A strategy analysis
Here are a few hands from the regular $1-$2 blinds, $5 bring-in, $500 max buy-in pot-limit Omaha game that a few locals and I started recently at The Venetian in Las Vegas. I’ll write a little more about the game in a coming issue.

Hand No. 1: Three-Bet Preflop, Delayed Double-Barrel Bluff on a Paired Board
My position: Hijack seat
My hand: 10Club Suit 8Club Suit 7Diamond Suit 4Club Suit

Preflop: A middle-position player ($500) opens with a raise to $10. I ($700) reraise to $25. It is folded to the big blind ($600), who calls. The middle-position player calls.

This is a light three-bet that’s made to isolate the preflop raiser. It didn’t work.

Flop ($76): 9Heart Suit 9Spade Suit 5Club Suit. Both opponents check. I check.

This is not a great spot for a continuation-bet (c-bet), as it is too easy for one of my opponents to have a 9 in his hand. Moreover, I do have a gutshot-straight draw.

Turn ($76): 5Heart Suit. Both opponents check.

The 5Heart Suit doesn’t appear to change much. With both opponents having checked twice, it is much less likely that either one has trip nines.

Action: I bet $50. The big blind calls. The middle-position player folds.
This is interesting, as I am now clearly beat, likely by either an overpair or trips. What is less clear is whether or not I should fire another bet on the river if he checks.

River ($176): ASpade Suit. My opponent checks.

Now, this might be a great card. Obviously, having missed the straight, I cannot win by checking. But so far, my play has been consistent with holding A-A-X-X: It is entirely plausible that I would three-bet preflop with A-A-X-X, check aces up on the flop for pot-control purposes, then bet the turn. That said, if I bet again here, representing A-A-X-X for the overfull, I may be able to bluff my opponent off a pair (like K-K-X-X or Q-Q-X-X), or even trips.
Action: I bet $150. My opponent folds, flashing a 5 for trip fives.

Hand No. 2: Picking Off a Bluff by Check-Calling
My position: Under the gun
My hand: ASpade Suit JClub Suit 10Diamond Suit 5Club Suit
Preflop: I ($500) limp in. It is folded to the button ($500), who calls. The small blind folds. The big blind ($500) calls.

This is a marginal call from under the gun. Generally, I’d prefer to have a suited ace when playing out of position, but I am pretty comfortable in this game.

Flop ($16): JHeart Suit 8Club Suit 4Club Suit. The big blind checks.

I have top pair with a flush draw and should bet this hand, with only the button left to act behind me.

Action: I bet $15, and only the button calls.

Turn ($46): AClub Suit.

I now have a flush, albeit a non-nut one. I also have the top two pair for a full-house draw. That said, the debate here is between leading out and check-calling, and the decision is largely in favor of check-calling any bet, for a number of reasons.

The first is that if my opponent was on a draw, he was on a straight and/or flush draw. The problem with betting is that my opponent will likely fold if he was on the straight draw, whereas he might bet if I check to him; moreover, if he was on a flush draw, it likely beats me. In addition, in the event that my opponent actually did make a bigger flush and I am behind, I do not want to bet out and then get raised off my full-house draw. Meanwhile, the AClub Suit appearing on the board makes it less likely that my opponent has a bigger flush, as it is more typical for players to draw to the nuts.

The percentage play here is to check-call any bet and give my opponent a chance to bluff when he’s behind. If I do not improve on the river, the play again will be to check, at which point I will have to use my judgment to decide whether or not to call a bet.

Action: I check. My opponent bets $45. I call.

Things go as planned.

River ($136): 7Diamond Suit. I check. My opponent checks behind, and announces that he has a straight. I win.

Hand No. 3: Delayed Dry-Ace Bluff
My position: Button
My hand: AHeart Suit KSpade Suit QSpade Suit 7Club Suit
Preflop: The under-the-gun player opens with a raise to $10. Two players call behind him. I ($500) call. The small blind folds. The big blind calls.

This is a pretty marginal call, but I do have the button.

Flop ($51): JHeart Suit 8Heart Suit 7Heart Suit.

I have the dry ace.

Action: It is checked to the player in front of me ($450), who bets $35. I call, and everybody else folds.

I thought I’d try something different. My guess is that the bettor has either a non-nut flush or air. Either way, I expect to win the hand. If the board pairs, I can represent having flopped a set; if it doesn’t, I can represent having slow-played the nut flush.

Turn ($121): 3Spade Suit. My opponent checks. I bet $100. My opponent calls.

I think he almost certainly has a flush.

River ($321): 9Heart Suit. My opponent checks.

There is only one play here, and that is to bet.

Action: I bet $200, and my opponent folds.

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Some Pot-Limit Omaha Hands
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