Three Omaha High-Low Hands
2006 Randy Saylor  

This is the continuation of an article detailing a series of twelve hands in which I almost doubled a buy-in at a limit table due to some bad plays, lucky draws, and timely bets.

Hand Six

We’ve lost a player (one of my targets), but a new player has taken the spot, so we’re still six-handed. I’m third to act preflop, and I’m dealt Q A A 3. This is an excellent starting hand in Omaha High-Low, and not (necessarily) because of the aces!

If you are a holdem player, get the importance of pocket aces out of your mind right now! In a loose Omaha game, there are so many combinations of two-card hands out against you that your aces will lose to sets, straights, and flushes all the time. The only way to really play AA for value is to be able to raise enough preflop to eliminate most of your competition. That generally isn’t possible in loose low-stakes games (especially fixed limit), so it’s best not to overvalue aces.

The aces definitely add some value to my hand, as does the A Q flush draw and the A3 low draw. The first player calls. Another folds, and I decide to simply call (to invite more players into the pot). I’m also hoping the maniac will raise it for me. It’s called around to the big blind, who raises. I decide to simply call again, this time for two reasons: 1) I want the rest of the players to stay in, and 2) I want to disguise the strength of my hand. I just won a big pot a few hands ago after raising preflop. This may help me later. All call, and 4 players (50% again!) see the flop with $16 in the pot.

*** FLOP *** 2 4 6. This is another excellent flop for me. I have the made nut low (although it is counterfeited if an A or 3 comes later) and the nut flush draw. It is checked to me and I bet (fourth to act). I only get one caller.

*** TURN *** 7. No improvement. I bet and get called.

*** RIVER *** 7. Still no improvement, but my low remains good and my aces and sevens two pair might win high. I bet and get called. The pot is $36 ($1 raked)

*** SHOW DOWN ***
I show Q A A 3 (HI: two pair, Aces and Sevens; LO: 6,4,3,2,A)
My opponent mucks his hand, holding K K 9 T

I win both low and high for $35, a net win of $21.


The villain was drawing to the second nut flush, always a losing proposition. I’m sure his preflop raise was intended to limit the field, but this just does not work in these loose, low-limit games. After the flop comes down with three low cards, he most certainly will be facing someone with a made low, so he is only playing for half the pot, even if his pair of kings or king-high flush draw is good. Why risk 2.5 big bets to call to the river when at best, you’ll only get them right back?

Hand Twelve

I won a net $1.50 on a small pot in hand eight, but I’m not including that here because it’s simply not interesting. There was only one bet on the flop, and then the hand was checked to the showdown. I split the pot with another player.

At hand twelve, the table had filled up to ten players. Another of the fish had left, and I assumed that the new players were sharks attracted by the smell of blood in the water. I was in late-middle position, fifth to act preflop. The first three players called, followed by a raise to my right. Holding A 4 K T, I was certainly willing to see a flop, especially for two small bets. Seven players saw the flop with a pot of $29.

*** FLOP *** T K T. I certainly have to like this flop! Only KK has me beat. I’m going to slightly slowplay this flop, but I don’t want to give a JJ, QQ, or AA a chance to catch a miracle card to give them a bigger full house. If I’m behind to KK, so be it. Six players check, the seventh bets, two call, and I raise. This makes it heads up. Seven players saw the flop, and now we’re down to two. There is a lot of dead money in this pot, and I’m likely in the lead.

*** TURN *** 3. My worst fear, a J, Q, or A, is avoided. My opponent checks, and I bet. I figure I’ll find out now if I’m beat by KK. If he check-raises, I’ll strongly consider the possibility of KK and switch to check-call mode. He simply calls. I’m 99.9% confident I’m way ahead here.

*** RIVER *** 3. I’m very confident of a win. Only KK or 33 beats me now. He checks, I bet, and he folds. The pot is $49 ($2 rake), so I win $47 (net $31).


The only hands my opponent could have heads up were possibly an AQJx (for a wraparound straight draw) or the case ten, hoping to pair one of his other hole cards. In the first case, the straight draw, he should at least consider a full house on the flop, especially after my check-raise. I wasn’t worried if he had a ten, since I also had an ace kicker in case an ace comes, so I couldn’t lose to a better tens-full. My only significant worries were losing to a QQ or JJ (two outs each), or an AA (one out since I had an ace) if they caught a better full house.

I stayed at this table for a few more rounds, but I went card dead and all the fish left. I gave back a small portion of my wins, but still ended a short session up about $64 (16 big bets) in about 30 minutes.

Sure, I caught some lucky cards; I have no doubt about that. Sometimes you’re the windshield and sometimes you’re the bug. The things I did right are: good table selection, maximizing opportunities, and protecting my wins when the table conditions changed.

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