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Omaha 8 Hand Selection

It’s a $4/$8 Omaha 8 game. I really don’t expect skilled competition. I’m only here because I want more experience in Omaha 8. I want to learn things that are obvious to people who play that normally play this game. But most of all, I want the time to pass faster while I wait for a no-limit hold’em seat.

I’m folding a lot. Not as much as I should, but orders of magnitude more than the rest of the players.

This is to be expected. The number one mistake low-limit players make is playing too many hands. Omaha encourages that mistake; given four cards it’s easy for a player to put together two they like.

I’m feeling a little confused. Every hand I get, even the few I play, look like complete garbage. At the same time, every flop is six-handed. My opponents standards are apparently very low, but I can’t get a grip on what they are. The hands they turn over are almost random. An A2 or 24 here, a pair or double pair there.

The board is 7A79 and an under-the-gun position player has check-raised into a field that is still five-handed. When he makes the bet on the river it’s obvious to me he has flopped aces full and done a great job of extracting value by waiting until the turn to get aggressive.

Looking back, he didn’t raise pre-flop, so I start to wonder what side cards he had that would have made AAxx a limping instead of raising hand.

At showdown he turns over AAAT. That explains why he didn’t raise. That hand isn’t even worth a call.

In Omaha you have to use exactly two of your cards to make your hand, that means he could make a hand with AT, or AA. Already you are way behind because you have two combinations, where your opponents are playing six.

AA is a powerful hand, but it’s only one pair. One pair is not likely to win an Omaha pot without improvement. And since the third ace is in his hand there is only one card in the deck that he can improve with.

AT is a three-gapper, the most difficult straight to hit in Omaha. If a ten comes we know we have the best kicker, but that’s not much consolation since we’ve already established that one pair is rarely enough to win at showdown.

Even if he does manage to get board where AAAT can win high, most of the time he is only playing for half a pot since there is no way he can make a low with his hand.

Trips are simply not profitable in full low-limit Omaha games. Not even trip aces.

As it happened, our player caught lighting in a bottle, flopped the second nuts for high and avoided the low draw to scoop a big pot. Lucky for him.

And lucky for me. Even with as little as I know about Omaha 8, I was light-years ahead of at least one player in terms of pre-flop hand selection.