Omaha Hi/Low Strategy

Scooped Pot

Scooping in Omaha High/Low

Scooping the Pot in Omaha

by Jesse Knight
Scooping Pots in Omaha

Scoop a Pot

Omaha ScoopingMost Omaha Hi/Lo players have had the experience of being up a large amount in a short period of time after scooping a few pots. Most of us have also had the experience of endlessly chopping pots for what seems like hours with little or no noticeable increase to our stacks. Clearly, scooping in Omaha High/Low is better than chopping the pot, but what you may not realize is exactly how much better it is, which varies. It is not just twice as good to scoop the pot; it is far better than that. To better illustrate this point, consider the following two situations, which will highlight the difference between scooping and chopping. In the first situation, we are three handed, with each player betting 12 units over the course of the hand. At the end of the hand, there is one high and one low, with each receiving half of the 36 unit pot, or 18 units each. In the second situation, like the first, we are three handed with each player betting 12 units over the course of the hand. Only this time, there is no low, and one player scoops the entire 36 unit pot. Now, letís take a moment to compare how the scoop player did when compared to the chop player.

The chop player put 12 units into the pot and received 18 back, for a profit of 6 units. The scoop player, on the other hand, put 12 units into the pot and received 36 back for a profit of 24 units. So in this situation, scooping was four times more profitable than chopping. There is a reason that scooping is always more than twice as profitable as chopping. When you chop, you have to recoup all of your bets out of your portion of the pot before you can register any profit. When you break it down, the bets you recoup frequently end up being the lionís share of your pot, with your actual profit being only a small portion of the pot you received. When you scoop, on the other hand, you have won both sides of the pot, but you only need to recoup your bets from one side, the other side of the pot is pure profit. So you can see that it is the cost of recouping your bets is what makes chopping so much less profitable than scooping in Omaha Hi/Lo.

Obviously then, a major focus of the game is to scoop pots. In order to be effective, you will want to scoop as many pots as possible. This means engaging in tactics which make scooping more likely to occur. If you can raise your proportion of scooped pots to chopped pots, you can dramatically impact your bottom line. Scooping is one of the most important Omaha High/Low tips we can offer.

Sometimes this means moving out the low hand by raising or reraising. This can be done at any point after the flop, but there are certain times at which it is particularly effective. One such time is when there is a single low card on the flop. If the pot is already large on the flop, some looser players may try to runner runner a nut low if the pot is unraised. You can frequently eliminate them by betting, raising or reraising the flop bet, and this will increase your chances of scooping, even if a runner runner low becomes possible on the river. Another place you may be able to move out the low is during the river betting, as long as the player you are trying to move out does not have the nut low. Many players will be reluctant to call two or more bets on the river with a non-nut low when they canít win the high side. If you can get the low out, and show the best high hand, you can scoop a pot you would have had to split. Many players do not scoop as many pots as they should because they do not bet the river aggressively enough.

One common excuse players have for checking the river is that they are not quite sure if their hand is good. When deciding whether to bet the river in Omaha Hi-Lo, keep in mind there is a different incentive from high only games. In Hi/Lo split games, you often have a bigger incentive to bet the river, because if you are holding the high hand, you do not want to give away the low to a player without forcing him to call a bet first. Many times, if you check, a player who could not have called will turn over the low for free and get half of your pot. Aggressive river action in front of this player can often get him to muck his hand outright. Aggressive river action can also protect a mediocre two way hand. Usually, if you can get it heads up with a two way hand, you can manage to get some piece of the pot.

Your preflop hand selection will also play a significant role in how often you scoop. In Omaha Hi/Lo, a high percentage of the playable hands contain ace-deuce. Some players misinterpret this to mean that the ace-duece combination is the only necessary ingredient to a playable starting hand. Most players who overvalue naked ace-deuce will also typically overvalue other low holdings. These players end up playing too high a proportion of low hands to high hands. Low oriented hands have good chop potential but far less scoop potential than two way hands. This will cause players who favor low oriented hands to chop more pot and scoop fewer pots. This is one reason it is a bad idea to give low oriented hands equal standing as two way hands.

Over betting your high only hand is even worse. Many Pot Limit Omaha players and Holdem players who are unfamiliar with split pot games, commit this sin. They jam it with a high only draw when there is a low draw on the board, or they fail to acknowledge that half the pot is gone when the low gets there. While both high only and low oriented hands have substantial value in the right situations, Omaha High-Low is a game of two way hands. The truth of the matter is, scooping in Omaha Hi/Lo is essential to doing well in the game. In order to do that effectively, you have to have more than one draw.

Also see: Omaha Tips and Omaha High/Low Hand Selection

Omaha Scoop

Articles written by Jesse Knight:
Poker Game Theory
Poker Logic: Game Theory Modeling and Poker
A few in-depth definitions by Jesse Knight:
Angle, Backer, Behind
Big Blind, Floorman, Cards Speak
Value, Variance, Check Raise

Omaha High Low Poker Games


(c) Shirley Rosario

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