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HOT & COLD OMAHA POKER


How to Play Hot & Cold Omaha Poker

 

Hot & Cold Omaha: Played like Omaha with this twist: Deal 5 cards down to each player. Before any betting each player must discard one hole card face down in the middle of the table. These cards are shuffled or mixed together. The 3 flop cards are drawn from these discarded cards. The turn and river cards are dealt from the remaining deck. May be played high, high-low split or high-low eight or better.

Summary of action:
Deal 5 hole cards to each player.
Each player selects 1 card from their hand and discards it face down.
Gather and mix/shuffle all discarded cards.
Bet
Deal 3 cards from discards as flop.
Bet
Deal 1 card from deck as turn.
Bet
Deal 1 card from deck as river.
Bet
High only: Showdown
High-low split: Declare
Bet
Showdown


Playing Tips for Hot & Cold Omaha

 

In Hot & Cold Pineapple the flop will consist of cards that have been seen and selected by the players. As we shall see, there is some level of predictability in what cards may appear in the flop (a condition we term "hot"). However, since the turn and river are dealt from the remaining deck, they are random and, therefore, not predictable (a condition we term "cold"). This feature results in a game where even the best pre-flop and post-flop decisions can be negated once the turn and river are revealed.

The main considerations and decisions in Hot & Cold Pineapple involve trying to strike a balance between these competing factors:
The card you discard pre-flop should be of minimal value to your opponents if it re-appears in the flop.
The card you discard pre-flop should be of some value (or at least not hurt) to your hand if it re-appears in the flop.
The 4 cards you keep should be the ones your opponents are most likely to discard to the flop cards.


The Flop Cards are Different

 

In Omaha the flop, turn and river consist of random cards that come from the unseen deck. There is a equal chance that any card may appear. In contrast, the majority (3 out of 5 cards) of the board cards in Hot & Cold Omaha poker are not random. The flop consists of cards that have been seen and selected by the players so it is more likely to contain some cards and less likely to contain others.


Predicting the Others Players' Play

 

It is important to think about what the other players will do. What cards will they most likely keep? What cards will they most likely contribute to the flop cards? These two decisions are very important for they will influence on what you will do.

Unless they have given it some prior thought the average player is likely to view their hole cards the same way they do for Omaha. They will keep what they view as their 4 most favorable cards and discard what they think is the card that least coordinates with their other cards. If they do this they will often not consider if the card they discard will be helpful to another player. That will often lead to mistakes. Cards that players will most likely keep are any ace, very low cards (if playing high-low split), very high cards, pairs, suited and unsuited connected cards. The cards they are most likely to discard are middle ranked cards and any other card that is not well coordinated with their other four.

Here is a summary of what other players are likely to do with each card when playing high-low split versions of this game. Playing high only version is much simpler as players will keep their highest cards and discard lowest card unless it is paired or suited to an ace or king.

Ace - As both the highest and lowest card an ace is almost always kept. May consider discarding only if not paired, not suited, not connected with other high cards (KQJT), they have no low card, they hold 2 other pairs. Even in those circumstances discarding an ace will almost certainly help other players.
2 - Will discard if they have no ace or 3, it is not paired, not suited to another high card (KQ).
3 - Will keep if they have a single ace or A2 (for "insurance), if it is suited to another high card or paired. Might keep if they have a single 2 without ace, though that is typically a mistake.
4 -Will discard unless suited to ace or other high card or paired. Might keep as "insurance" if holding A2 or A3.
5 -Will discard unless suited to ace or other high card, paired or suited connected.
6 -Will discard unless suited to ace or other high card, paired or suited connected.
7 -Will discard unless suited to ace or other high card, paired or suited connected.
8 -Will discard unless suited to ace or other high card, paired or suited connected.
9 -Will discard unless suited to ace or other high card, paired or suited connected.
10 -Will discard unless suited to ace or other high card, paired or suited connected.
Jack -Will keep if suited, connected (including gapped) or paired.
Queen -Will keep if suited, connected (including gapped) or paired.
King -Will keep if suited, connected (including gapped) or paired.


Determining Your Play

 

Some of the cards that are discarded come back into play as the 3 flop cards. In an 8 handed game there is a 37.5% chance that the card a player discards will come into play. It is 43% for a 7 handed game. The first objective is that a player should try to keep cards that the other players are most likely to discard, especially pairs or the higher ranks of those cards. A second objective is to attempt to discard a card that will help his hand if it re-appears but be less likely to help an opponent. Granted, that is not always easy to do. There will often be contradictory pros and cons about what to keep and what to discard, but it is still the goal.

Of course, since the turn and river cards are dealt from the unseen deck those cards are entirely random. The combination of some flop predictability coupled with the randomness of the turn and river make Hot & Cold Omaha an interesting and challenging game.

Obvious decisions for Hot & Cold Omaha is to always keep A2 for the nut low. Other players rarely discard aces so A2 is not likely to be counterfeited on the flop unless someone throws away a deuce, though there is no such protection with the turn and river cards. If you also have a 3 or 4 keep it for "insurance". In an eight handed game if you are not dealt A2 there is a better than even chance someone else was. A3 has a shot at becoming the nuts and might win on its own. It also has about an equal chance of being ruined by someone discarding a three. 32 stands less chance as do any low hands that are 2 cards from the nuts (eg.A4).

Another obvious decision is discarding the 3rd card if you are dealt trips since you can only use 2 of your hole cards.


When Good May Not Be Good Enough

 

There are some situations when hole cards, especially low ones, are appealing to play in Omaha, but are considerably less valuable in Hot & Cold Omaha. Here are some examples.

In Omaha A3 or 23 are only a single board card away from making the nut low. In Hot & Cold Omaha that is less likely to happen, especially on the flop. You should expect that aces are rarely discarded so 23 is hardly ever going to make the best low hand unless the ace appears from the deck on the turn or river. If you hold A3 there is a chance that a deuce may be discarded so you could get lucky with it or catch a deuce on the turn or river. It could also win by itself (though it is tough to bet it) but might just as easily be counterfeited if someone dumps a 3 for the flop or an ace or 3 appears on the turn or river.

For high, a pocket pair of aces has less of a chance of becoming trips than any other pocket pair. Other players are very unlikely to discard an ace, so it will hardly ever occur on the flop. In all likelihood, you will have only the turn and river to make it happen, so you have cut your chances of making a set of aces by over half. (2 chances rather than 5.)

Since players are more likely to discard similar ranked cards expect to see the board pair more often. As a result, expect more frequent full houses and quads occuring and fewer straights or flushes being winners.