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 10 9 2 flop, for example, the Q J 8 7, a 20-card wrap, is nearly a 3-2 dog to the A A 4 3, 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 Q 6 5 board, for example, the A K 10 2, a dry nut-flush draw and ace high, is about a 2-1 favorite over the 10 9 8 7, a 13-card nut wrap with a flush draw, and is only a slight dog against the 9 8 7 6, 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.
|A 2 3 4||J 10 9 8||Q 7 6||57.0%/43.0%|
|A 2 3 6||J 10 9 8||Q 7 6||59.15%/40.85%|
|A A 2 3||J 10 9 8||Q 7 6||62.8%/37.2%|
|A K 10 5||10 9 8 7||Q 6 5||65.98%/34.02%|
|A K 10 5||9 8 7 6||Q 6 5||49.88%/50.12%|
|A K 10 2||9 8 7 6||Q 6 5||47.20%/52.80%|
|A A K 2||9 8 7 6||Q 6 5||56.83%/43.17%|
|A A K 2||10 9 8 7||Q 6 5||63.78%/36.22%|
|A K 10 2||10 9 8 7||Q 6 5||66.0%/34.0%|
|A K 10 2||10 9 8 7||Q 6 5||71.10%/28.90%|
|A K 10 5||10 9 8 7||Q 6 5||71.10%/28.90%|
|A K 10 5||9 8 7 6||Q 6 5||57.71%/42.29%|
|A A K 2||9 8 7 6||Q 6 5||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 7 6 5 flop, the A K Q 10 is a 41.7 percent-58.3 percent dog against the A A 9 2. With a backdoor heart draw, a hand like the A K Q 10 improves to a 47.0 percent-53.0 percent dog to the A A 9 2.
With a backdoor wrap, the nut-flush draw does better than 44.4 percent; on a J 6 5 flop, the A K Q 10 has 45 percent equity against the A A 9 2. And with a backdoor wrap and a backdoor-flush draw on a J 6 5 flop, a hand like the A K Q 10 improves to 49.9 percent equity — a coin flip — against the A A 9 2. (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
Tip: In a low-SPR situation, you are essentially pot-committed when holding the nut-flush draw. Shove.