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Reading Hands

Excellent techniques are available for reading hands in Omaha eight-or-better.

Most commonly, you analyze the meaning of an opponent’s check, bet, or raise, and you look at the exposed cards and try to judge from them what his entire hand might be.

You then combine the plays he has made throughout the hand with the exposed cards and come to a determination about his most likely hands.

In other words, you use logic to read hands. You interpret your opponents’ plays on each round and note the cards that appear on the board, paying close attention to the order in which they appear.

You then put these two pieces of evidence together – the plays and the cards on the board – to draw a conclusion about an opponent's most likely hand.

Sometimes you can put an opponent on a specific hand quite to your initial conclusion no matter how things develop.

A player who raises before the flop and then raises again after two high cards have flopped may have made a set, but he also may be on a draw and is trying for a free card.

Drawing a narrow, irreversible conclusion early can lead to costly mistakes later, such as giving that free card or betting into your opponent when he makes his hand.

What you should do is to put an opponent on a variety of hands at the start of play, and as play progresses, eliminate some of those hands based on his later play and on the cards that come.

Through this process of elimination, you should have a good ideas of what this opponent has (or is drawing to ) when the last cards is dealt.

For instance, suppose that before the flop, an opponent calls after you raise.

On the flop, two small cards appear , as well as two suited cards, and he raises after you bet. An off suit eight then comes on the turn, but when you check to him, he also checks.

It is now likely that this player is on a flush draw – probably the not flush draw – and was buying a free card.

If a flush card comes on the river, you should not bet into him. in addition, if the flush card does not hit, you may want to check on the end and call, hoping to induce a bluff.

However, if you have only a low made and cannot beat even a weak high, you may want to bet, since there is a reasonable chance that you can pick up the whole pot.

At the end of a hand, it becomes especially crucial to have a good idea of what your opponent has.

The more accurately you can read hands, the better you can determine what your chances are of having your opponent beat.

This, of course, helps you in deciding how to play your hand.

In practice, most players at least try to determine whether an opponent has a bad hand, a mediocre hand, a good hand, or a great hand.

For instance, let’s say your opponent bets on the end. Usually when a person bets, it represents a bluff, a good hand, or great hand, but not a mediocre hand.

If your opponent had a mediocre hand, he probably could check.

If you have only a mediocre hand, must determine what the chances are that your opponent is bluffing and whether those chances warrant a call in relation to the pot odds.

For example, most players will not bet on the end with a low that isn’t the nuts, especially if they are against several opponents.

They hope to win in a showdown with this mediocre hand.

One way to read hands is to start by considering possible poker cards that an opponent might have and then to eliminate some of those possibilities as the hand develops.

A complementary way to read hands is to work backward. For instance, if someone cold calls a raise and a reraise before the flop, the flop comes

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the fourth street card is the

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and he is able to raise on fourth street, you think back to his play in earlier rounds. Since it does not seem possible that your opponent would have called on the flop if he had something like a three-card low or a big pair smaller than aces before the flop, you now have to suspect that he has made a set of aces.

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