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Bluffing in PL Omaha

Bluffing is a major part of poker, but it can be very difficult to use bluffs effectively in PL Omaha. For players that are switching over from NL Hold’em to Omaha, learning to give up frequent bluffs is a challenge in and of itself. Continuation bets and other similar plays will still have their place in Omaha, but double barrels and bigger bluffs will often be much more risky than they are worth.

The primary difference between Omaha and NLHE is that you can’t make your bluffs any larger than the size of the pot. While this isn’t a problem in and of itself, the real issue is that the pot size is not always all that large. A player could easily fold to a 2/3 pot size bet, but they are much less likely to fold when that pot is just a few big blinds deep. Bluffs in Omaha will definitely work in the right spots, but getting carried away could cost you a lot of money.

Omaha players often confuse the difference between a bluff and a continuation bet (if you don't know what a continuation bet is, read this article - it is a Hold'em article but applies to Omaha as well). Continuation bets are perfectly fine and are a near requirement for winning in Omaha, but bluffs aren’t always necessary.

There are always going to be hands where a big bluff is OK, it is merely a matter of keeping them to a minimum. In fact, a bad bluff can often pay dividends when it allows you to balance your range. A player who sees you lose with a bluff is more likely to call you down when you actually have a hand. Of course, your goal should not be to fail. If you are going to bluff in Omaha, you should check and double check that you bluff with legitimate merit.

Effective Continuation Bets (Small Bluffs)

Continuation bluffs should be relatively easy for any player to pull off. If you are showing aggression pre flop, there is little reason to give up on the flop, unless of course you feel that you are going to get called down. C-bets are a great way to take down largely uncontested pot, and these small pots can really begin to add up.

It isn’t much to win a pot worth four or five big blinds, but your bankroll will be growing when you win 400 pots worth five big blinds each. The trick to making C- bets is not only knowing when to make a bet but also how much to bet.

Continuation bets in Omaha are not all that different than c-bets in any other game. They should remain small and somewhat risk free. There is always inherent risk involved in making any bet where you are behind, but a two or three big blind wager can only cost you so much. The only things you need to consider are what your opponent is likely holding and how much it will cost to push them off their hand.

If you think the other player has a big hand, there isn’t any use in putting out a c-bet at all. If you have a feeling that your opponent has a smaller hand, you should always be making a continuation bet. Since the best spots to make c-bets are where the other players are weak, you can also cut down on your costs by keeping bets at a minimum.

C-bets in Omaha are very simple in that they work just the same as continuation bets (bluffs) in other games. Once your bets start to extend past a small feeler bet, however, you start to tread some risky ground.

Effective Major Bluffs

The most effective Omaha bluffs will only come once in a blue moon. Great spots for bluffing in Omaha are rare because you need to be able to convince someone that you have a big hand, often times without a whole lot of fire power. Smaller pots are much more common than large pots in Omaha due to the pot-limit nature of the game, so it can be near impossible to even pose a threat with bets that are not very intimidating.

A good example of a situation where bluffing is ok would be when a handful of draws complete. For example, if the flop brings a flush and straight draw, you could represent the draw if it happens to hit on the turn or river. The key is making your bets believable. Remember, though, that players will call with much weaker hands in Omaha than in NLHE.

You should not only make a bet when the draw or hand that you are representing hits, but it should also be against someone who is actually capable of folding. If both of these factors are in check, go ahead and make your bluff.

More PL Omaha Strategy
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