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To Raise or Limp?

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In Pot-Limit Omaha, no matter what you hold, your opponent's hand will almost always have a decent chance of beating your hand. For example, being dealt an A-A-K-K double suited is 50,000:1 (against) and that hand is just a 3:2 favourite to win against 8-7-6-5 double suited. As such, the question arises as to whether or not you should raise when you hold a good starting hand.

What about only raising when you hold Aces? The problem with this strategy is that you become too predicable, as people will know exactly where you are and will not likely make mistakes against you.

How about always limping in? This is better than just raising with Aces though it is still not an optimal strategy. Whenever you bet, raise or call on the flop, your opponents will also have a good idea of what type of hand you hold. If you never raise pre-flop, you do not make other limping players pay enough to see the flop for those times when you hold a strong starting hand. Also, you will not be picking up as many pots as when you play with a raising strategy.

By raising with a variety of hands pre-flop, you will gain numerous advantages: you become unpredictable, you pick up more pots, you make opponents pay when you are likely to have the best hand, and you obtain more bluffing opportunities. Another advantage is that it is more fun to play according to this strategy. In light of all this, it becomes clear that a strategy combining both raising and limping with a variety of hands is the best.


What hands to raise with


A good pre-flop raising strategy is to raise with any of the top 30 hands mentioned above, all of which hold at least one suit and most that don't, though this is not entirely sufficient and you will need to raise with more hands. Add any four cards in a row that are double-suited with cards, Six or higher, and all single and double suited A-K-x-x with at least one x-card, Ten or higher. Hands like Q-J-9-8 or J-T-9-7 double suited are also good to raise with.


Summary:


1. All top 30 hands with at least one suit and most of the time when off suit.
2. All suited A-K-x-x with at least one x-card, Ten or higher.
3. All double suited four in a row of hands, Five or higher.
4. All double suited connected hands, Five or higher, with a maximum of one gap between the top two and the two low cards or between the low card and the three high cards. An example is K-Q-T-9 double suited and J-9-8-6 double suited.
5. All K-K-x-x double suited.


What hands to limp with


1. All A-Q-x-x with at least one x-card, Ten or higher, and the Ace being suited.
2. All four in a row combinations, Four or higher.
3. All A-x-x-x anything with at least two x-cards that are connected and the Ace being suited.
4. All four in a row combinations, Five or higher, with a maximum of one gap that is not between the top and bottom three cards in the hand.