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Pot Limit Omaha, how to win playing heads up
I thought it would be interesting to start adding a few hands to this article and the thought process behind how they were played. As you can see I do not play mind numbing stakes but the stakes play I routinely have $20,000 and $30,000 runs.
Probably the most important thing of this hand analysis is not that the player did anything wrong and certainly this is not meant to be a criticism of his/her play. To be a winning poker player you need to maximize the percentages on how you win. Remember in reflection you might do things differently but I am pretty sure I would have played the hand the way I will describe if I were them.
As you watch the video I raise the button with medium connected cards and I get re-raised and call. This is a fairly standard play if you play a lot of heads up Omaha, I do not call all re-raises put picking off big hands out of position is one of the winning tenants of PLO. One of the nice things about low limit PLO is that the better players re-raise with about the type of hands that you think they would be AAxx or KKQJ type of hands. While you are behind and you will have a lot of second best type flush hands, these are also image plays and the more profitable you can make middling types of hands the more profitable you will become. Which is one of the reasons PLO is so complex and favors good players over time.
In this instance the flop is favorable for me but not wildly so. When the re-raiser bets into me (as I recall) I paused for a second, this might have been a queue for him to shove but realistically about the only hands he beats are hands like mine. He did however have one significant blocker but in my opinion it would not have played a significant role to play it the way he did. It was the Ace of hearts. Basically as you watch it I re-raise his initial raise and we get all the money in on the flop. At that point he has about a 4.5% edge on me (you can see this by using the percentage button).
Poker is about winning with the largest edge possible 4.5% is certainly a decent edge but basically he is just guessing out of position. Once he decided to go with the hand I think he should have stuck with his read no matter what the turn did. In Pot Limit Omaha one of the big advantages you have is something I call Ԧirst bluffԬ since winning poker is about getting it in with the biggest edge I am of the opinion they should have called and shoved the turn no matter what. The reason being that almost no card is really a scare card. Even if I hit my straight you are probably just going to lose but statistically it is improbable compared to all of the cards that were favorable to them. In my opinion if the board pairs that would have been favorable, think about it, if they are shoving the flop then the decision has already been made to go with the hand, a set or trips should not scare them at this point. If a heart peels off on the turn then that is optimal because it is a wonderful bluff out. Simply put given the range of hands that does not beat his hand he would have been better off pushing the turn because of bluff equity and actual equity. Remember that in poker you want to play with large edges, on the turn their edge was 25% and that discounts the times that I just fold.
Winning poker is about manipulating your opponents to do your will. I think this hand served as ample opportunity to do so.
Also I would like it to be said that the situation could easily be reversed. So this analysis is by no means a criticism of their play, it was just an interesting hand where some equity could be squeezed and I thought that would make for some interesting discussion.