Let's Play Some Limit Omaha High-Low Poker
It is important to remember that any poker game played with four cards in your hand is usually won, or lost, on the river, which is why they are called river games. So if you always make sure that you start out with four related cards that can work together to form winning hands after the flop, you will be off to a very good start.
You can play a big pair with a small pair, two small pairs, a big and medium pair, or two big pairs, but be careful; you're not playing Omaha High. Your goal here is to scoop the pot, not just win half of it.
If you're dealt A-A-2-2, A-A-3-3, or A-A-4-4 and you do not hit your set or nut low on the flop, then this type of hand becomes weaker by the minute. If you continue to play it, proceed with caution.
When you have been counterfeited, you have been duplicated. If you hold the A-2 for the nut low and the A-2 comes out on the flop and your high doesn't look very good at this point, it's time to muck your hand.
When playing any Omaha High-Low games, you want to look for a hand that will give you a possible nut high and nut low if it's your desire to scoop the pot. Two-way action hands contain cards that can give you the high and low end of the winning hands.
However, those are much better starting hands than the A-A-K-K, A-A-Q-Q, or A-A-J-J, which are all excellent Omaha High starting hands, but not desirable when you are playing a poker game where your goal is to scoop the pot.
When playing trips, the more concealed your hand is, the better. Therefore, you would rather not see two same cards on the board with you holding one in your hand. This is because the minute you bet or raise, it's assumed you flopped a set, or even better, made your full house. For example, if you're playing K-K-2-3 and a Q-K-5-6 flops, you're in the driver's seat. Everyone at the table will suspect you may have an A-2-x-x, but they may not consider a set of anything else, let alone Kings. So play this hand with strength.
However, if you flop a middle set, such as Sevens, Eights, or Nines, and there are no over cards on the board, you might want to let your opponents lead the action so you don't scare off callers.
Flopping a set of low pairs — for example, Twos, Threes, Fours, or Fives — is only good when you have position. However, when you're playing A-A-x-x and you flop a set of Aces, slow play them if you feel any raise could drive out your opponents who are playing for the low end of the pot.
Ideally you want connector cards in your hand. Examples of connectors would be A-2-10-J, A-3-7-8, and A-2-K-Q. When these cards are in the hole and you flop the three cards that make your nut straight, proceed with caution unless your nut straight is the best possible straight out there and there are no flush possibilities on the board.
If you are not the type to raise, then don't use flopping trips as a reason for changing your play. You'll only end up causing your opponents to fold. Maintain your non-aggressive play and then go in for the kill on the river, after your opponents think their hands are good.
Let's take a look at this example. You hold an A-3-10-J and the flop is 2-8-9. Not a bad flop. You have the nut low, A-3 potential plus the 8-9 to go with your 10-J. On the turn the board now looks like this: 2-8-9-10. Your Ten has been duplicated and anyone playing a J-Q-x-x has you beat. With one more card to come, your only chance of winning this pot is with a 4, 5, 6, or 7 to give you the nut low. But lows are quartered more frequently than highs, so if you only have a minimum invested, it's not costing you much to see the river, and you're financially ahead, then go for it, as most amateur Omaha players would. However, a savvy player may consider a fold here.
If the river disappoints with no low, but does duplicate one of your hole cards, just hope it is the Ace, giving you an Aces up final high hand but no low hand. However, be very wary of the straight potentials, as anything other than a call should tell you that your hand is beat.
Because everyone plays an Ace with any low card in Omaha High-Low, it is important, for multiple hand potentials, that your Ace be suited with another card in your hand.
However, if all four of your cards are suited, remember that there are only nine more cards to that suit left in the deck. So if you are in a ring game, rather than a short-handed game, the number of remaining suited cards that you need diminishes greatly.
Let's take a look at another hand. Your hand is As-2d-9s-4c and the flop is Ks-3s-5s. Excellent — you have flopped the nut flush and the nut low draw. But remember, when you flop the nuts it can only get worse.
Never forget that the river is not your friend. That means if calling a raise to see the river card is going to bust your bankroll and you still only have a drawing hand, you have to ask yourself how lucky you are feeling before paying to see that final card.
