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Great Omaha Game in Indiana

Great Omaha Game in Indiana

by Michael Cappelletti |  Published: Aug 10, 2011


Michael CappellettiWhile attending the Spring National Bridge Championships held this year in Louisville, Kentucky, one of my “spies” informed me that there was a Harrah’s Horseshoe Casino with a big poker room about 20 minutes away on the Indiana side of the Ohio River.

Later that evening, five of us ventured forth to this large Horseshoe Casino, where amidst many hold’em tables was a $500-$2,000 buy-in pot-limit Omaha game. Although the blinds were $2-$5, I quickly learned not to speculate in early position, because most of the hands were raised to $15 or $20 preflop.

My first hour there was rather quiet, as I patiently waited for a good hand and flop. I did have to make one very tight fold with a second-nut flush, which saved me $130 (would have cost me a $400-plus win if I had been wrong).

Finally, on my button, it was called around to me, and I held a 7-7-6-5 single-suited. I sometimes make “psychic” raises (a bridge term) preflop in tournament play with medium wraps — which my opponents tend to interpret as high cards with a pair. Since I had been playing tight (and yes, I was a bit bored), I decided to experiment by raising it to $20 preflop. Doing this frequently in live poker is not recommended, but when done occasionally, it can lead to a good result — plus, it’s good for PR.

In four-way action, a K-4-3 rainbow flop was certainly a welcome sight. They checked it around to me, and I bet $50 (a popular post-flop bet there). I didn’t really expect to buy the pot at that juncture, but I did expect at least one or two folds. However, each of them called without hesitation.

Lo and behold, a seven turned, giving me not only the nut straight, but the second-highest set, as well. If the last card paired the board, only kings full would beat my full house. Again, they checked it around to me. If there had not been two hearts on the board, I might have made a smaller bet here, but since they probably would not put me on a straight, I tried “pushing my obvious aces” with a $275 bet (roughly the size of the pot).

Did they all fold? No way! All three of them called! Fortunately, the last card was not a heart, I still had the nuts, and I bet my remaining $100-plus. I got two callers and ended up netting about $1,300 in that one pot — which had started out as an experiment.

Needless to say, we all went back there several times that week, and all five of us managed to go plus — even the two kids (up-and-coming bridge players in their twenties) who were relatively new to live poker (they had only played $1-$2 no-limit hold’em). ♠

Formerly a career lawyer with the U.S. Department of Justice, Mike Cappelletti has written numerous books on poker and bridge, and is considered to be one of the leading authorities on Omaha. Mike has also represented the U.S. in international bridge competition, and he and his wife were featured in a four-page Couples Section in People magazine. His books include Cappelletti on Omaha, Poker at the Millennium (with Mike Caro), and Omaha High Low Poker.