If everyone at the holdem poker table plays loose then no one can win. The players will trade pots back and forth while the casino slowly rakes all their money. The better holdem players will lose less, but in the long run, no one can win.It’s also true that no one can win if everyone plays tight. The tight players will trade smaller pots back and forth while the casino rakes all their money. The better holdem players will lose less, but no one can win.
If everyone at the holdem poker table plays the same, no one can win. Learning holdem by playing holdem is player’s folly. If you learn to play Texas Holdem Poker like everyone else plays, you cannot have a long run edge.
To win at Texas Holdem Poker you must play tight in loose games and play in loose games only. There is no other way. You have no edge in a tight holdem game and you only have an edge in a loose game if you play tight. It might be possible to play loose and win if all the other players are complete fools, but nature does not provide enough fools who play holdem poker.
As players come and go during a holdem poker session the game will sometimes get tighter. You’ll see more players folding on the first round. The pots will be smaller. If your holdem game gets too tight, find a better game or don’t play at all.
You want to be the only tight player in a loose holdem poker game, but often there’s one or more other tight players at the table. Sometimes loose players tighten up their play for whatever reason, but that’s usually temporary. You’ll have to take all of this into consideration when evaluating a holdem poker game. There’s no exact way to measure it, but you can develop a feel for it.
Take notice of how many players call to see the flop each hand. With experience you’ll know if your game is too tight and you’ll know when a good Slot Online game gets tight. You’ll learn which players have never seen two cards they didn’t like and which players fold more hands than they play. Experience will teach you when it’s time to leave the game.
Even good Texas Holdem Poker players have lost money by playing too many sessions in holdem games that were too tight to be profitable. Even if you play better poker than everyone else at the table, your expectation in a tight holdem game can be little more than break even.
Play tight. Play tight in loose games. Play in loose games only.
A lot of poker players are drawn to Omaha high-low split because, with nine cards to choose from and two ways to win, the promise of action is beguiling indeed. And because a lot of these players don’t quite grasp what they’re doing in an Omaha game, that creates a rich opportunity for sensible, disciplined players like you.
First let’s define our terms. The formal name for the game is Omaha high-low split, eight or better for low. Around here, we use the informal shorthand Omaha/8. When we speak of “eight or better for low,” we mean that the winning low hand must contain five separate cards valued eight or lower. If there is no qualified low, then the high hand wins, or scoops, the whole pot.
In Omaha/8, as in all low-hand poker variations, the highest low card always determines the strength of the low. If two high cards are tied, then the second highest card decides the winner, and so on down the line. Thus the low hand 7-5-4-3-A clearly beats 8-5-4-3-A, and 6-5-4-3-A barely squeaks past 6-5-4-3-2. Straights, as you can see, and flushes, don’t figure into the calculation of the low.
Omaha/8 is structured like hold ’em, in that each player gets his or her own hole cards to start. There’s a round of betting, and then the flop, revealing three cards. After another round of betting, you see another card, the turn card. Again you bet, and again there’s a card revealed, the last card or river card. After a final round of betting, the hands are shown, and the best high hand splits the pot with the best low hand, if any qualifies.
But here’s the key difference between hold ’em and Omaha, and it’s so important that I’m going to put it in a paragraph all by itself for you to look at and study and sear into your soul:
In Omaha/8, you MUST USE two cards from your hand and three cards from the board. No more and no less. Two from your hand, three from the board.
That’s the Law of Omaha. Two from your hand, three from the board. Memorize this rule, for it will save you from thinking that the royal flush you’ve been dealt is a winning hand. It’s not. Not in Omaha/8.
Oh, by the way, don’t worry if you ever forget this rule. Everybody does, at least once.
The other thing you need to remember and always keep in mind about Omaha/8 is that it’s a game where the best hand possible is usually the hand that wins. Because all players start with four cards, hand values go way up. Around here we like to say, “If there’s a hand out there that could beat you, it will beat you.” Murphy’s Law of Omaha.
You need to be constantly on your guard for this. If your hand contains, for instance A-T-K-Q, you’re pretty happy when the flop comes J-8-7, for you’ve flopped the best possible flush! But then the turn card is another J, and suddenly any player with a J-8, J-7, 8-8 or 7-7 has a full house. Not to mention the possibility of someone having pocket jacks for four of a kind. So when you see a pair on board and people start betting and raising, you’d better run for cover. Chances are that your flush or your straight have been overtaken by better hands. Many is the sad Omaha/8 player who has forgotten this important wisdom and crippled his stack as a consequence.
You may find a similar situation on the low end as well. Let’s say you start with A-9-8-2. When the flop comes 3-5-6, you have a made low, and in fact the nut low, consisting of the A-2 in your hand and the 3-5-6 on the board. The turn card is a brick – a card that doesn’t help or hurt your hand. But the river card is a 2, and this changes everything. Since you must use two cards from your hand, your best holding is still 6-5-3-2-A. But if someone else has A-4 in their hand, then their best holding is 6-4-3-2-A, and your nut low has been counterfeited into second place.
Another key warning is this: Don’t fall in love with your lows. Sure a starting hand like A-2-3-4 shows great promise, because almost any three low cards on board will give you the best possible low hand, a lock for low. But if the board comes 9-T-J, your hand goes in the muck, because the low is no longer possible. Even a flop like T-T-7 has to curb your enthusiasm, because you have to catch perfect on the turn and the river in order to make your low – and at that you only win half the pot, or perhaps just a quarter if someone has the same low hand as you.
Remember that the board must show three cards eight or lower, and you must have two other low cards, different from those, in order to have a valid low hand. Many is the player who has gone broke chasing lows. Don’t let that happen to you!
But the fact is, chasing is what Omaha/8 is all about. Because players’ first four cards can turn into so many different kinds of good hands, Omaha/8 is a tremendous action game. That is, a lot of players get involved with any four cards at all, figuring that they’re just one flop away from a huge hand. They may be right about this, and they may be wrong, but in any case this attitude defines the mindset of the game. When you sit down to play Omaha/8, you’d better fasten your seatbelt because when the Omaholics get going, it can turn into a rocky ride indeed.
So what kind of hands are powerful hands in Omaha/8? What sort of starting cards should you be looking for? That’s the subject we’ll take up next time here in JV’s Poker Room. Until then, if you’d like to know more about Omaha/8, there’s a lot of information available in poker books or even for free on the internet. Seek and ye shall find!