Articles by Annie Duke

Omaha Eight-or-Better: Underestimating the Value of Connecting High Cards

The final mistake I will discuss is the underestimation of the value of connecting high cards. Many players think that hands like K Q J T are quite weak when, in fact, they are quite strong. This is due several factors. First, when you flop this hand well there is almost never a possibility of a low being available. Hands that kill the low are always more valuable because when you win with the hand you will win the whole pot. The strongest hands in Omaha 8/b are hands that have scooping potential. There are two types of scooping hands: ones that have two way potential like AA23 and ones that have only high potential like AAKQ. Hands that have only high potential are, for this reason, strong.

The second factor that makes high straight cards so valuable is that it is a hand that you rarely get trapped with. Either you flop the hand well (as when the board comes T93, QQ9, or AQT for example) or you flop it very poorly (23Q, 578, K52 for example). Unlike with low straight cards where you can have the idiot end of the straight with a bad low that you have to pay off with high straight cards you either flop the nut draw or you don’t. There is really just no gray area with hands like these-as long as you are capable of throwing away your one pair flops when there are dangerous low cards out there. Because there is no gray area these hands are very easy to get away from on the flop. And since you will almost exclusively be gunning for the whole pot when you make these hands, thus scooping, these hands are very valuable and can be played from any position for a raise-particularly when you have suited features with them.

I hope that these mistakes have given you something to think about. The main lesson about hand selection in Omaha eight-or-better you should take away with you is that the fact that everyone gets four hole cards means that you have to be pickier about what you play. It is much more important than in any other game that has no wild cards that your hand be one that can easily make the nuts. The strength of the winning hand as compared to stud or hold’em in always much greater. In stud two pair will generally win the pot. In hold’em one pair will generally win. In Omaha 8/b both these hands will generally lose. Because your opponents have four cards the strength of the winning hand is greatly increased so you, as a player, need to play hands that are likely to make the nuts when you make your hand. If you always keep this in mind you will be well on your way to becoming a winning Omaha 8/b player.

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