Sunday, November 11, 2007

When to bet in Omaha

After digesting some of Ryan's posts on his DNR blog, I am now wondering when it is correct to bet in Omaha. In Hold'em you want to protect a good hand against draws and you can price people out, not because it is NL instead of PL but because there are fewer draws in a two card hand than a four card hand. Is "being ahead" on the flop enough reason to put chips in without significant redraws? I think the answer depends on the table you are at. Do the players just want to play Omah-lotto and try to suck out? Or are the players disciplined players who will only call with the correct odds? Are the stakes enough to keep people from calling?

And which one would you rather be? The player with the best hand on the flop or the player with the best draws on the flop? What about checking the turn and waiting for a blank to fall before betting? I know you want to get money in when you are ahead but if made hands and draws end up being the proverbial 50/50 (OK, probably closer to 55/45 in reality but you get the idea) on the flop, what is the best way to play it?


Marshall said...

I think that if you can determine that you are ahead, it's probably appropriate to get as much money as possible in while you are the favorite.

Isn't that the point of poker?

Sushi Cowboy said...

It's the old "ahead on the flop but not favored to win the hand" situation that I am sure is much more feasible in Omaha with four cards playing and probably even worse in 0/8 when you factor in chopping pots or getting quartered.

Ryan emailed an example a while ago about a situation where it was correct to fold the nuts. Ironically enough it was from the blog of Nat Arem, an important figure in the AP scandal. But it looks like he updated his blog software and I can't find the original post though I'm sure Ryan remembers the gist of it. Ryan also included a twodimes hand analysis and the player who flopped perfect with Broadway was almost a 2:1 dog against a set and a flush draw.

I think any of us would assume that we are ahead on that flop with the current nuts and a lot of the time we probably would be. But how do we get to that next level of factoring in redraws into flop play?

Ryan said...

Obviously I am far, far from an expert, but I am enjoying trying to crack O8 the same way you did with S8, Martin. "Do I bet this?" is my most frequently-asked O8 question. I don't have a great answer, except I will say that my basic mantra holds true: never bet or raise in O8 if you aren't willing to go to the felt with it. Perhaps that only changes the question to, "Should I go to the felt with this?"

Having the nuts and betting is easy because you *know* you are ahead (even though in O8 you are never as far ahead with the nuts as you are in hold’em). The tough challenge of O8 is correctly identifying your out count, and knowing when your weird combo draw has enough equity to bet.

Nut-low draws on the flop are a big "should I bet" moment for me. It always feels like the right move at the time, and then a big card comes off on the turn that makes someone's nut-high, they bet pot, which is now huge thanks to your flop bet, and you are left calling off all your chips on a low draw.

It's nice to have multi-way draws...I like that nut-low draw when there's an open-ender to go with it, even if it's a six-out open-ender because of flush draws or whatever. And the suited ace with a 2 or 3 again is so important because of the chance that you will have the draw to the nut high and nut low on the flop.

Tricky, swingy, maddening game, but oh so fun.

Sushi Cowboy said...

First of all, I am opposed to betting on the come in Omaha, partially because I lose enough chips when I bet WITH a hand that I'm not keen on investing chips when I DON'T have a hand. But also because I think I will get enough action after I make my hand and given my choice I would rather make my hand on the Turn than on the Flop.

But as draws go, I guess I should be more on board with the low draw. If you have the nut low draw on the flop you have 16 cards that can guarantee you at least a portion of the pot. Plus, if one of your cards is an Ace then having another Ace fall could potentially improve your hand enough to compete for a high. The quartering risk is the big fly in the ointment though. It would be interesting to see EV numbers on different ways to treat the nut low draw on the flop.

Ryan said...

But as draws go, I guess I should be more on board with the low draw. If you have the nut low draw on the flop you have 16 cards that can guarantee you at least a portion of the pot.

But don't you see that you can easily find yourself in situations where you have a similar number of outs to the high nuts, and in a generally less-choppable way than in the low?

I understand what you are saying, but I have no problem saying that O8 superdraws should be bet for the same reason you advocate (or at least understand) betting low draws.

But simple open-enders or nut flush draws? Yeah, those are non-bets.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Yes, you can have super draws for high also but once you have made the nut low, you will always have it and get at least some chips back.

If you have a super draw that hits on the Turn you could still lose on the river and get nothing for high. Not sure which is better, at risk for chopping or at risk for losing it all.

But like I said, I'm interested in betting neither high nor low draws. I might make an exception for atomic wraps on a rainbow board through. How can you miss?!

Ryan said...

Wait, so 16 outs to a nut low that is more frequently chopped you would bet, but 16 outs to a nut high that is less frequently chopped you wouldn't?

I understand, you don't like draws, but outs are outs. Don't discriminate against superdraws for high when they are as likely as the superdraw for low.

Sushi Cowboy said...

Flushes and paired boards don't count against lows. If you make your straight on the turn and are check/called then the board pairs and someone leads into you then you are in a tougher spot than having the nut low locked up. You still might get quartered but you won't get blanked.

For that reason I would say that 16 outs to a high and 16 outs to a low are different.

All I'm saying is that I am hesitant to bet either on a draw and that I would say the two draws are different. I'd need to see numbers to see if the EV of getting quartered in low is better or worse then getting outdrawn on the river for high.