Latest point count update and Quiz
Posted under: Mike Cappelletti. November 1, 2011 | Written by: James Ferguson
The point count system for evaluating four-card Omaha hands which I introduced in 1988 has required surprizingly few modifications over the years. However some recent studies have indicated that high and medium pairs (in four-card starting hands) should receive slightly higher point values than previously given. Interestingly enough, the simplest way to make this modification is to apply the usual high card bonus to pairs also. Thus, this latest update can be implemented simply by taking out the word “don’t” in the phrase “HIGH CARD BONUS:(don’t give this extra bonus to paired cards)”, so that it reads “…(give this extra bonus…” on page 20. The result is that the high pairs, aces through tens, are each given the extra point (aces are now revalued at 10 instead of 9), and medium pairs, nines through sevens, are each given an extra half point (nines are now revalued at 7 instead of 6.5).
TEST YOUR OMAHA HAND RATING SKILLS
Before reading on you might try ranking the following Omaha hands or perhaps try to pick out the best several hands, assuming you are playing at a full table. Two cards underlined are suited (both of the same suit). T is a ten.
A J T 8
A K J 8
9 9 8 6
K Q J 8
K Q J 8
K Q T 9
A A K 9
J J 8 8
K T T 8
The nine hands are ranked below from best to worst, first, using the Cappelletti Point Count System, and secondly, using the winning percentages obtained when Mike Caro’s Poker Probe computer program is run with each of the hands played against seven random opponents (thus a 12.5% winning percentage is average). Can anyone help explain the incredibly close correlation between these two unrelated numbers?
Total Points Poker Probe Win %
1. K Q T 9 20 20.2 %
2. A A K 9 19.5 19.2 %
3. K Q J 8 19.5 18.9 %
4. K T T 8 19 18.7 %
5. J J 8 8 18 18.2 %
6. A J T 8 17.5 17.8 %
7. K Q J 8 17.5 16.6 %
8. 9 9 8 6 13.5 12.8 %
9. A K J 8 10.5 11.3 %
Note that the Poker Probe winning percentages were obtained by using Caro’s computer program to compete each of the above hands against seven randomly dealt opponent’s hands, 50,000 times. Because all eight computer simulated players play every hand to completion, the winning percentages obtained are somewhat artificial and hence are useful mostly for comparitive purposes. Actually the top six or seven hands are all fairly close in value (about as close as the American League East pennant race in mid-July ‘93), and each hand would be considered a good “raising” hand (you would usually raise in late seat).
In real life poker many of the “weakish looking” hands that ended up winning in the simulation might have folded somewhere along the way. Thus most of the above “nice looking” hands should win more frequently in actual play. If you ranked hand 9 higher than last, you might be right, since with very aggressive play, these high-card type hands can win more frequently. However, bear in mind that high-card flop-bashing hold’em tactics have only limited success at Omaha, mostly with occasional small pots (success is rare and the attempts costly with large well-attended pots).
Note how lack of a flush draw essentially demotes an otherwise attractive hand like hand 9. Players who raise before the flop without flush equities (try to start a big pot) are ignoring the fact that a fair portion of their Omaha wins have to come from flushes. Note also how the addition of just a jack high flush couple (compare hands 3 and 7) makes over a two percentage point difference even in full-table play (addition of an ace high flush holding usually adds about a four percent win increase).
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