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Omaha Poker Strategy: Betting In PLO

by Deke Marston

Just like it is in Texas Hold 'Em, showing strength through betting is an important part of the psychological game in Pot Limit Omaha, but you'll want to play it a bit more closely to the vest. Big betting on most Omaha boards gives away your hand value to a much more precise degree. For example, betting hard on a board that's offering up a straight tells your opponents exactly what their draws are worth compared to you and lets them establish pot odds before they continue playing. So, how should you bet? What’s the best approach to Pot Limit Omaha Betting strategy?

Preflop betting is important in Texas Hold 'Em, because it can help get people with marginal hands out of the game. However, in Omaha, putting too much on the line in the preflop stage is not a great idea unless you know you've got a monster. A maximum-sized preflop bet is almost always going to indicate that the player making the wager is holding A/K single or double suited and they're working to push out anyone else holding a flush or straight that might be able to outdo them if they see the flop.

If you do call a player who makes this move because you've got a shot at a King High flush on the flop, then you can pretty much guarantee they're holding the Ace. It can be hard to make that fold in a tight spot like that, but it's going to save you a lot of money in the end. Chasing a pot while holding what you know is probably the second-best hand is a fool's errand and you have to apply your knowledge of expected value to the situation.

We've said this dozens of times, but it won't stop being relevant: Omaha is a game of the nuts and it's almost always possible for your opponent to outdraw the made hand you start with. You want to avoid giving away your hand strength without good reason. Before the flop, you want to think about betting as a way to protect and nourish your hand until the flop and then play the game from that point more aggressively.

Slow playing and check-raises are both great ways to liven up your game and get more from your opponents in Omaha. That said, slow playing can be very risky when holding a straight or flush draw because the board can pair and leave you high and dry. Check-raising works best when you're in early position and hold the nut straight or flush. You'll want to make sure that your opponents are likely to follow up on your betting, though, to get the most from them.

While betting isn't the biggest transition for players to make when they're moving from Texas Hold 'Em to Omaha, it's important to understand the whys and hows of the game.


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