Poker is a game of skill – Omaha Pot Limit High / Low is a flop game

vintage cowboy: arizona outlaw
Image by freeparking via Flickr

Last night I played in a Pot Limit Omaha High/Low Poker tourney being hosted by the Cowboy’s Poker League played on FullTiltPoker.  Scott (twitter name is ffcowboy76) and Jeremy (twitter name is IBGPN) are the hosts and contact persons. Tweet or follow them on their exploits as well as follow their league twitter name – @CowboyPoker. Only one game remains to be played in the regular season league play so check out their schedule here.
At the end of the season there will be a “Championship” game with only the top 9 on their leader board being invited to play. Congratulations to the top three prize winners. The tourney summary was as follows:

2: Belsepub
3: ffcowboy76
4: kazor
5: KennyBannia
6: StevieTrips
7: Street 3
8: Zonetrap

The basic difference between Pot Limit and No Limit is that your largest bet is limited to the size of the pot after a round of betting. Pot Limit betting makes it harder to get a player to fold a drawing hand as the player is getting good odds to call raises.

Additionally, Omaha Pot Limit is considered to be a flopping game, meaning that most of the decisions should be made after seeing the flop and after you see what your chances are of having the best high hand and the best low hand.

I folded the first eight hands I played either pre-flop or right after the flop.

On the ninth hand of the evening I was dealt Jc 2s Ac Qc, which is a good but not great starting hand. This is the type of hand that can make a high straight or the nut high flush (highest flush hand possible) and also a low hand using the A 2 as part of the low. I had what is called many outs or many ways that I could win the hand. I had eight outs for the flush draw. I had 16 outs for the high straight draw, and I had 12 outs for the best low draw.

The flop was Ks Th 2d and based on the flop I had a good chance of making the high straight draw but not the flush or the low hand. Based on that flop I should have folded. But I bet about 30% of my chips trying to drive out the other players. Instead of folding, one of the other players raised all-in. Both myself and another player called the all-in.  The turn card was a 7c, no help. The river card was a 5d, also no help. Even with all of the possible draws I had available, I lost both the high and the low hands and was down to 285 in chips. Because my hand post flop had no chance of winning low, my best course of action was to fold instead of raising.  Pot Limit Omaha is not forgiving of errors made in post flop play.

My last and final hand was hand #16. I was dealt 2d Ks As Ah and with only 225 in chips I went all in. Again I had cards that could win both the high and the low if the flop, turn, and river helped my hand. Because I was short stacked, low on chips, this was my best hand to go all-in with.

The flop was 3d 9s 3c, giving me two pair with the Aces I held and a chance for the low, if both the turn and the river were low as well, but not paired. The turn was an Ad giving me the best full house possible. I remembered thinking that there was no possible way a higher full house would beat this hand. The river card was a 7s. For a moment, it looked like I would double up by winning the high hand, until my opponent turned over his cards, 2h 3h Ac 3s, showing that he had made four of a kind or quads with the 3’s which beat my full house.

Have you ever played a hand in Pot Limit Omaha High/Low that you thought had the lock on the high side only to be surprised? Do you always try to enter a pot cheaply pre-flop and then make your decisions on what action to take after the flop?  Do you avoid playing hands that cannot make both the high hand and the low hand as well?

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