Bluffing in Omaha High
Like every poker variation out there, bluffing is one of the most challenging and intriguing aspects of the game. You are tempted with the risk to outwit your opponent, and win a hand that you shouldn’t have. It is this important psychological factor of the game that must be mastered in order to achieve greatness.
If you are a beginner to Omaha high then I suggest that you read our articles on basic strategy prior to engulfing yourself in this complex element of the game.
In order to understand the different tactics for bluffing successfully, it is important to first learn about the reasons for bluffing in the selected game of Omaha high. The main point of bluffing is to make your opponents fold the best hand, by betting to appear stronger then what you really are.
Since you are playing to make the strongest high hand, a good strategy is to bet high when you think you have a good high hand or are drawing for a good high hand. This is really considered a semi-bluff, but for the purpose of this article I am just calling it a bluff. By betting high, you are trying to scare the low hands out so that you are competing against fewer players for the pot. If this tactic is done correctly, about a quarter of the time, you will be able to take the pot down with your bluff.
Now that I have explained that main reason, it is important that I tell you that bluffing should not be done as often in Omaha high as it would be in Holdem. Bluffing is much harder to execute correctly in Omaha high for numerous reasons. The main fault in Omaha high that makes it hard for bluffing is that with starting with four cards, more players will have reason to stay in the hand. Basically, the odds of winning have just doubled because the players have the chance of winning by making 6 different hands. This means that it will be harder for you to scare players away.
Furthermore, by having players receive four cards prior to the flop, instead of the standard two in Holdem, players will have the notion that it will be easier to catch draws on the flop. This will cause them to be more tempted to call bets to fish for cards. This makes it extremely difficult to bluff, since your opponents will be playing much looser then they normally would. These characteristics of the game make it difficult to bluff; however, it doesn’t mean it can’t be done. In order for your bluff to be successful in causing the other players to fold, you need to know when the right time is to bluff.
A great time to bluff in every game, but especially in this one, is when there aren’t that many players contending you for the pot. This is just simple logic; the fewer players in, the fewer players you have to worry about calling your bluff. One of the best times to bluff is when few players are in the pot, and there was a raise before the flop, but the flop comes with low cards.
The bet before the flop should signal a high pocket pair, or more then one face card. Since the flop came with such low cards it is smart to think that your opponents have not hit anything significant with the flop. If they checked on the flop, this will indicate weakness, and you have the chance to bet and bluff.
If any players call, then you need to reevaluate the hand, and if you still think there weak, a high bet on 4th street will really intimidate them. This situation will not always occur, so the next best time to bluff is when scare cards come. Look for possible straight and flush draws, along with high cards, and then bet high as if you had these hands. Be careful to only do this if no one has raised before the flop or bet on the flop, and if your opponents are not known for slow playing. If these 3 things apply, then you have a good chance of bluffing your opponents out of a pot.
Hopefully this article has given you a brief walk through of the standard bluffing strategy in the great game of Omaha high. If you need more information on bluffing, read our article on Omaha High-Raising before the Flop? which talks about bluffing as well. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us, and as always, good luck.