Middle and Small Pairs in Omaha

As a starting-point one can use the same criteria’s as above with the high pairs in the evaluation of the middle and small pairs (JJ-22). I.e. the more possible combinations the hand holds, the higher the value of the hand.

Smaller chances for winning

If possible this might be even more important for the middle and small pairs. This is due to the fact that middle and small pairs have an even smaller chance to hold up on their own, and in turn we once again primarily play for set-value. Consequently the middle and small pairs in omaha has to be somewhat well connected, suited to higher cards (A, K or Q) or both to be playable at all.

When playing the middle and small pairs in omaha you also have to be aware of an important difference between no limit hold’em and pot limit omaha. The difference is in the mathematical probability between the two games. In pot limit omaha the probability of being dealt a pair is 2.3:1, while the equivalent odds for no limit hold’em is 16:1. This means that set over set will occur much more frequent in pot limit omaha, as the chance of hitting a set on the flop with a given pair is the same in both games.

What this means is that you have to be more careful playing omaha poker, when you do not have the top set, as higher sets more frequently occur. Of cause this does not mean you should fold a set every time someone shows strength, but you have to be somewhat careful with the smallest pairs, if your opponent gives you too much action on a very dry board, e.g. K82.

Another pitfall in connection with middle and small pairs in omaha is the fact that they often hit a set on very draw heavy boards in the form of straight and flush possibilities. This will mainly be the case for pairs between 33-JJ, as the probability that these cards are connected to other cards is quite high. Consequently you might even find situations where you are behind, even though you have flopped top set. In spots with draw heavy boards the concept of pot control (Controlling the size of the pot with the intension of keeping it small) therefore becomes very important, as we might wish to keep the pot small and see a safe turn card before putting all our money in the pot, and at the same time won’t commit to many chips in the pot if the draws complete.

Two-pair hands in Omaha

The last kind of pair hand is the special category within pot limit omaha poker; the two-pair hand. Although looking very pretty this type of hand can get you into a lot of trouble. As the two-pair hand still holds the problems discussed in connection with the middle and small pairs, and furthermore does not usually block or catch many additional draws.

This makes it even more important for this type of hand to have at least one suit, and/or for one pair to be relatively high. At the same time this type of hand plays far better with few opponents in the pot, which of cause is due to the weaknesses discussed above. In many cases you will be playing two-pair hands in omaha for purely set-value, which is fine by the way, as long as you do not fall in love with a hand like JJ22 on a 1064 board.

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