Semi-Live Blogging the Batface Homegame / How Do You Play Omaha?

by , Aug 24, 2006 | 11:24 pm

10:40 pm — So I’m sitting here at Danang, stuck a little less than $200 in what started as a $.50/$1 NLH game … and has since turned into some very drinky $.50/$.50 PLO. While Omaha first revealed to us that one of our decks on the table was four cards short for at least two hours, it also revealed that the Batfaces are pretty much beginners when it comes to the Cornhusker variety of the game.

So here’s the question(s): First situation involved Sang’s flopping the “nut” straight. He bets it pretty big, and the other guy(s) gets there. “What can I do?” he asked. I (intelligently?) espoused the theory that the nut straight without a redraw ain’t much … so you want to see the turn as cheaply as possible. If the board pairs or the flush card comes … great, you get away from the hand cheap. If it doesn’t come on the turn, then you can bet, because the various drawers won’t have the odds they woulda had to call with two cards to come.

However, TBR — who has undoubtedly lost more money in Omaha than all other Batfaces combined — insists that this philosophy is idiotic. “When you have the nuts you have to [hiccup] bet it!” he said. “You have to make it too expensive for them to draw if you have the fucking nuts, you idiot.”

Ehh, I kinda agree … but not if the nuts aren’t great. Omaha’s a drawing game, right? People with no hand can still be the favorite to win with two cards to come, right?

The hand that really brought this strategic issue to light was actually a different one. Thum flopped the nut flush in that case, and didn’t bet but didn’t re-raise, or something like that … sure enough, someone else got there … and he knew it. TBR still insists that in Omaha if you flop the nuts, you bet, no matter what (“because your hand can’t get any better, goddammit!” Randy says). I know he’s not nearly as good at anything as he thinks he is, but I also know I don’t really know Omaha.

Discuss …

11:05 pmRobert is screaming, head-vein pulsing, because his cards were mucked while he looked away. (Apparently the flop really hit him.) I am screaming back, insisting that they are nowhere visible, and it’s the most basic of friggin’ rules that you gotta protect your own hand. Jesus, with Sang going all-in with nothing and turning over his cards before TBR has acted … and that being good enough to take down the $100+ pot … this game may officially be out of control.

11:07 pm — Tagg says, “And gee, you wonder why you’re no longer throwing tournaments at the Lodge?”

CORRECTION: Tagg did indeed say the above line closer to 9:07 pm. I am not good at time, which is probably why I leave the semi-live blogging to CardPlayer and Pauly.

UPDATE: Finished the game …
Buy-in(s): $400 (2)
Cash out: $383
Net: -$17

Then played some heads-up with Thum …
Buy-in: $100
Cash out: $0
Net: -$100

Then again in a cash-game-cum-heads-up-tourney with Thum and Sang and eventually just Thum …
Buy-in: $100
Cash out: $400
Net: +$300

Overall: +$183

Ask Thum about how he had a 9-1 chip advantage on me and I turned a single suckout (hey, I had lots of outs … just got there with a runner-runner variety) into victory.

16 Comments to “Semi-Live Blogging the Batface Homegame / How Do You Play Omaha?”

  1. TBR

    Dude, my comment was with respect to the nut flush (and even then in a specific context with one bettor in front of you and (at least) two more people behind you.) My comment was simply to charge the drawers in that spot. Thum just called. If I and zach had just called (as we should have), Celeste (who madee the initial flop bet) would have seen, essentially, a free turn card to his set (and would have made quads). As it played out, I actually raised (with the third nut) believing that Celeste did not have a flush and Thum would have to raise with any flush and certainly the nut flush in that position. Zach, with the second nut, called my raise, and it forced Eric out of the pot.

    As for a flopped nut straight (and let’s assume the board has two to a flush), I still believe you have to bet it, particularly if you are in early position. First, you could win the hand right there, which is fine. Second, it will give you some information about the rest of the players. Third, why would you want to give any drawers (assuming they are behind) a free card?

  2. Tagg

    My comment regarding the Lodge was actually immediately preceded by the discovery of four missing cards, each of which was undoubtedly the club I was looking for. And the pain on Sang’s face when he realized why his pocket 7s, 3s, Js and Qs never made sets was clearly the rocky mountain high point of the night.

  3. DanM

    TBR, there are times when, playing the player, you know a dude is going to call you down with just a draw — even when he shouldn’t. (I am thinking NLH here.) In those cases, you are better off just seeing if the card you know he is drawing for gets there. This is especially true in tournament play, when you don’t want to go bust because the dude hits his 12-outer.

    In Omaha, I am going to assume my nut straight with no redraw is no good until I see a blank on the turn. That simple.

    Not sure how it works, however, when you flop a nut flush. That could be different.

  4. DanM

    By the way, we should give kudos to Thum — who had never read a single poker book and wonders why he’s down big on the Schlogger. The aforementioned Omaha hand got him to read his first ever pages of a poker book. He busted out Super/System 2 to do a little Omaha study … and lo and behold the part he read was about how sometimes in that game you can flop the nuts and the right play is TO FOLD!!!

    Of course that’s assuming you are playing with a 52-card deck, not 48.

  5. TBR

    For clarification, we are talking about flopping the nut straight that is also the nuts on the flop (in other words, we’re not talking about a situation where you’ve flopped the nut straight with three to a flush on the board). So in this scenario, Dan is going to assume his nut hand is no good to re-draws that may or may not be out there, but just in case they are out there, he is going to make sure that noone has to pay the wrong price to see their draw. And what the hell are you going to do when you check and someone bets pot? Are you going to throw your hand away? And don’t give me any horsehit about “depends on the read of the player,” because if you lead at the pot and then someone acts you have far more information from which to decide what to do with your hand.

