Sit and Go Omaha Poker tournaments are a great way to turn a small buy-in into a nice payout, but you’ve got to be aware of the challenges that they can present. The mechanical strategy that works well in Texas Hold ‘Em Sit and Go tournaments doesn’t work well in Omaha events because of two factors. First, Omaha hands tend to be closer before the flop and secondly, pot-limit betting restricts your usage of aggressive betting to push players out.
Let’s look at the different stages of a Pot Limit Omaha Sit and Go tournament, and how you should play during each portion of the event.
The Early Stages
The old standby of tournament play, staying tight and waiting for premium hands, may keep you out of trouble but you have to make sure that you understand the risks that come with it. If you stick to premium hands only, your opponents are going to notice when you do play, making it easier for them to more accurately guess your holdings. Instead, loosen up a bit. Raise with quality hands (double suited high card combinations or pairs, for example) and call preflop if it won’t cost you too much while holding a medium or low rundown hand like 789T.
This sort of play will keep you active without playing risky hands. That combination will make your premium hands that much more profitable.
The Middle Stages
Once the blinds start to become a notable drain on your chipstack and the number of players begins to drop, that’s when you’re going to start working more tight-aggressive hands. Don’t call preflop raises when you’ll be committed to a pot by a continuation bet; instead you should be re-raising before the flop or just folding outright. The best way to play middle stages is to manage your betting in such a way that you’ll be making the final bet in a hand. This lets you force your opponent to fold and gives you more ways to win than just going to a showdown.
On and Through the Bubble
Once you’re past the bubble, the mechanical style of play we described as effective is completely out the window. You’re not going to be able to get all-in before the flop without handing your opponent the better odds to call your re-raise. Play your stack size appropriately and pay attention to how others are managing their chip stacks. If you can push someone with a smaller stack out of the action, then you’ve got a wider range of cards you can play.
Position is key, and its importance becomes greatly magnified once you’re in the money. Remember that the chances for any opponent who’s made it through the money of having a monster hand are smaller than they were at the beginning of the tournament. Once you’re down to two or three players, work to keep the pot under your control whenever possible.