I don't write that much strategy on my blog, but i've started writing for Cardplayer, so i thought i may as well put it on my blog as well.
In a series of articles about bluffing in Omaha, I am going to look at situations where bluffing in Pot Limit Omaha very profitable. Many players follow a successful tight-aggressive strategy in Omaha, but the very best players I have faced bluff in more situations than you might think. I don't mean bluffing with the bare Ace when there is a flush on the board, because many people do that, but rather representing hands when you are able to put opponents on a range of potential holdings.
Sometimes the board will pair on the flop. In this article I will look at how bluffing in this situation can be very profitable. If you are able accurately to assess the situation, and to take advantage of it, you can take down some very big pots. The reason why bluffing on a paired board is often successful, is that most players will often not want to commit most or all of their stack with a high pair such as Aces or Kings.
For the purposes of this example, you are playing in a $10/$20 Pot Limit game with 5 opponents. Each opponent is playing $3000. One player limps in under the gun, you limp in the cut off with 889T double suited. The button makes it $100 to play. Both blinds fold. The limper and you both call. The flop comes 33J with no flush draw. It is unlikely, given the pre-flop raise, that any opponent has a 3 or JJ. So you can make a move on this kind of paired board. It is more risky to try and represent a good hand on a high paired board as it becomes more likely that one of your opponents will have made three of a kind or a full house.
There is now $330 in the pot. If your first opponent checks, and you bet, it's possible you could pick up the pot right away with a $230 profit. In fact, there are several ways in which you can win this pot. For instance, if everyone checks the flop, you could make a bet on the turn and probably win it then.
But one of the best ways to maximise your profit is to check to the original preflop raiser. They are more than likely to make a continuation bet on the flop with any high pair, or even on a complete bluff. Once your other opponent has folded, you can now make your move. If the button has bet $300, you could re-raise and probably win the pot there and then, or call (indicating strength) and make a move on the turn or the river.
Suppose you check to the button and he bets $300, I would recommend minimum raising him another $300. The purpose of this bet is to tempt him to call - he will often do this as he won't want to give away the pot on the cheap. You are also manipulating the pot and representing a big hand, to then bluff him out on the turn. But if he passes immediately to your minimum raise, you will have made a $530 profit.
Let's look at what happens if he calls. The pot would now be $1530. You and your opponent have each committed $700 out of your $3000 stack, so neither player is over-committed to the hand. Say the turn comes a 6. I would now recommend betting between 40-70% of the pot on the turn. If you bet the pot your opponent would pass more often. But, at the same time, it increases how often you need to win the pot to over 80%. In this example, I think you should bet around $750 into the pot. If you have assessed the situation and your opponent correctly, they will pass often enough for the play to be profitable in the long run.
You have committed $600 bluffing before your $750 bet on the turn. So you will have committed $1350 in total on the bluff. You do not include the $100 you put in before the flop because you would normally have given up on this hand when you missed the flop completely. There is $830 profit to be made if your opponent passes to your turn bet. Exactly how often your opponent would have to pass for this play to be profitable can be calculated as follows:
Total amount committed to pot on a bluff/potential profit = x x/x+1 x 100 = break even percentage
So for the example I have used so 1350/830 = 1.63 1.63/2.63 x 100 = 62%
So if the hand reached the turn, and it played out how I have described, you would need to win more than 62% of the time for it to worth making this kind of bluff. From my own experience, players will fold approximately 75% of the time on the turn if you have also taken account of the following factors:
- The size of your opponent's stack. It's no use trying this move if your opponent is short-stacked, or pot-committed.
- You must know that your opponent is capable of passing AA or KK in this situation. Some players will simply call you down.
- Don't try it if your opponent is on tilt. They will call you too often.
- Don't use the move too often. Players will start to catch on to what you are doing.
The last thing to look at is what you should do if your opponent calls your turn bet. The pot would now be $3030 and you would have $1550 left. Unless the miracle 8 comes on the river to give you a full house, I would normally give up the hand and check the river. If your opponent called on the turn in this kind of situation, they would probably also call your bet on the river.
Rob Yong asked me to put in a link to join his new poker club in Nottingham. They need people to to prove demand to get a license from the magistrates court. It will be the most impressive poker club in Europe, and will stage big festivals. So even if you are based outside the UK its worth joining which you can do by clicking here.
I also played the biggest game i have ever played in last week. The $250/$500 NL Hold'em game on Betfair. I managed to have a couple of wins... but the size is just scary. Heads up (both have $25000) i make it $1750 with AQ and my opponent makes it $7000.. what to do now? The money involved is just too big so no more of that game for a while.