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When playing low stakes, no ante 6-max omaha cash games, I often find myself completely clueless on what to do pre-flop when I am in the small blind. Whether someone opened or it folded to me. The problem is that if you commit chips you will of course be the first to act post flop, which is especially in omaha very unfavorable. I've heard about a NLH cash game small blind strategy where when facing a raise you 3-bet or fold your entire range. Could this be a solid strategy in omaha as well? People rarely fold to a 3-bet, especially in position, so I don't want to 3-bet light out of position. But when I have a hand like A♥Q♣7♥4♣ or T♣9♠8♣7⋄ facing a cutoff open I don't want to fold it, or should I?

Also when it folds to me, should I generally limp or pot from the SB? It probably depends on the opponent. Some overfold while other 3-bet a lot. But perhaps rake is too high and people too sticky to even put chips in with most hands? I'd love to hear some input.

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Disclaimer: I rarely play PLO

In NLHE, the value in a 3-betting marginal hands comes almost entirely from from fold equity (ie the money you make when they fold). The problem with having a high 3-bet percentage in PLO is that people almost never fold, and at low stakes they actually never fold.

The second piece of the pie to consider is your overall 3-betting range. At medium to high stakes (say 5/10+) you need to consider everyone's perception of your range at all times when constructing a 3-betting range. I couldn't help much there since I would definitely be a fish at those stakes (that is, in PLO ;-).

At lower stakes, your 3-betting range really doesn't matter much, and most if not all of the EV to gain is from whales dumping their stakes. The rake at small stakes (specifically 1/2 and 1/3) is so high that you can't possibly hope to win if you are at a table filled with decent players. Even Phil Ivey would lose to the house if he were in a 1/2 game with 8 other 1/2 or 2/5 regs.

I would suggest having a strategy centered around seeing as many flops with bad players as possible, and focus on getting money in good post flop. I would only 3-bet when you have something like top 5% of hands, and every few hours you can go crazy with a marginal hand like A♥Q♣7♥4♣ to mix it up and make sure you get paid when you have a premium hand.

  • Specificity of PLO are like you said people rarely fold to a 3-bet. This is why you shouldn't reraise marginal hands at all, but instead build a range that is heavily (only ?) for value, but with a balance between the board that it can hit. For example despite it being a bit marginal 3 bet it's good to have 9876 in your 3-bet range, because that's more or less the only kind of hands that can hit medium or low boards, and it's good to call some amount of aces and kings (the most ragged ones) to avoid being purely AAxx KKxx (this is already 4% of hands in omaha). – Arthur Havlicek May 17 at 6:00
  • 9876 double suited. With a single suit just call – Arthur Havlicek May 17 at 6:22
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Do not open limp in any position : you can complete your SB with a lot of hands if players limp before you, but if you are 1v1 letting a flop for free to big blind if you hold a decent hand is ill-advised. Otherwise, just fold, never forget the BB can raise you if you just complete the big blind in hope for a cheap flop.

If you want to build your reference defensive ranges around what is good from a game theory point of view here would be my advice :

A regular player at CO, PLO opens around 30% of hands and you certainly DON'T want to fold a solid hand against this. Good response is to 3-bet ~7% (more than AAxx KKxx anyway, but also, say, J♥T♥T♣9♣ or 7♠6♠5♥4♥, trying to mix the kind of board you can hit with your 3-bet range) and call the next 10 to 15%. These ranges take account for position, they are tight ! You actually often call the best hand, even though you have good odds to call, with all the dead money. Don't think only about the position, also think that the person who raises could hold semi-trashes here, like 9♥9⋄7♥5♠ or A⋄8⋄6⋄5♠. The two hands you mentioned are probably calls all the time.

Now, this does imply you are able to do something on the flop 1v1 when your opponent holds nothing. PLO is a game where people fold a lot on the flop, because it's quite rare to make better than a pair, and the best hand is very likely to beat that. So if the flop goes check check and you have nothing, you should risk some amount of bluffing. If your opponent happens to continuation bet a lot, a few check-raises with a bit of equity can sometimes earn a nice pot. Even though check/fold should still be somewhat default, check/folding too much postflop could result in leaking money from the blinds.

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