Today I will take a break from counting the number of starting hands and answer a reader's question. Jeff writes:
"I would usually call with any A-2 or A-3 when the ace is suited, but it seems as though many of my opponents are calling with any suited ace. Is this good strategy?"
Jeff's inquiry dealt with pot-limit Omaha/8. Since my articles are based on fact and not opinion, I searched my database thoroughly for an answer.
Here's a formula for counting the total number of possible starting Omaha hands. This chart shows how a mathematician would calculate the number of starting hands for any four-card combination where order does not matter. You'll find more than 204 times as many starting hands as you would in hold 'em, which has only 1,326.
Some bad information is being disseminated on the internet by the otherwise reliable Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The reference may be viewed at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/poker_probability_(Omaha). Wikipedia is a hosting site that accepts posts from anyone who submits them. They make no attempt to verify the validity of the information placed on line. While you cannot contact them by phone or e-mail, you may join the organization and edit a preexisting post and submit it.
What happens when the flop pairs one of your cards and delivers a low card too? This continues our post flop analysis of Ac-Ad-2c-3d. I ran these simulations with the same settings as before and the same flop. There was only one difference. I replaced the nine with an eight that does not match the suit of our holding and provides no help toward a low straight.
You are sitting in your favorite Omaha/8 game and raised the pot before the flop with Ac-Ad-2c-3d in your hand. You have four callers and your starting hand has the highest win rate of all starting hands, 64 percent with an average net win of $44.06. The dealer delivers the flop and you see an awful 2-9-T. Should you play on, trying for runner-runner low? The answer depends on how the flop is suited. This chart (not shown) shows the results based on how the flop is suited.
A pot-limit Omaha/8 player wrote a question to another publication that was answered by the very knowledgeable author and player Bob Ciaffone. The question dealt primarily with, "I don't know how to play unsuited aces without good low cards or face cards (like A-A-9-9 or A-A-7-J)." While I agree with most of what Mr. Ciaffone wrote, I take exception with two of his statements.
Will the playing style of a table affect the profitability of your starting hand? It is widely known that in a loose game your swings will be greater. The real question is this: Will you earn more money, or will the loose play cause the rest of the table to draw out on you?
Post flop play entails analyzing many variables. Some are mathematically quantifiable while others are subjective and defy quantitative analysis. How does one measure whether someone is bluffing? What do they think we have? While we may calculate our card odds, pot odds and maybe even the probability of winning based on imperfect information, most of us just settle for calculating outs.
The term bandit evokes images of the old west and a masked man on horseback, six-shooter in hand, riding away from the bank he just robbed. In poker a bandit is defined a little differently but takes your money just the same.
A bandit is a starting hand containing a 7, 8, or 9 and will usually result in the loss of money. They are trap hands, often appearing to be profitable, but in the long run, will cost you money.
Bill Boston portrayed the Ac-2d-9h-Ks as a bandit. Let's take a look at it.
I received a large volume of email requesting an explanation of a term I use quite often and have defined many times, a "Bandit." Coined by author Bill Boston, it refers to a seven, eight or nine. He goes on to explain that while the ace is the most important card in Omaha/8, the worst three cards are nine, eight, and seven, which are in more losing hands than any others.