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Pot-Limit Omaha: A Few Hands

Playing flush draws with the initiative, and double-barreling with a bluff-raise

by Jeff Hwang |  Published: May 06, 2011


Jeff HwangLet’s run through a few pot-limit Omaha hands.

Hand No. 1: Flush draw, pivot card, playing with the initiative

The game: $1-$2 online (six-max), six-handed

My position: Hijack

My hand: K♠ J♦ 10♦ 8♠

Preflop: The under-the-gun [UTG] player folds. I ($200) raise to $7, and only the small blind ($263.05) calls.

This is a reasonably standard open from the hijack seat.

Flop ($16): Q♦ 6♣ 2♦. My opponent checks.

I flopped the third-nut flush draw, and hit a pivot card, as well, whereby a lot of help could arrive on the turn. I do not want to get check-raised off this draw. The standard play should be to check behind.

Action: I check.

Turn ($16): K♥. My opponent checks.

I picked up top pair with an open-end straight draw. This should be bet.

Action: I bet $16, and my opponent calls.

River ($48): Q♥. My opponent checks.

At this point, I have enough hand to show down. Betting would be a mistake, as I would have a tough time getting called by anything worse than kings up.

Action: I check. My opponent shows the K♦ 10♠ 10♣ 9♦, for kings up with a 10 kicker. I win with my jack kicker.

It turns out that my opponent had the king-high flush draw on the flop, and hit the king and a gutshot draw on the turn. I think that if I had his hand in his position, I probably would have bet the turn rather than check-called.

Hand No. 2: Paired-board double-barrel and bluff-raise

The game: 50¢-$1 online (six-max), six-handed

My position: Button

My hand: 7♥ 6♥ 5♦ 4♠

Preflop: The UTG player ($82.75) raises to $3.50. The hijack ($97.50) calls, and the cutoff folds.

Behind a raise and a call, flat-calling is the right play.

Action: I ($137.70) call. Both blinds fold.

Flop ($12): Q♦ 10♠ 10♣. Both opponents check to me.

This is an interesting spot, because anytime there are three players in the pot and the board contains a pair on the flop, there is a good chance that somebody has trips, and I know that I don’t have it. Meanwhile, the fact that the board produced possible undertrips — Q-10-10 instead of 10-10-3, for example, whereby a player who has trips has a draw to the nut full house — also affects the dynamics of this hand. This is because if the flop had come 10-10-3 instead, and one of my opponents had a 10 for trips, he more than likely would have bet; but on this Q-10-10 flop, my opponents would have incentive to check bare undertrips for pot-control purposes.

I also think there’s a decent chance that the UTG player has A-A-X-X. But in that case, in this three-way, semi-protected pot, I think he might be willing to give me credit for having trip tens if I bet.

It’s not an automatic bet, but I think it’s worth a shot.

Action: I bet $8.50. The UTG player folds. The hijack calls.

At this point, I give the hijack credit for having bare trips, with an outside chance of an overpair like A-A-X-X or K-K-X-X, as well as quad tens. Q-Q-X-X for the overfull is also a remote possibility, although I think there is a better chance that he would have bet that hand.

Turn ($29): A♣. My opponent checks.

This is either a good card or a bad card: My opponent either has A-10-X-X or he doesn’t. Betting is worth another shot.

Action: I bet $20, and my opponent calls.


River ($69): 2♠. My opponent bets $5.

This is a mistake: My opponent has pretty much taken me off the hook by making a weak blocking bet. Had he checked, I probably would have given him credit for having A-10-X-X, and checked behind and given up the pot. But by making a weak blocking bet, he is telling me that he is weak.

My guess is that he probably has bare trips, or maybe something like K-J-10-X, having flopped trips but turned a straight, and that having check-called the flop and turn, he does not know where he stands. The only question in my mind is how much to raise, because the pot is big enough to set him all in.

For example, would he read a small raise as a bluff, and call? That might be over-thinking the problem.

Action: I raise to $45.50, and my opponent folds.

Let’s do one more.

Hand No. 3: Flush draw, pivot card, playing with the initiative

The game: 50¢-$1 online (six-max), three-handed

My position: Button

My hand: J♥ 10♥ 9♣ 7♥

Preflop: I ($105.20) open with a raise to $3.50, and only the big blind ($445.95) calls.

That’s standard.

Flop ($7.50): Q♥ 5♥ 4♣. My opponent checks.

As in the first hand, I flopped a flush draw with a pivot card. This is a good spot to check and take the free card.

Action: I check.

Turn ($7.50): 3♥. My opponent bets $7.50.

I made my flush. Meanwhile, the first bet in a heads-up pot is almost always suspect.

The play is to call at least one bet and re-evaluate the situation on the river.

Action: I call.

River ($22.50): 3♠. My opponent checks.

There is little value in betting on this paired board, and I can show this hand down. On a side note, had my opponent bet the river, I would have had to strongly consider calling again, as it would have been difficult (though not impossible) for my opponent to be able to faithfully bet the pot on the turn when the flush hit, and then bet the river again when the board paired.

Action: I check. My opponent shows the A♦ 9♦ 9♠ 2♦, for the wheel. I win. ♠

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