Omaha Poker Strategy: Short Stacking

If you’ve played Omaha poker for any length of time, you’re aware of the role that variance plays in the game. Players frequently flop such great hands that they simply can’t fold because the odds are on their side. This is when the concept of short stacking comes in handy. First of all, though, a disclaimer: many players hate this strategy, but for the newer player looking to get ahead of the pack, it’s a great play to introduce into their repertoire.

Short stacking works as follows: when you are facing an opponent against whom you can’t really fold but you only have a slight advantage, you buy in for the table minimum. This gives you a chance to avoid the problems of having to face down a monster pot while only holding a slight bit of equity. By short-stacking, you narrow your options down greatly. You can either raise or call a raise before the flop and then invest the rest of your stack in a flop that you hit on.

Another major advantage to short-stacking is that it gives you the chance to pick up dead money if it’s played well. Let’s say that you are facing a table full of deep-stacked opponents. When everyone’s wielding large stacks, they are much more likely to call pre-flop when they’re holding a marginal hand. (This is, of course, because of implied odds and the fact that there are more playable card combinations in Omaha than in other forms of poker.) You’ll often find yourself in situations where one player opts to raise, the others call and then you can place the rest of your stack in play if you’re holding big pairs or big wrap hands.

You no longer have any implied odds, so many of the players with deeper stacks are going to fold their more marginal plays. This gives you a shot at only facing down a couple of other opponents at most with a lot of money in a pot that other players have left money in.

It’s important to remember that no playable hand is every very far behind the rest of the pack in Omaha poker. This means that a situation like the one described can be very profitable for short-stacking players. You can build a monster stack from humble beginnings with a bit of work and if you lose, you feel pretty okay with your decision because you built said stack from just a few small buy-ins.