Sunday, February 10, 2008

Starting Hands in Omaha 8

Ryan asked if I would post my starting hands in O8. A difficult question but one I am happy to try to answer. Since I play heads up, 6 handed and 10 handed, starting hands will change for different positions, different # of players, and different types of tables. I have played with the aggro types and 10 handed tables where virtually everyone limps. I will try to rank hands as super premium, premium, OK, speculative, and don't bother. Then adust as you see fit based on table dynamics.

Super Premium

AAxx, I never fold AA preflop, the only hand I will never fold. It is ideal to be heads up with this hand or against a small field. I will occassionally limp with AA, UTG or early position 10 handed with AAxx with xx being junk like 6-10 cards, and rainbow.


A2xx. I will fold A2xx to a big raise if I limped in early position. A2xx actually plays better against a field than heads up. I raise typically with A2xx single suited, and almost always raise with A2xx double suited.

A23x. A great hand because yhou have counterfeight protection.

KKxx. I love this hand because when a King hits, unlike when an Ace hits on the flop, you are guaranteed there is no made low and the low hands will have to chase. Bet out or check raise with KK when the K hits on the flop and virtually always go to the mat.

QQxx. Another great hand for the same reasons.

Ax suited. I will sometimes fold if facing a big raise preflop but I love to see flops with this hand for obvious reasons. Ax with 6-10, would fall into the good hands category

Good Hands

Pocket 10 tens or Jacks with connecting cards and/or double suited. I like playing JJ,Q,9 single or double suited, but will throw away JJ,6-8 rainbow.

2,3 with another wheel card or double suited. What's so great about a 3 high flush draw. If 2,3 is the obvious nut low being bet into you I would typically just call with another 2,3 and no redraws. If I have a flush draw to go with it, I will raise here and freeroll against the villain.

2,4,5x. 2,4xx is just too hard to play. You are hoping for a A and a 3. It happens just not often enough to get excited.

4 Broadway cards. I know most people like to raise with these hands but I rarely do. I just find this to be a somewhat speculative hand because unless at least 2 of the flop cards are above an 8 I am fighting against the low who won't go away and can scoop against me.

A3xx. Rarely will I fold preflop unless rainbow with 6-10 cards.

A45x. Typically will play even if rainbow.

Speculative hands

2,3xx. Something like 2,3,KQ or 2,3,J,10 I will typically play.

4 connected cards. Hands like 4,5,6,7 are not great, but if you get a few limpers you might get a couple A2xx or A3xx to quarter themselves while you get a straight.

Junk hands

Double pair hands. I hate low pairs, as when you hit trips you are scared of bigger sets, flush draws, straight draws and sharing with the low. Double pair hands like JJ,88 (sorry Ryan) are junk.

All pairs 22 thru 77 unless it comes with premium cards. I tossed 44,xx today when raised by AAxx. The flop was 4,4,x, the turn was an A, but thats ROTTy thinking.

Rainbow hands not connected. Obvious.

4 of one suit hand. Obvious. I played a hand like this today because the ranking of the cards were good. I think it was A,3,Q, 10 or something. 2 of my suit hit on the flop but I did not chase knowing I had so many of my own outs.

Pure Trash

3 of a kind. I will rarely play a AAA,x hand. Maybe if it comes with a 2 or is suited. All other 3 of a kinds I throw away.

Still have yet to be dealt 4 of a kind but I am sure it is coming.

I use a concept called reverse implied odds, meaning what are the chances I will pay off the villains when I am chasing with pure trash hands. Even great poker players pay off villains. In O8 showdown value is so important as the pots tend to be huge and showdowns happen much more often than in Hold'em.

Hope this helps but the real key to success is post flop play just like in Hold'em. This is where are villains are failing. I will try to give some insight to post flop play on my blog when I post at the end of this month.

Good luck at the tables.


royalbacon said...

This is great, Jason. Thanks for posting it!

jason said...

No problem. The coolest thing is I have now figured out a way to get on to this blog at work, well, sort of at work. I can sneak out, go to the library, log on and surf the blocked sites.

My degenerate side is now being attended to again.

Marshall said...

Great stuff Jase, keep it coming. Do any of you guys have any comments about Jason's starting hands?

Pretty close to what you play? Any major differences? I have been playing a lot of O8 lately, and this is all good info.

Sushi Cowboy said...

The only thing I was surprised at was that AAxx was listed as super premium and unfoldable. Granted there is not always a low but it struck me odd that a hand with no low potential could (if AAT9) could be unfoldable in a hi/lo game. Granted there are plenty of good hands with AA in them but rhere are plenty of clunker, rainbow, no low, AAxx hands that are EV- as well.

I am also surprised at Jason's emphasis on high pairs/xx hands. AA makes the most sense of course but KK, QQ, and JJ seem so vulnerable to any A and don't really seem to be able to make a strong hand without boating up. It just struck me as odd that something like QQxx is premium but double paired hands are junk. Are high pockets valuable because an overpair wins high often enough when there is a low battle going on? I would have thought that an unassisted pair would not be strong enough to win high often enough to justify putting them in premium category. And are you going to go to the mat with an overpair? If you are getting action it seems that it is so likely that someone could have a random two pair that you can't feel comfortable with just a pocket for high.

From what I've seen it just seems that wheel cards are much more valuable in hi/lo than high pockets.

jason said...

AAxx hands I am going to the mat with almost always preflop especially if xx is a wheel card.

I like high pockets and treat them like I would 22-88 in Hold'em. If I flop or turn a set I am likely going to the mat. If I am mathematically behind with the current nuts so be it. Overpairs are not something I typically want to show down, unless I was chasing a low a flush or a straight as well.

Wheel cards without an ace are fine but more so in 10 handed play. Short handed aggressive play often prevents you from drawing to a low, but in 10 handed play, so many people are scared to bet with out a monster. I just think you see more turns and rivers in 10 handed play.

I think the WNP crowd can conquer the 08 tables on cake and build bankroll for the challenge. Hope these comments help.

Marshall said...

Judging from your comments, I think I may be giving my opponents too much credit on average. I basically just try to play super TAG, very nitty preflop but then jamming the shit out of the pot when I am in it. I push nut draws hard generally and try to take down medium pots on the turn. I am trying to keep a really open mind and not get too much info from other people until I have made my own conclusions, then combine my own learned knowledge with respected players knowledge and see what I come up with.

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