Pot-Limit Omaha: The Combo Draw


If the action on a poker table can be described as a war, when it comes to Pot-Limit Omaha, the combo draw is your Weapon of Mass Destruction.

It's not possible to overstate the extent to which Omaha is a drawing game.

If you want to be successful at the game, you're going to want to play the hands which provide the possibility of flopping multiple draws to winning the pot.

Combo Draw-Friendly Hands

The first step in rocking a combo draw is playing a hand with combo draw potential.

Connect 4

Daniel Negreanu
One of the most friendly players on the tour.

Holding four connecting cards such as 5-6-7-8 will give you the greatest probability of flopping a straight draw, or better yet a wrap straight draw. A wrap is much like a combo draw in itself, as you have multiple straight draws with your one hand.

It Was Suited

If two of your cards are suited you have a chance of flopping a flush draw; if they're double-suited it doubles those odds. As long as it's on the turn, having two flush draws will give you 18 outs to a flush on the river.

The Best of Both Worlds

Being four-card-connected and double-suited is ideal. These hands must flop draws (or nuts) to be useful, but when they do you have a very decent chance of landing a combination of draws to the best hand.

A double-suited, double-connected hand can be so powerful, you will even see many players raise with them preflop. A hand such as 9 T J Q has a very high probability of winning, and isn't even much of a dog to the best possible starting hand of A A K K double suited.

As long as the suits aren't the same between the two hands, the 9 T J Q hand actually holds just under 40% equity preflop against the A A K K double suited.

Choose Your Flops Wisely

Although you don't get to choose which cards come on the flop, you do get to choose the flops you're willing to play. As explained in a previous article, Pot-Limit Omaha: Flopping Two Pair Part 1, hands such as two pair on the flop are weak holdings if they're not paired with a redraw.

When playing a hand such as 9 T J Q, you're playing it to flop nuts, or to flop a hand with a massive amount of draws to the best hand.

The type of flop you are hoping to hit with a hand like this is something like: J Q 3.

A flop such as this not only gives you top two, but a flush draw and an up-and-down straight draw. There is a decent chance you have the best hand at the moment, plus you have redraws. Any player holding K-Q in their hand can't hit a king for a higher two pair without you hitting your straight.

The only hands that will beat you here are a higher draw (such as the ace-high heart-flush draw), or that of someone who has flopped a set. If you're up against a set, you need to hit one of your draws without the board pairing to win.

Amnon Filippi
Be sure the flop is good for you before proceeding.

The more draws you have, the more outs and blockers you hold. If you're holding a hand with only a single draw, you're limiting yourself to a maximum of nine outs.

You can't see your opponent's cards; thus you have to assume that all of your outs are still in the deck. Because players hold twice as many cards in Omaha as in Hold'em, it's twice as probable that your opponents are holding some or all of your outs.

Holding onto a hand with only nine outs (assuming they're all live) is a surefire way to lose money while playing Omaha. To be successful in the game you need a multitude of draws to give yourself blockers, outs and most importantly a healthy share of equity in the pot.

On the flop in Omaha, your equity is almost completely made up of the outs you hold. The simplest way to increase your Omaha win rate is by changing your mindset and playing for the best hand on the turn and river, rather than playing for the flop.

Play for the draws, and take your opponents to value town when you hit them.

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