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Old Feb 03, 2009, 3:33pm   #1
Timbilo
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Default 3-betting in low limit Omaha games- Theory + example hand

I am getting blown out of the water in 3-bet pots in Omaha and think I need some help with the theory. I'm playing 25 & 50PL six max games, so please try to tailor your advice to these games if possible (although I realize advice for upper-level games is still extremely useful).

As far as I can tell, my holdem 3-bet theory is conflicting with my Omaha theory. Assumption 1 I would like comments on:
*In low-level Omaha, 3-betting is chiefly used to make bigger pots preflop, NOT to win the pot preflop or thin the field as in holdem.
No one seems to ever fold preflop. I wish I'd saved the hand history, but last night I witnessed a $179 preflop 4-way all-in fest at a $50 six-max table . And, not a single one of them actually had AAxx, 3 had gapped run-downs and one had KKxx.

Assumption 2:
*Cbetting after 3-betting preflop as a bluff is like burning money. Odds are if the flop whiffed you, it probably hit your opponent(s) and a CBET even in position will get called/raised.
From what I've seen in 3-bet pots, its almost a fit or fold mentality, on the majority of flops? But if thats the case, does that lead to....

Assumption 3:
Except with the top X% of hands, its better to call preflop and keep the pot small, even in position. Attempting to outplay people is worthless, since they are either overestimating their pot odds when calling or overestimating their fold equity and (correctly) shoving over my flop bet on flops.
At a normal table, what % of hands should I think about 3-betting preflop? 5%? 2%? Smaller even?

Also, is limp/3betting a worthwhile strategy. When I'm holding double-suited aces or a strong rundown UTG, raising just gets me into a 4 way pot out of position it seems like. Limping/3betting usually thins the field to HU or 3-handed, but them I've announced my hand to the entire table and I'm OOP. What are people thoughts on the lesser of the two evils with strong hands- more people with a smaller pot, or fewer people with larger pots?

On to an example. Forgive me, but this is from another computer so its a manual hand history.

Stack sizes: Both the villian and myself have $60 stacks on a 50PL 6-max table. The site is Pokerstars. Villian seems competent and is playing on a few tables, possibly a regular. He is definitely not a holdem player on tilt....

Cards:

I am UTG and limp with my hand, hoping to reraise (discuss please)
CO limps
SB completes
BB raises to $2.50
I reraise to $7.50
Folds to the BB who calls:

Flop comes
SB checks,
I bet $11 into $16ish
BB insta-shoves, which gives me calling $41.50 into $78.50.

What is my play here and why? Good spot to bet the flop since so many turn cards suck? Bad spot to bet since my range is so polarized from the 3-bet and it unless I'm holding a run comprised of 5-6-7 or a strong flush draw with a pair I've whiffed?

Please help. Thanks in advance.

Last edited by Timbilo; Feb 03, 2009 at 3:36pm.
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Old Feb 03, 2009, 4:39pm   #2
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Ok, I think you're being a little silly using that hand as an 'example'.

First of all, you have arguably the strongest hand in PLO (AAJT double suited - most think it's as good or better than AAKK double suited - myself included). If you don't 3-bet that hand, wtf are you going to 3-bet? Second, you have just about the worst flop in the world for that hand - its all low, connected, and it's of one of the two suits you don't have covered.

This is an easy fold and its not even close. Your mistake was not 3-betting preflop, the C-bet is a bit ambitious but depending on the opponent it may have been correct. But the fold is obvious.

And this is not a 'typical' tough spot after a 3-bet. Make the board 677 rainbow and you have AAxx, and you're c/r'ed HU for pot when not deep. THAT is a tough spot.

EDIT - as for the limp c/r, I don't like it if you're deep, unless there is a strong chance you can get about 50% or more of your stack in preflop, which is unlikely unless you're at a maniac table. Raise imo. And 4-bet if presented with the option.
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Old Feb 03, 2009, 4:51pm   #3
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Originally Posted by TWLLM View Post
And this is not a 'typical' tough spot after a 3-bet. Make the board 677 rainbow and you have AAxx, and you're c/r'ed HU for pot when not deep. THAT is a tough spot.
Okay, change the flop to this one, and what do you?

