're better off folding and letting the players who are more likely to have the nuts spend the money to see what happens next.

The short version of all of this is that when an opponent is re-raising you in Omaha poker, they're probably making the correct call for them.


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