  6. Thum

    Too tired to respond to last night’s game. Still not sure who is right on my omaha hand. Please note that I will be higher than Dan at the end of the year on the Schlogger. Assuming Dan actually plays 5 more times by the end of the year. Three 8’s pre and post flop. Runner runner clubs. Only outs since I had the straight on the turn. One of the 2 remaining Kings splits the pot.

  7. DanM

    Randy, I was hoping someone who actually knew how to play Omaha would comment on the strategy.

  8. Fro

    Dan, you are extremely correct on this point…

    Your friend is correct that if you have a very good hand you should bet the buhjeezus out of it. But the nut straight without a re-draw is NOT a very good hand.

    The nightmare scenario is that your opponent has the straight also but has the re-draw! When you consider that scenario, you understand that betting is a terrible mistake.

    Another scenario is that your opponent does not have the straight but they have so many different draws that that they are actually the favorite. If your opponent has 14 outs and two cards to come, they are the favorite.

    Check with the intention of calling and maybe bet it up on the turn if you are still ahead, depending on your read of the table.

    Love the site, Dan

  9. Omahafan

    From my experience the best strategy with the nut straight is to bet small on the flop thereby building the pot so that if the turn pitches out you can make a very large pot sized bet. If you get raised on the flop smooth call him and see if he makes it home first pitch, if not pop him for the size of the pot and force him to make a really bad play to draw out. This is of course assuming he didnt flop the same straight but has other draws in which case he can take my money. LOL.

  10. son of sue

    Thats great and all but that still doenst answer the original question. What do you do when you flop the nut flush? I agree with tbr. You bet the hell out of it and hope you dont get any calls.

  11. IttyBittyWussy

    Some top end wraps can have 21 outs when combined with a flush draw. Example hand: You=[5c,6c,7d,8d] Me=[Ts,Js,Qh,Kh] Board=[6s,9h,Th].

    You’ve flopped the nuts on that board and I know you want to “charge the drawers” and/or pick up the pot right there. But frankly there is no amount of money you can bet that will get me to lay down my hand– because I’m nearly an 84% favorite. Bet a million bucks if you want, I’m still not folding. And what if we are 3-handed and that third guy flopped a set? He’s got approximately 33% to beat you on top of whatever outs I have. If those are hands you are up against and you put ANY money in the pot here, you are just throwing it down the toilet.

    While it is true you won’t know exactly your opponent has and will get some information from how he reacts to your pot-sized bet when two-handed, it also is true that you may safely assume that both the straight and flush draws are there when three-handed and save the money. You don’t have to pot it there to find out– if there’s another guy in the pot with us then it is statistically likely those draws are there. If you are four-handed, it’s likely the full house draw is also lurking.

    I know this sounds like some very weak-tight poker, but it’s also mathemical reality. There are some nut hands that aren’t even worth having and just because “you’re hand can’t get any better” doesn’t mean it is good enough to win.

    These hands don’t come up very often but can be enormously costly (or profitable, if you’re the guy sitting on the wrap).

  12. TBR

    IBW makes a good point with “it also is true that you may safely assume that both the straight and flush draws are there when three-handed and save the money.” In that scenario, I could see myself considering a check and call. However, it’s also safe to assume in the regular PLO game that I play in that the two-plus other players are holding no more than the nine of spoons and a cut card.

    On balance, I still would prefer betting even if I can assume that I’m mathematically behind. First, again, I may not be and could win right there. Second, if I check and call and the turn is a blank, what do I do if I bet and get raised? I may still be in a bad spot, and now I may be forced to call. The lead on the flop is somewhat defensive in that regard. If I get called, I’m obviously done when a reasoable draw card hits. If I get raised, I can probably throw the hand away pretty cheaply.

  13. Gonz

    My favorite part about this is that the link for Wilonsky goes to the Observer’s blog and not one of his stories. And yet, somehow, Wilonsky has a post on Fair Park.

    What are the odds?

  14. Gonz

    Oh, and this thing about Dan not having the correct amount of cards in the deck: I wonder if that says anything about the current business venture that he’s trying to get me to be a part of.

  15. DanM

    The four missing cards thing is funny. Also funny because when we counted out a replacement deck, it too was four cards short. (and no, they weren’t the four aces.)

    so now all decks in my house have been “set” — found the missing cards, as the maids must have put them in the wrong decks.

    anyhow, i think this one falls on tulsa … because he chose not to count the cards in that one deck. the other deck was counted. and at the same time, shame on ALL OF US for not noticing that a deck was FOUR cards too thin. remember the days when austin pete could tell you if one card was missing, just by the thickness during the shuffle?

    with all that said, this is why certain rules apply. and this is why decks are “set.” note to tulsa — next time sort them by suits, not rank … it’s quicker. so all future games at danang will start with set decks.

    and if robert chooses to turn around without protecting his cards, then he is SOL. everyone knows i’m not much of a rules guy in life … so i think poker is the one place where they would/could/should always apply.

  16. Pokerati — Texas hold’em blog — semi-live at the WSOP » Blog Archive » Omaha Hand of the Night

    […] The river is a jack. Perfect. My paired board … giving me Queens full of Jacks. I think about what I want to do as Thum comes out betting $30. Tulsa goes into the tank … I definitely want him to call, or maybe raise (because he doesn’t realize his tanking in and of itself is a tell) … but he folds. OK, so now it’s on me, and I have a pretty monstrous hand. I quietly analyze all the boat possibilities. I really like the line-up, because there are so many other boats out there — K-J, Q-J, etc. — that I beat. In fact, really, all I have to be afraid of is K-K. And based on my discussion with Thum last week, I am very confident he doesn’t have it. […]