Also, what are your thoughts on 3-betting in general? Which hands? Even from the blinds when I know I'll be OOP multi-way? Thats probably the toughest scenario I come into- I'm holding 6-7-8-9 single or double suited and it limps around to me in the BB...
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Old Feb 03, 2009, 5:50pm   #4
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I generally don't like 3-betting oop if at all avoidable. In some spots its unavoidable, but generally I don't go crazy with 3-bets oop, even with strong hands like a double-suited run. The key is, the pot will be huge, it's not like nlhe where you need to build huge pots preflop or you're going to be making significantly less post-flop. Usually, if there is a raise pf there will be several callers and therefore, lots of monies going in. Save yourself some trouble and don't 3-bet pf, just call and play it post-flop.

In position, your 3-bet range should be wider, such as double-suited runs and such. However, if your opponent isn't deep and is likely to 4-bet you, you don't want to 3-bet anything but super strong hands because you'd much rather play a raised pot in position rather than having to put your stack in preflop.



I can't give you a 'range' of hands to 3-bet, because omaha is the most context-specific game imaginable. Stack sizes matter more than in any other game, especially in terms of stack to pot ratios. Also, you have to realize the value of not re-raising in plo, because you will disguise your hand sufficiently that, if you have a readable raiser, you can play post-flop either when you hit, or when you suspect they've missed. This is sometimes possible in nlhe, but in PLO it is much more powerful since hands like TPTK/naked overpair are never playable for stacks in plo, whereas in nlhe you will often run into an overpair if you try making moves based on not having 3-bet preflop. So if you know someone only raises really strong high-card hands, you can exploit that when the flop comes low. In nlhe, that would be a far riskier proposition since most tight raisers have no problem 3-betting you with an overpair on the flop.


In terms of the theory of when you should or shouldn't 3-bet 'strong' hands like aaxx, read back through a few of my posts. My theory with high card power hands (aaxx) which tend to do well when they can get most of their stack in preflop, is that playing them correctly requires understanding that your opponent's implied odds against them operates like a bell curve. When you only open-raise, or call a raise, you don't commit yourself to play for stacks, such that the implied odds are low (the left side of a bell curve).

When you 4-bet for 1/2-2/3rds or more of your stack, you deny them implied odds because almost all the chips are in - they are just going to hit when they hit and miss when they miss - they can't really 'outplay' you later, nor are they really getting a good price to play fit/fold on the flop. It's almost an all-in, and you have no implied odds against an all-in (well, unless you're playing me, then you have miracle suckout implied odds, but that's another issue). This is the right side of a bell curve.

When you 3-bet or 4-bet a smaller amount (such as 5% or 10% up to 50% of your stack), you present your opponent with decent implied odds. This depends on their hand, of course, and on yours. But in theory, you present the best odds for a donk to stack you, because you're always pushing the flop, and you haven't denied them the odds to call preflop as you do when you 4-bet to a higher amount. This is the middle of the bell curve, and it's NOT where you want to be when you're raising preflop.

I may have said more about this in some of my previous posts, but I'll leave it to you to look those up.



I gave that 677 board as an example of a really tough spot. It's intended to be difficult - its kinda tough to therefore give you a good answer. It's probably a fold as deep as you two are, but when it's more shallow or 100bb stacks, it's a tougher hand to play. Generally, I tend to respect players at the lower levels in that they're too loose/passive, and not huge on bluffing. But its subject to a read, obviously - there are a lot of people who play insane omaha.


In terms of raising preflop, my raising range is far far looser than my 3-bet range. In the example you gave, I would very often raise that bb - but I would almost never 3-bet it. When open raising, I want to disguise my hand as a high-card hand, and build a bigger pot (notice this pot size building only applies to first raises). But when I'm raised already and sitting in the bb, I only want to call, because I don't want to set up an easy 4-bet, and I also like disguising my hand and letting someone else take the lead in the betting.



