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“Never Call Solely To Make A Hand Which May Be A Loser”

           This website assumes you know about “Omaha Holdem Poker.” Not to have done so is a crime against nature. This page simply expands some concepts.
           Omaha is a very peculiar game, in that before the flop, you really want everybody to pass. Within reason, whatever the fair chance of beating you. Thus, the very real question. Why reise before the flop?

           A-A-J-10 double-suited or A-A-K-K double-suited are the best hands before the flop. People have asked me, “Which do you prefer?” Frank Thompson, when I answered, “What does it matter?” opined, “Because it decides how you play after the flop.” Another told me, in his experience, A-A-J-10 double-suited won more money. In my experience, I don’t have the choice. In fact I have only once had A-A-K-K double suited; it is 50,000-1 against. This is not much more likely than a pat straight flush in five cards. Whatever, the hand isn’t a 3-2 favorite against 8-7-6-5 double-suited before the flop. If you “know” your opponent has aces, this is the best type of hand to outdraw him.

If you are late to speak and several people are already in the pot, then a raise isn’t going to make a substantial number fold. Thus the only reason to raise with aces is to augment the pot when you can’t have the worst of it. If, by so doing, you reveal half your hand, this is dangerous. Thus, you must raise with a variety of hands. The view has been expressed that a good player should wait to escalate the pot size until after the flop, when he may have made a more durable hand. But you must sometimes raise preflop, to discourage people from limping in with the certainty they will not have to face a raise. When somebody has raised immediately in front or you, then a reraise with aces is excellent. Weaker hands are likely to be driven out, because now they are getting less than 2-1 for their money.


In poker, whenever you raise before your hand is made, you are increasing the size of the stakes. Naturally, this violently increases your pluses and minuses. The standard deviation of your profit-loss account is a much larger number. However, although proportionately as large as the increase in total win. You are choosing the battlefield when you have a good hand. This strategy cannot be considered when your funds are too low to permit it. When playing on limited resources, there is much more to be said for keeping the size of the pot down.
          Consider the following preflop hand against Mansour Matloubi (the 1990 Hold’em World Champion) and Eddie, two ultra-aggressive players. Mansour had put up the $50 blind. On the button I made it the maximum $200. Now Eddie called, making the pot $550, and raised the whole amount. Mansour now faced a bet of $700 to win $1100. He called. It was $550 to me and I raised the maximum with A-A-10-9. Although this is not the best conceivable attacking hand, it is the best defense, as it is impossible to construct a hand which wouldn’t like some of mine for draws. Eddie called the $2350 and raised all-in a further $1000, and Mansour called the $3350. Naturally I called the $1000, not being allowed to use the under-raise to take further action. The pot stood at $12,400. Note; after the pot, we discussed the matter and all three of us were convinced Eddie and I both had aces. The flop was K-8-4. Mansour checked. Although this flop is totally irrelevant to me, it is also one of the least dangerous. Mansour cannot be certain of having the best flush draw against me. It is unlikely he has stood all this action with 8-8,4-4 or K-4 in his hand. Thus the only real dangers are K-K, K-Q-J-8 or 8-7-6-4. With a fine drawing poker hand such as 8-7-6-5, it would be better to come out betting. Although odds-on versus dry aces, it’s less than a 2-1 favorite. So he should bet, hoping for a pass. I bet $12,000 and Mansour raised the final $2000, which I gloomily called. The last cards were the J and 7, giving me the nut straight with 10-9.

           Mansour’s actual holding was K-K-J-2. Eddie indeed did have the other two aces. Thus my only win was to hit a backdoor straight with no heart flush coming up. This is about 2% probability. What is even sadder for Mansour is that Eddie only had the bare A, so that a heart flush would have given him the whole pot. To crown my victory, Eddie told me that had a queen popped up on the last card, he would have split his part of the pot with me, as he too had an A-10 combination.
           Although this is the most monstrous, brutal, biggest out-draw I have ever pulled off, I am still convinced Mansour should have passed before the flop. His probability or winning when holding kings under aces does not justify the outlay.
           I store the memory of these monstrous out-draw that I have pulled. Then, when somebody destroys me in a similar manner, I lie back and bask in the warm glow of a pot long since gone. This helps me avoid going on tilt.
            Understandably, you may wonder what is the biggest conceivable out-draw in a reasonable poker pot. Consider the following scenario in a seven-card stud poker game: Anna (A A) A 5. George (??) 9 9. Olaf (??) A. The game is three-handed and Olaf passed on the first betting round. On fourth street the remaining two players go all-in. It now turns out George have four 9’s. The only way for Anna to win is to hit 4 3 2. The probability of this is: (3 x 2 x 1) / (43 x 42 x 41), which is 0.0081%, about 12,340 to1. Now that’s what I call a juicy out-draw!

           Some beginners ask, “Since any flop may come up, what make one holding superior to another before the flop?” e.g. what’s so terrible about Q-7-3-2 offsuit? What sort of flop are you hoping to hit? Q-Q-7 or -7-7-7 or 5-4-A are examples. But who is going to contest a big pot with you if such a miracle flop comes? On Q-Q-7, only 7-7 or a Queen with sidecards bigger than your 7, so that you may end up losing, having flopped the nuts. Of course, you are going to win with a flop of 7-7-7, but it will only be a small pot. You may win on 5-4-A, but no improving card such as a pair, flush, or potentially bigger straight card as an 8,7,6,3 or 2 will leave you with a certainty. 
           In poker, when determining the odds, it is not only what you will win if you make your hand, but also the potential for winning fresh money once you have does so, and the likelihood of losing more.

            In addition, a good poker hand before the flop has a better chance success. If you are double-suited, you have a much better chance of hitting a flush. Four cards in sequence have a vastly greater number of ways to make a straight than just two cards in sequence. If you start with a pair, then at least you have that to show down at the end of the hand.
             If you play K-9-6-6, you are obviously hoping to hit a 6.Calling breaks out homily at the beginning of the chapter. It is impossible to hit a 6 without there being either higher cards or a straight on the table. Whether the flop is 6-3-2 or 8-6-2, there is no security. The hand is garbage. The higher your pair is, the fewer overcards are possible and the more likely undercards will turn up.



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