On the Flop and Beyond
Every hand dealt in Omaha high-low will increase or decrease in value on the flop. If your hand does not improve, it is most probable that the flop has improved the hands of other players. The flop is the time to assess your winning possibilities and exercise good poker judgment before you proceed with a hand.
Since so many winning Omaha high-low hands contain an A 2, this chapter is devoted to the skill and art of playing your A 2 hands for profit. Even strong hands with an A-2 can cost you money rather than earn you money if you don’t play them correctly.
Many low-limit Omaha high-low players raise before the flop with any A 2 hand. In fact, players probably raise more with this hand than any other holding. However, I do not recommend this play. I strongly suggest that you see the flop before betting aggressively with an A-2. Before the flop, there is only a 7 percent probability that the hand will flop three cards lower than an 8 to make a low hand. Further, 35 percent of hands dealt will not produce a low.
Playing A-2 with Connecting Cards
Any A 2 hand without good backup cards lives a dangerous life, because it becomes counterfeited 25 percent of the time. For an A 2 to have the greatest winning possibility, it must be combined with cards that give it scoop potential. When the A-2 is combined with two good auxiliary cards, the hand will have a much greater possibility of winning low, high or scooping the pot.
An A-2 should be dealt to you 6.4 percent of hands dealt, or once in about every 16 hands. You’ll be dealt an A-2-3-x once in about every 100 hands. In ninehanded games, there is a 58 percent chance that one or more players will be dealt an A-2-x-x on the same deal, and an 85 percent possibility that one or more players will be dealt an A-2-x-x or an A-3-x-x. This is a good reason not to play hands such as 2-3-x-x if the action is heavy in front of you. Nut hands are the ones that win the big pots in Omaha high-low.
Listed below is a group of cards that represent the best auxiliary cards for an A 2. The cards are listed in the order that produces the best winning results. Only four cards are not included among the desirable auxiliary cards — I’ll show them to you next.
An A 2 hand containing any two of the auxiliary cards below is a strong hand. If the hand is suited or double suited, its value greatly improves. A-A-2-x hands are the most profitable of all.