The dynamic in an Omaha Hi-Lo game changes dramatically when there are fewer than five players. You can actually lose quite a bit of money sticking to your usual hand requirements for a full ring game. Let’s look at how the dynamic changes when there are four or fewer tables at the table and what you can do to improve your profitability.
You should rarely, if ever open limp into a hand while playing in a short-handed fixed-limit Omaha Hi-Lo game. With so few opponents, you’re going to be able to pick up more pots uncontested than you would at a full table, so make “raise or fold” your default decision. Of course, if there are opponents who are 3-betting a lot, relax a little bit and go with the flow.
Position Is Important (Of Course)
When you are short-handed, the importance of position jumps dramatically. Acting last at a full table allows you to win extra bets when you’re a head and lose less when you’re behind, especially when there are two raises ahead of you. In shorthanded play, opponents who check to you give you the chance to pick up a pot with a bet are much more common. Also, if you have tight opponents who have not adjusted their blind defense to the situation properly then it can be profitable to raise a huge range from the button at a short-table.
What Are Your Opponents Missing?
Many of your opponents are going to relax their starting hand selection in a situation like the one described, but they probably won’t realize that the shape of their hands needs to be adjusted as well. High-only hands increase in value more than most players realize, as the odds of an opponent having a strong enough low to take to the showdown are decreased. Lows with marginal high potential also see an increase in value since the bar for hitting the high hand will also be lower. You should also realize that your low-only hands actually go down slightly in value when short-handed because of the factors described.
If you want to win in short-handed fixed limit Omaha hi-lo games, you have to adjust to your opponents. This can see obvious, but it cannot be emphasized enough. If your opponents are too tight, they can make for great profits over time, but if you end up going to the showdown with them, make sure you have two-way potential. It’s too easy to find yourself in a situation where they basically earn half the pot for free. Loose and aggressive opponents are more difficult to counter, but the strategies outlined here can help greatly.