On the turn the board now looks like this: Ks-3s-5s-2c. You duplicated your Two, but not to worry, your nut high hand is still solid. You should raise so you can trap all the nut low draws, and pray that nothing goes wrong on the river.
Now the river card appears and the final board is Ks-3s-5s-2c-2h. Red alert, trouble ahead, the board has paired! A paired board in any poker game is dangerous, but never as dangerous as it is in a four-card starting hand game such as Omaha High-Low and Omaha High-only.
As you can see, what started out as a nut-nut hand has ended up an expensive, worthless hand. But that's poker, and if you can't handle the many up and down swings, then perhaps you should consider taking up knitting to fill the void.
Playing Four of a Kind
This is another one of those situations that all poker players dream of, especially when there's a lot of action and you know you cannot be beat. Ideally, you would want this to be a bit concealed and not flopped outright if you hope to get any action. This is especially true when you are holding Ac-Ah-2c-2h, and especially if you are a made tight player. (A made tight player is anyone whose play is totally predictable to all his opponents, who are then able to play their hands against him accordingly.)
Take a look at this flop: As-2d-9h. You now have two sets, A-A-A and 2-2-2. There are no straight draws on the board and you have a rainbow flop, so a flush is not possible at this point. Also, there are only two cards to the low, so this is not a concern for you at this point, either.
A rainbow board means that there is a card for each suit on the flop, with the fourth off-suit card appearing on the turn. An As-3c-6d on the flop, with a Jh on the turn, is an example of a rainbow board (As-3c-6d-Jh). Now, no matter what suited card hits the board on the river, there are no possible flushes with this type of community board cards.
If you go ahead and raise and you are a tight player, then you may scare your opponents out of the pot. Call any raises at this point, but a re-raise could end the hand if your opponents read you as a tight player.
After the turn card has been dealt, the board now looks like this: As-2d-9h-Jc. You have a set of Aces and a set of Deuces; there's no possible flush, no low, and only straight possibilities.
On the river the board now looks like this: As-2d-9h-Jc-2s.
Remember that you can only use two cards from your hand and three cards from the community board. Forgetting this — especially when you're in a raised and re-raised hand, all the way to the river with just the case Ace in your hand — can be very costly to your bankroll. This isn't Texas Hold'em, so you must use two suited cards from your hand to make your flush.
If you are the first to act, check in the hope that the full houses will start a betting war that you will gladly partake in. This is one of those times when your acting skills will come in very handy as you attempt to appear to be the underdog.
When it appears that you can't lose a hand, always let your opponents take the lead and bet, raise, and re-raise. Ideally, it will be you who gets to make the final re-raise bet. But if not, who cares? You can't lose, and with no lows it's a scooper, so let everyone else do your bidding!
Playing Straight Flushes and Royal Flushes
Straight flushes and royal flushes are the ultimate fantasy poker hands, and they play themselves. You just bet and call, and hope that everyone hangs in, all the way to the river.
An ideal example of a hand that could give you a straight flush would be Ad-4d-5h-6d. If the flop is 2d-3d-7d, you have the nut low and the nut diamond flush — and, should the turn be 2d-3d-7d-5d, you will not only have the nut low, but also two straight flushes. And you'll know that no one can have a larger one, as he would need to have the Four, which is in your hand.
What is the difference between a straight flush and a royal flush?
A royal flush is the highest straight flush possible and the highest of all ranked poker hands. It consists of five suited cards ranking from the Ace down to the Ten. A royal flush in spades would be As-Ks-Qs-Js-10s. And if it is your life's goal to one day win a huge pot with a royal flush, and you eventually make one, consider yourself lucky.
However, although straight flushes are seen more frequently when playing Omaha poker games than when playing Texas Hold'em poker games, the same does not hold true for royal flushes. The royal flush seems to be as elusive for Omaha players as it is for any other type of poker game player. To make a royal flush, two of the suited cards in your hand would have to be one of the following five cards: A-K-Q-J-10. So play for the straight flushes, as there's more potential for making them. A royal flush, although a glorious thing to behold, is a huge long shot!