As a last point, I'm sure I've said this before, but trying to set up 'rules' for how to play PLO is a bad way to approach the game. I'm much happier to answer specific spot questions, but trying to learn the game by platitudes is even less effective than in nlhe (far less effective, and it's not really all that effective in nlhe to begin with). A rule like 'only 3-bet X% preflop' misses the point of why you make a choice in plo. We can speak only in very general guidelines, never in percentages of ranges and other shit that nlhe players get off on.
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Originally Posted by DoubleU
Oh, and obviously, TWLLM, we'd all rather you just ruled with an iron fist of nittiness and made all decisions without consultation, but that goes without saying, right?
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Old Feb 03, 2009, 10:34pm   #5
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Good post but isn't there an argument for 3betting some of your middley double-sooted hands to knock out more dominating draws? Just an idea, idk if it's good or not.
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Old Feb 04, 2009, 12:56am   #6
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Good post but isn't there an argument for 3betting some of your middley double-sooted hands to knock out more dominating draws? Just an idea, idk if it's good or not.
People rarely fold to 3-bets in plo. It's not uncommon for people to cold call 3-bets, and its not even a definite mistake (as it almost certainly would be in nlhe).

You don't really get much by knocking out higher draws, even when it works. It's only really useful on a very few flops (e.g. if you have 4567 and you manage to get a T98x to fold when the flop is 78x - note that you'll never in a million year get a running hand to fold to your 3bet, so that limits the value even more). You also have to know how to play draws post-flop, and realize that just because you have 'outs' doesn't make them good outs. That's a big part of not having to worry about folding out better draws preflop - despite the number of cards in play, it is very rare that you should get it in against a dominating draw without some read or short stacks.

There are certainly spots where you want to 3-bet double suited hands, especially in position, but it's rarely to fold out opponents. It's much more to do with disguising your 3-bet range (particularly important at higher stakes) and taking advantage of position.

Often, I prefer to 3-bet running hands w/ or w/o suits, just because they play much better than most aaxx hands. So I actually think there are plenty of 'drawish' hands you want to 3-bet preflop, but it's not really for the purpose of folding out weaker drawing hands.
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Oh, and obviously, TWLLM, we'd all rather you just ruled with an iron fist of nittiness and made all decisions without consultation, but that goes without saying, right?
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Old Feb 04, 2009, 6:12am   #7
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+REP for TWLLM for the best PLO posts i've seen in a while.
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Old Feb 04, 2009, 11:24am   #8
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I like raising and 3-betting in PLO to take command of the pot when I am in position. I have a friend that doesnt mind playing even without position, he says he can outplay most players postflop. People see you go crazy and they start chasing you with all sorts of garbage hands, inferior draws, weak pocket pairs, or they become extremly passive and you can move them off many hands. I also think that most of the game is being done post flop, so that raising and reraising precentage don't matter that much. You should really get to know your opponets, understnad they're lines and play according to theyre hand.
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Old Feb 17, 2009, 8:40pm   #9
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One thing that has helped my game against not so good players is to not 3 Bet AA unless it is double suited or well connecting in some way (AAJT ss for example). I know I am going to get called and I do not want to play a big pot out of position. That and ever if an ace hits I bet he folds. The only way I get money normally is if he has a really strong draw that missed.

However this advice is assuming at least 70BB. If they have 20 or 30 then you know what to do.

Another thing that helps if you know they are not going to fold is to 3 bet smaller and wider. Because most fish will always 4 bet AA and by doing that you can play your 789T or whatever and AAxx with a much wider margin for value. Against though requires reasonable stacks to do so.
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Old Feb 17, 2009, 9:01pm   #10
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Ishbu has a point about the small 3-bet with hands other than AAxx. I would add, however, that I only like that play (1) in position, and (2) when you have a hand that is decent enough in its own right (suited connectors/runs, pair+connectors, etc.).

Perhaps most importantly, you have to remember that people will alter their perception of your range when you 3-bet versus just flat calling. People will be inclined to play against you as if you were holding AAxx, which means you need to be prepared to counter moves that smart players will make against what they suspect to be aaxx. This applies, of course, only at higher stakes.
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