While the flop is usually the deciding factor in a game of Texas Hold ’em poker, in Omaha Hi-Lo, it is a different story. Omaha Hi-Lo looks towards the river as the deciding stage, because in Omaha Hi-Lo, there is always a good possibility of a player having a straight, full house or some other hand at that stage, which may not have been available to them earlier on at the flop.
Learning how to play on the river in Omaha Hi-Lo gives you a better understanding of your position and how strong or weak you are in the game. This is a “Do or Die” strategy, because you either end up making a lot of money or simply losing it, so devising a plan smartly by judging the cards that are present is a must. If you are having trouble deciding how to go about your play, try some of these tips.
If you are going for a high hand, carefully consider your own cards, and judge whether or not you will be able to make the highest hand based upon both these and your observations of the other players and cards around the table. As this is the river stage of play, you should have had some chance by now to get a read on your opponents and see what cards they may be holding, though if you’re not good at reading other players, the only solid information you have to judge from includes the cards that you possess and the few cards that are on the table. If, for instance, the communal cards are the same suit, either you or any of your opponents might have a chance of a flush. Consider all possibilities for both yourself and your opponents at all times.
Also, bear in mind how many players are involved in the game. If there are a lot of opponents and you think you have a good high hand, you might have a chance at winning. The higher the number of opponents, though, the greater the chances that someone can either top you for a high, or hit a low to split the pot. If you think this might be the case, ask yourself, is it worth the risk to keep playing, or would it be better to back out now and wait for another round to make your play?
Similarly, if you try for a low hand, you have to see how low your cards are. However, you cannot ignore the possibility that one of your opponents might have a more desirable low hand than you do. This is where having an in-depth understanding of the different levels of poker hands comes in handy, as it can better help you in deciding just how low or high your hand may be, compared to the other players at the table.
At such critical points in the game as the river, you have to remember to always play the game thoughtfully with full focus on your actions, or you could easily lose a lot of money. Act on your instincts only if you think that you might not have the best cards and you feel it is your best option to fold rather than take the risk. Erring on the side of caution is always a better move than not. Many times, players get emotional and keep playing on the river, in hopes of winning a pot they know they will most likely be losing, just because they have already stayed in this far.
This is generally not the best idea, though, as Omaha Hi-Lo requires constant consideration and thought, and if you are not careful, by the end of the night you may have lost everything that you brought with you or even more! Hence, if you know you have a weak hand at any point, particularly on the river, do not let the temptation of taking a risk for a possible win get the best of you – just fold and wait for the next deal where you might have a stronger hand and the chance to dominate the table later on.