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Pot Limit Omaha

Marcus Bateman RSS / Marcus Bateman / 18 July 2008 / Leave a Comment

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140 Marcus Bateman

Pot Limit Omaha has become one of the most popular cash games in recent years.

There are more high stakes Pot Limit Omaha games running at this point in time than any other game available. It is a true action game, with the extra two cards making many more hands and situations possible, with the result that all the money tends to go in much more frequently than in no limit hold'em.

It is also a game where the percentages are much slimmer than other poker variants. Whereas in hold'em, where a player tends to get the money in as a big favourite most of the time (usually around 70-80% as in the case of over pair vs. under pair or flopped set vs. over pair), or in a classic 50/50 race situation (as in the case of the classic ace king versus a pair of queens), in Pot Limit Omaha the money regularly all goes in on 60/40 and 50/50 margins.

As a result of this finer margin, the swings in the game are much more severe than hold'em. This means that the game requires extremely careful bankroll management - you need many more buy ins to play than you would need in no limit hold'em cash games. The best way to illustrate why this is so is to think about the optimum strategy involved in betting on small margins.

Imagine that a player offered to flip coins with you all day. When you won, they would pay you £55, but when you lost you only have to pay £45. Clearly this is a great bet for you, and one which you stand to make a large amount of money on if approached thoughtfully. The optimum strategy would be to bet a small amount of your bankroll on each flip and grind out the winning margin over time, using your large bankroll and small bet sizes to weather the inevitable variance that the coin will bring.

Compare this strategy to laying large proportions of your bankroll on the throw of the coin each time. Using this strategy, you will go broke very quickly, as you only need the coin to go against you a few times to lose everything. So it is in Pot Limit Omaha, where you will need a proportionally large reserve of buy ins to cope with the variance. The odds of losing five flips of a coin in a row is only 32 to 1 - statistically it will happen to you on a regular basis during your playing career. The important thing is to have a large enough bankroll to overcome the chance element over time and take advantage of the edge you have.

If you want to take Pot Limit Omaha seriously, this is the most important lesson you will need to learn. It is basically impossible to be a long term winner in the game without an adequate bankroll. No matter what your skill level, if you take a large chunk of your bankroll on the table, lady luck will catch up with you eventually.

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