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11/12/2006 No. 6
he Guardian G2 Poker Column
Victoria Coren
Monday Dec 11th, 2006

A last word about Omaha before we move on to other variants. Position is vital. It's been a while since we discussed position; I hope you haven't forgotten that in all poker games it is much better to be acting late than early (ie on the button, or just before it). This gives you the chance to see what other players do before you make a decision: you can bluff if everybody checks weakly, raise if somebody bets unconvincingly, or check if you can get a useful free card.

There is less bluffing in Omaha than hold 'em, and draws are more important. You can have top set, but be very vulnerable to the drawing hands of several opponents. You can have the nut straight, but be in terrible shape against a player who has the same straight with a flush draw.
So you don't want to be betting out blindly, from early position, into the cards lurking behind you. Acting late lets you "price" your hand according to the bets already made. You should not be playing anything from an early spot unless it's an unputdownable monster. (You'll remember that in Omaha, unlike hold 'em, a pair of aces is not a monster. A-A-J-10 with two flush draws is a monster.) The importance of draws is also the reason why you should not slow-play strong hands in Omaha, but bet hard to protect them. In hold 'em, you often want people to catch up a bit when you've flopped big, so they'll pay you off. In Omaha you don't want anybody catching up. Too quickly, your nut hand becomes their nut hand.

To summarise: don't draw unless you're drawing to the nuts. Don't go broke with aces. Don't play in early position. Don't give free cards. And most important, don't forget that you must use two cards from your hand. Strategy, schmategy; it's that crucial rule that sends most novices skint at the Omaha table.


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