Adjusting For Short-Handed Fixed Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Poker

When there are 4 or fewer players in a Fixed Limit Omaha Hi-Lo game the dynamic changes considerably. Sticking to the starting hand requirements or betting strategy which succeeds in a full ring game could actually be very expensive here. This article looks at some of the key ways in which the poker strategy dynamic changes in short-handed fixed limit Omaha hi-lo poker and suggests some immediately profitable improvements.

The first thing to mention is that you should rarely, if ever, be open limping in a short handed fixed limit Omaha 8 game. With so few opponents the chances of picking up pots uncontested are much higher than at a full table. Making a ‘raise or fold’ default will also give you control in hands where nobody hits the flop hard. Of course, where opponents are 3 betting often this strategy can be relaxed a little.

Position is key in any form of Omaha Poker, when you are short-handed this becomes more important still. Think of it this way, acting last at a full table allows you to win extra bets when ahead and lose less when behind (especially when there are 2 raises ahead of you – allowing you to lay down a marginal holding). At a short handed table where opponents have checked to you the chances of being able to pick up pots with a bet are massively improved in addition to the usual benefits. If you have tight opponents who have not adjusted their blind defense to the situation properly then it can be profitable to raise a huge range from the button at a short-table.

Many players will realize that their starting hand selection needs to be relaxed when playing short-handed fixed limit Omaha Hi-Lo. What many people miss is the shape of hands that should be added to your starting hand selection. High-only hands increase in value more than many players expect – primarily because the chances of an opponent having a low strong enough to see a showdown are decreased. Lows with some marginal high potential also increase in value, since the requirement for hitting the high will be lower. Players should be aware that their premium low-only hands actually go down slightly in value when short-handed. This happens because opponents are more likely to stick around with a marginally strong high and because you are unlikely to see a multi-way pot in which to take a profitable half.

Key to success in short-handed fixed limit Omaha hi-lo games is successfully adjusting to your opponents. Overly tight opponents make for great profits over time, however when you end up in a heads-up pot with them then you will need to have 2-way potential – it is too easy to find yourself in the situation where you are being freerolled for half of the pot. Overly loose and aggressive opponents are more difficult to counter – which is why this strategy can be successful. Playing pots in position against these opponents, combined with observations on the hands they play and likely betting patterns, can be very profitable over time.

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