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Relative Hand Strength in PL Omaha

Omaha is a game that is very different from other forms of poker in that relative hand strength is one of the most important variables in play at all times. Where bet sizing or other dynamics play a major role in a game like NLHE, your relative hand strength is often all that matters in Omaha. You could quite easily have the nut flush and be contemplating a fold. This is the type of thing that just doesn’t happen in the vast majority of poker games.

Your ability to effectively determine not only your hand’s strength, but also your opponent’s hand’s strength, will mean everything. There is little use in getting excited over a full house if someone else has a much better one. A lot of Omaha players get caught up in the hype of making big hands while failing to realize that all of their opponents are doing the very same thing. It becomes a lot less special to flop the nuts when it seems to happen with a fair amount of consistency. Remember, for as many monster hands as you have, your opponents will have just as many.

Along with knowing your relative hand strength comes the talent to actually stick to an assessment. If you know that the nut straight is probably not any good given the action in a hand, why would you be calling a raise on the river anyway? It is only natural to become attached to big hands, but it is skill to actually learn how to let one go.

This is all part of understanding the value of relative hand strength. While there is money to be made from knowing when you have someone completely crushed, the money that you save when making a good fold can be even more valuable in the long run. There are a handful of primary aspects in Omaha of which most players should be concerned about: chasing draws, having the proper odds, and making good folds. When it comes down to it, all of these have a strong relation to the understand of relative hand strength.

Situation by Situation

Always play each hand with total awareness in regard to what the other players at the table are doing. It is a major mistake to only be focused on the draws that you are after if you have no clue what the other players are doing.

In fact, sometimes what your opponents have will make the idea of chasing a draw become completely unprofitable. For example, if your opponent flops a full house, what use is there chasing a flush? Unless you have a straight flush, absolutely none. This is a very basic example of how relative hand strength is the absolute king in Omaha.

Stick to Your Reads

Nothing can be more challenging than actually sticking to reads that you make. Sometimes it is easy to pinpoint exactly what someone has, while other times it is extremely difficult. A large majority of the time, the tough reads will be found when another player has a very big hand.

As a result of this, you will be reluctant to make a big lay down for fear of making an incorrect read. Everyone is going to make incorrect reads, and everyone is going to make bad calls, but there is not necessarily anything wrong with a bad call or fold that you genuinely felt was correct.

If you think that someone has your flush beat, despite the board being unpaired and generally unintimidating, don’t be afraid to make the fold. Yes, you have a big hand, but the fact is that it is not big enough. Big hands are a dime a dozen in Omaha, so keep in mind that the other players could easily have you beat. Keep all things in perspective when you are playing any form of poker, and especially when you are playing Omaha.

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