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Pot-Limit Omaha Quiz

Three-betting before the flop

by Jeff Hwang |  Published: Nov 26, 2010


The game: $1-$2 with 30¢ ante online (six-max), five-handed
Your position: Cutoff
Your hand: 8♠ 7♠ 6♥ 4♥

Seat 1: Button ($488.85)
Seat 2: Small blind ($400)
Seat 3: Big blind ($356.15)
Seat 4: Under-the-gun player ($828.70)
Seat 6: Cutoff — you ($400.35)

Preflop: The under-the-gun player ($828.70) opens with a raise to $5.25.

1. Should you:
a. Fold?
b. Call?
c. Reraise?

Action: You ($400.35) reraise to $20.25. The button and both blinds fold. The under-the-gun player calls.
Flop ($45): 10♥ 4♠ 3♥. Your opponent checks.

2. Should you:
a. Check?
b. Bet?

Action: You check.
Turn ($45): 6♣. Your opponent bets $36.

3. Should you:
a. Fold?
b. Call?
c. Raise?

Action: You call.
River ($117): Q♠. Your opponent bets $88.

4. Should you:
a. Fold?
b. Call?
c. Raise?

Action: You call. Your opponent shows the K♥ Q♦ 9♥ 8♦, for a pair of queens. You win.
Grades and Analysis

1. a(0), b(8), c(10). 8-7-6-4 double-suited is a premium or near-premium rundown that warrants a three-bet in position, particularly when this deep with 200 big blinds. Flat-calling is never really wrong, but three-betting gets the slight edge here.

2. a(10), b(5). Continuation-betting is not necessarily “wrong,” but this is an excellent spot for a pot-control check. You have middle pair, the nut gutshot draw, and a flush draw in a situation with a medium-high stack-to-pot ratio (SPR of 8.4) — judgment territory. You have a hand that has some small-pot value (middle pair, draws to two pair and trips) and a lot of potential small-pot value (draws to a small flush), as well as some potential big-pot value in the nut gutshot draw. That said, while you have a lot of small-pot value in a lot of different directions, you are not particularly strong in any direction, and as such, your hand is not really strong enough to stand a check-raise.

At smaller stakes against weaker opponents, it’s not really wrong to simply bet every time; but, at $1-$2, where the average opponent is a bit more sophisticated and check-raises more often, I would tend to check this one back.

3. a(5), b(10), c(0). You can’t fold this for one bet, as there are lots of hands that you can beat for one bet with your combination of draws, plus your two pair. Raising is incorrect, as your hand is not strong enough to withstand a reraise. The play is to call and re-evaluate your options on the river.

4. a(5), b(10), c(0). This is a judgment call. Raising is incorrect, as you do not need to bluff. Folding is OK. That said, you can beat a follow-through bet with your two pair; meanwhile, if you put yourself in your opponent’s shoes, it is not hard to see him giving you credit for a bare A-A-X-X, and/or a busted flush draw. ♠

Jeff Hwang is a semiprofessional player and author of Pot-Limit Omaha Poker: The Big Play Strategy and Advanced Pot-Limit Omaha: Small Ball and Short-Handed Play. He is also a longtime contributor to the Motley Fool. His latest two books — Advanced Pot-Limit Omaha Volume II: LAG Play, and Volume III: The Short-Handed Workbook — were released in October 2010. You can check out his website at