Starting Hand Ranking in Omaha Holdem According to Edward Hutchinson. The 2nd Part
In this article I will continue with starting hands estimation by Edward Hutchinson. For the first part look here.
At first sight system looks quite bulky but with practice it is easy for remembering. Let’s make some examples:
a) The best hand in Omaha is two Aces and two Kings in two suits.
This way the player controls two top flushes and two top pairs. In this system it would earn 27 points: 2 times 4 points for suits with Ace on top of it, plus 9 points for a pair of Aces, plus 8 points for a pair of Kings and plus 2 points for Ace with King to a straight. Total 27 points, meaning you should raise.
b) Assume that we have 8 and 9 of clubs and 8 and 9 of hearts.
Add 3 points for two suits from 9 up, plus 5 points for a pair of 9, plus 4 points for 9 and 8 to a straight. 16 points total which mean it’s worth calling.
c) Queen of clubs, Queen of hearts, 8 of diamonds and 8 of spades.
No suited cards; add 7 points for a pair of Queens, plus 4 points for a pair of 8, plus 4 points for a straight and subtract 2 points for a gap of three cards. Total is 13 points, so we play only against weak players and/or in the late position.
Some peculiarities of Hutchinson’s Omaha poker strategy
As any other mathematic system this one doesn’t take into account most important poker components – psychology and desire to win more money and not more pots. It can only minimize losses. In the first example many experienced players often wouldn’t raise in order to continue streets and try to create a bigger pot. However beginners may consider the system useful for estimating their hands. Try to calculate combinations after the game and find out whether you acted right or wrong in a certain situation.
Similar to holdem poker in Omaha the opening of flop is the key moment of the game. Now you know seven of nine potential cards.
Eventually if the flop doesn’t coincide with what you expected and there is no good combination coming or no serious hope to win then you should pass (or if you have an opportunity to see the turn freely say check).
If you are forming a strong combination or you have good chances to do this, your attention must be drawn to the cards needed for your or your opponents’ victory which are called outs. The probability of getting outs is the probability of victory the same as with video slot machine games. Of course for the exact estimation one has to know the cards of other players but quite reasonable assumptions can be made even without it.
Simplified example. Assume on the flop you got a straight with one gap and you have no pair or flush expectations. You presume that in case of forming this straight you win in any other case you lose. At that moment you know seven of the fifty two cards (yours four and three flop cards). Four of the rest 45 cards will do for you to bridge the gap – that is you have 4 outs. The probability that the necessary out appears on the turn is 4/45 and on the river – 4/44. Thus the probability of your victory is 1/6. If the pot size is at least six times higher than your bet you can risk. But remember that before the river you will also have to pay. So the most reasonable decision is to pass.
Real situations are of course much more difficult because you can win with a pair or three of a kind as well as lose with a straight. But the common strategy in Omaha high poker is to count outs. If there are a lot of outs you should play. If it is obvious that your opponent has a lot of outs but you are in a better position now – attack and raise making him to fold.