A strong pot-limit Omaha hand
Editor’s note: What follows is an edited excerpt from Jeff Hwang’s book, Advanced Pot-Limit Omaha: Small Ball and Short-Handed Play.

In Pot-Limit Omaha Poker: The Big Play Strategy, I noted that the presence of a two-flush on the board significantly devalues a wrap when you don’t have a flush draw yourself (Page 50, “When There is a Two-Flush on the Flop”). On a 10Diamond Suit 9Diamond Suit 2Heart Suit flop, for example, the QClub Suit JClub Suit 8Spade Suit 7Spade Suit, a 20-card wrap, is nearly a 3-2 dog to the ADiamond Suit ASpade Suit 4Club Suit 3Diamond Suit, a pair of aces and the nut-flush draw. As such, you should tend to play more cautiously when you are holding a bare wrap when a flush draw is possible, especially as the effective SPR [stack-to-pot ratio] reaches the three-bet (mid) range.

But let’s reverse the roles for a second. Let’s say that you have the nut-flush draw; running through a few hand matchups, it is quite clear that the nut-flush draw is pretty strong against an opponent who is also on a draw, even when your opponent has a flush draw himself. On a QSpade Suit 6Spade Suit 5Diamond Suit board, for example, the ASpade Suit KHeart Suit 10Heart Suit 2Spade Suit, a dry nut-flush draw and ace high, is about a 2-1 favorite over the 10Spade Suit 9Spade Suit 8Heart Suit 7Heart Suit, a 13-card nut wrap with a flush draw, and is only a slight dog against the 9Spade Suit 8Spade Suit 7Heart Suit 6Heart Suit, a pair plus a 13-card nut wrap with a flush draw. Meanwhile, A-A plus the nut-flush draw is going to be pretty strong against even the biggest draws.

 

This means that you can play the nut-flush draw pretty strongly in situations where your opponent doesn’t have to have a set to play with you for stacks — namely, low-SPR situations, as well as some mid-SPR situations when you have A-A, another pair, or some other kind of draw to go with it.

You Opponent Flop Equity(You/Opponent)
ASpade Suit 2Spade Suit 3Heart Suit 4Heart Suit JSpade Suit 10Spade Suit 9Heart Suit 8Heart Suit QSpade Suit 7Spade Suit 6Diamond Suit 57.0%/43.0%
ASpade Suit 2Spade Suit 3Diamond Suit 6Heart Suit JSpade Suit 10Spade Suit 9Heart Suit 8Heart Suit QSpade Suit 7Spade Suit 6Diamond Suit 59.15%/40.85%
ASpade Suit AHeart Suit 2Spade Suit 3Heart Suit JSpade Suit 10Spade Suit 9Heart Suit 8Heart Suit QSpade Suit 7Spade Suit 6Diamond Suit 62.8%/37.2%
ASpade Suit KHeart Suit 10Heart Suit 5Spade Suit 10Spade Suit 9Spade Suit 8Heart Suit 7Heart Suit QSpade Suit 6Spade Suit 5Diamond Suit 65.98%/34.02%
ASpade Suit KHeart Suit 10Heart Suit 5Spade Suit 9Spade Suit 8Spade Suit 7Heart Suit 6Heart Suit QSpade Suit 6Spade Suit 5Diamond Suit 49.88%/50.12%
ASpade Suit KHeart Suit 10Heart Suit 2Spade Suit 9Spade Suit 8Spade Suit 7Heart Suit 6Heart Suit QSpade Suit 6Spade Suit 5Diamond Suit 47.20%/52.80%
ASpade Suit AHeart Suit KHeart Suit 2Spade Suit 9Spade Suit 8Spade Suit 7Heart Suit 6Heart Suit QSpade Suit 6Spade Suit 5Diamond Suit 56.83%/43.17%
ASpade Suit AHeart Suit KHeart Suit 2Spade Suit 10Spade Suit 9Spade Suit 8Heart Suit 7Heart Suit QSpade Suit 6Spade Suit 5Diamond Suit 63.78%/36.22%
ASpade Suit KHeart Suit 10Heart Suit 2Spade Suit 10Spade Suit 9Spade Suit 8Heart Suit 7Heart Suit QSpade Suit 6Spade Suit 5Diamond Suit 66.0%/34.0%
ASpade Suit KHeart Suit 10Heart Suit 2Spade Suit 10Club Suit 9Club Suit 8Heart Suit 7Heart Suit QSpade Suit 6Spade Suit 5Diamond Suit 71.10%/28.90%
ASpade Suit KHeart Suit 10Heart Suit 5Spade Suit 10Club Suit 9Club Suit 8Heart Suit 7Heart Suit QSpade Suit 6Spade Suit 5Diamond Suit 71.10%/28.90%
ASpade Suit KHeart Suit 10Heart Suit 5Spade Suit 9Club Suit 8Heart Suit 7Heart Suit 6Club Suit QSpade Suit 6Spade Suit 5Diamond Suit 57.71%/42.29%
ASpade Suit AHeart Suit KHeart Suit 2Spade Suit 9Club Suit 8Heart Suit 7Heart Suit 6Club Suit QSpade Suit 6Spade Suit 5Diamond Suit 64.15%/35.85%

Source: CardPlayer.com Odds Calculator

In fact, the nut-flush draw doesn’t do all that badly against even an opponent holding A-A-X-X in a low-SPR situation, which comes up a lot in pots that are three-bet preflop, particularly against novice opponents who three-bet preflop only with A-A-X-X.

Recall that when the SPR is 4, you need only 44.4 percent equity to justify an all-in confrontation on the flop, and that with an SPR of 2, you need only 40 percent equity — a 3-2 dog or better — to justify an all-in confrontation. Well, it turns out that the bare nut-flush draw is better than a 3-2 dog against a bare A-A-X-X; on a 7Diamond Suit 6Heart Suit 5Diamond Suit flop, the ADiamond Suit KDiamond Suit QHeart Suit 10Spade Suit is a 41.7 percent-58.3 percent dog against the ASpade Suit AClub Suit 9Spade Suit 2Club Suit. With a backdoor heart draw, a hand like the ADiamond Suit KDiamond Suit QHeart Suit 10Heart Suit improves to a 47.0 percent-53.0 percent dog to the ASpade Suit AClub Suit 9Spade Suit 2Club Suit.

With a backdoor wrap, the nut-flush draw does better than 44.4 percent; on a JDiamond Suit 6Heart Suit 5Diamond Suit flop, the ADiamond Suit KDiamond Suit QHeart Suit 10Spade Suit has 45 percent equity against the ASpade Suit AClub Suit 9Spade Suit 2Club Suit. And with a backdoor wrap and a backdoor-flush draw on a JDiamond Suit 6Diamond Suit 5Diamond Suit flop, a hand like the ADiamond Suit KDiamond Suit QHeart Suit 10Heart Suit improves to 49.9 percent equity — a coin flip — against the ASpade Suit AClub Suit 9Club Suit 2Club Suit. (Note: If the percentages seem higher than you might expect, it is because backdoor two pair and straight draws are much more likely to hit in Omaha than in hold’em.)

That said, the dry nut-flush draw has better than 40 percent equity against the dry A-A-X-X, so it is hard to be wrong shoving with the bare nut-flush draw when the SPR is 2, even when you know that your opponent has A-A-X-X. In fact, percentages are close enough that you should be OK shoving with the nut-flush draw in low-SPR situations as a general rule.

The Nut-Flush Draw Against A-A

22-13 SA Stats3

Tip: In a low-SPR situation, you are essentially pot-committed when holding the nut-flush draw. Shove.

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