The world is not enough in pot-limit Omaha



I found myself in a share-worthy situation at this year’s World Series of Poker $5K Pot Limit Omaha event.

It was early in the tournament; the blinds were 100-200 and I was dealt 5-5-6-6 (double-suited hearts and spades) in late position. There were three limpers with around 15K chips, including Ted Lawson of Plantation, Fla., who was under the gun. I decided to call, and I had a similar stack. The small blind limped and then Dave “Devilfish” Ulliot potted out of the big blind to 1,200 with roughly 6K chips behind. Everyone called except the small blind.

The Flop
With 6,200 in the middle, the flop came {a-Hearts}{7-Hearts}{5-Diamonds} giving me bottom set and a flush draw. Before I could get excited about my drool-worthy flop, Devilfish moved all-in and Lawson called.

Their ranges
With Devilfish potting out of the big blind and then leading all-in into four players on a draw-heavy board, his range is either A-A-x-x or … A-A-x-x. … that’s not a typo!
Since we’re so certain Devilfish has A-A in his hand, and since Lawson still has three players left to act behind him, the chance of him having any sort of two pair is dramatically reduced and his range consists of a nut draw a high percentage of the time.

Our action
We fold. Our set is no good and there’s a good chance our flush draw is no good as well. If they both have what we think we’re well below 10 percent to win the hand. Even if we misread the hand terribly and they both just have nut draws, we’re still roughly only 20 percent to win the hand with our set and we’re barely committed.

What happened
Devilfish flipped over A-A-10-7 rainbow and Lawson flips had … Q-J-10-7 with three hearts. Lawson rivered a heart and won the hand.

I played this hand poorly preflop, Devilfish played it worse and Lawson played it like a complete goldfish. What should’ve happened was Lawson, a WSOP bracelet-winner in Omaha, should’ve mucked under the gun and Devilfish should’ve checked out of the big blind. By doing so he would’ve trapped me and I would’ve gotten it in with him heads-up and I would’ve sucked out.

Flopping everything you could hope for in PLO doesn’t always work out in your favor, especially multiway. Use preflop action to determine your percentage to win the hand. I know if I was multitabling and I saw this hand come up I would usually just get in and hope for the best, but in fact it would’ve been a terrible call by me on the flop. But alas, my analysis of the hand saved me some money and I hope it saves you some in the future.

— Jay Houston is a young poker pro and is a sit-n-go specialist. You can email him at

Ante Up Magazine

Ante Up Magazine