May 19 2010

Pot Limit Omaha – Adjusting Ranges

written by: John under Poker Strategy Comments: Comments Off

Pot Limit Omaha is very similar to Texas Holdem, but it is not the same. As players begin to transition from the Holdem tables to the Omaha tables, they are forced to learn some new skill sets. Putting other players on a range of hands is vital in hand reading. It is near impossible to pinpoint the exact holdings of any given player, save for some rare situations, but it is fairly easy to put players on defined ranges.

In Omaha, this can be very tricky. As Omaha is played with four cards as opposed to\two, extra consideration must be given to each hand. Someone could have a big pocket pair, but they might also have a suited connector. This is the beauty of Omaha, the ability to play multiple hands within one. This is also the reason why Omaha is much more difficult than most other games. When it comes down to it, however, putting your opponents on a range of hands is not rocket science. Through the analyzation of some context clues, and a little bit of history, any reasonable player can effectively narrow down the hands that their opponent most likely has.

Polarizing Ranges

In some forms of poker, it is relatively easy to polarize a range of hands. Polarizing hands is when you put a player on a very specific set of hands. This might be something like “pocket kings or pocket aces,” or it could be a bit more broad, like “a combo draw.” In Omaha, putting players on a polarized range of hands is difficult. In essence, a player would need to put their opponent on two separate ranges. As a hand progresses, however, it becomes easier to read your opponent’s hand. If someone played a hand on a very draw heavy flop, and has now made bigger plays once the draws hit, it should be pretty easy to put them on a draw. If the board seemed dry, but a player is betting out, you can safely assume that they are either very strong or very weak. Beyond this, since bluffing is not as common in Omaha, you would be able to lean towards a strong hand. Context clues are everything when trying to put someone on a range of hands.

While context clues are a great aid when making reads and identifying ranges, history between a few players can be even more important. The more that you know about how a player tends to play, the easier it is to see through their plays. Transparency is deadly in Omaha, or any form of poker, and the clearer picture that you are able to paint, the easier Omaha is going to be. Don’t assume that a player is going to make the same plays over and over again, but you should certainly give some heavy thought to what hand makes most given your past experience. History is a valuable weapon in poker, provided that it is used correctly. A smart poker player is somewhat aware of their image, so you are not going to be the only one who remembers what happened in the past. Think about how your opponent played a hand the first time, and then decide what the likelihood is that they would play it the same way again.

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