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Chasing Draws in PL Omaha

Omaha is a game that is most certainly heavily based on draws and chasing draws. With that in mind, however, players often times get out of line and chase draws which will never become profitable. It is one thing to get all of your money in with an open ended straight flush draw on the flop, while it is entirely different to be all in on the turn with a lone flush draw on a paired board.

Omaha will create many situations where your draws can easily be crushed, have few outs, or will already be at a loss regardless of what cards come later on in the hand. This is why careful play is of extreme importance in poker - especially in PL Omaha where there are so many drawing situations. Draws are always tempting, no matter how big or small, but your job as a winning player is to accurately determine when your hands will and will not be profitable.

Proper judgment will come with time and experience, but even the most advanced players will make mistakes in Omaha. Omaha is a game where short term edges can be very small while long term edges can be very big.

You will inevitably go on a run where all of your big draws seem to brick, but you will also have those times where you can’t seem to miss a hand. If you can effectively ride out these highs and lows, your ability to chase draws at the right times and in the right ways will be increased dramatically.

Hands to Chase

There are not a given set of hands that you should chase, per se, in Omaha. Of course the bigger hands will always be more worthy of chasing than smaller draws. The actual value of your hand is going to be largely determined by what your opponent is holding and whether or not you stand to have the best hand at showdown. This is perhaps the biggest mistake that Omaha players make on a regular basis, considering that they could land a big hand while neglecting the fact that this hand will only be good a small fraction of the time.

Assume you have 8877 suited in spades on a 5s6sTd board. Needless to say, you are in good shape with an open ended straight flush draw. You won’t hit monster hands like this on a regular basis in Omaha, but they will happen far more often than in NLHE. Your plan here is to definitely get all of the money in the middle as soon as possible.

While bigger flush draws will have you beat if a spade falls, they will still lose if the 4s or 9s comes. In addition, your straight draws give you some added value. If the board happened to be paired in this hand, the value of your open-ended straight flush draw is reduced dramatically. At this point the only way you would win a big pot would be to cooler someone with a made straight flush. This is an example of how a monster hand can be incredibly valuable on one board and only moderately valuable on another.

Making Money with Made Hands

There is absolutely no point in chasing draws, big or small, if you can’t make any money when you hit. The key to all forms of poker is making the most money possible with your big hands and losing the least money with your smaller hands. In order to effectively earn money from the draws that you manage to complete, your first mission should be to determine whether your opponent is likely to pay you off.

If a player seemed apprehensive to make any given bet or play, you should immediately consider that they would give up if you were to make a bigger hand. Players in Omaha are particularly aware of the draws that are out there, so they will be hesitant to put a lot of money in the pot if you turn up the action when your hand hits.

For this reason it can often be profitable to chase when your opponent might be chasing a similar draw. For example, flush over flush or full house over full house type hands will generally allow you to win a monster pot without the risk of losing. If you don’t stand to win a fair amount if you do complete your draw, don’t chase it in the first place.

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