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  • HA Poker Strategy: The Art of Adapting

    URGENT! Seeking: Fun loving, sharp minded person, capable of adapting to many different environments. Ability to deceive others is a plus. Chameleon-like ability to disguise thoughts is a must. Opponent manipulation bonuses paid daily. Sound like your kinda gig? Good. You’ll be right at home at the HA poker table. Plenty of players can play solid Holdem. Lots can play a good game of Omaha. Very few can play both equally well. That’s what makes HA poker so profitable. Winning at HA poker is all about adapting to your opponent’s playing style, and crushing his weakness. It’s pretty easy, really. H.A. poker can only be found at Full Tilt Poker. This the urge to play this amazing mixed poker game isn't enough to get you to sign up there how does this sound:

    Follow these steps to get inside your opponent’s head at the HA table, and laugh as you rake in his chips with style.

    Update - Pokerstars has their own mixed poker game that includes PL Holdem and Omaha. PLH/PLO is what they are calling it at Stars and it has already started picking up decent traffic.

    Identify Your Opponent’s Best Game

    Every single player that sits down at a HA poker table has a strong game. It’s either Holdem, or Omaha. Nobody is equally good at both. However, most players don’t even realize there’s a strategic difference between the two games. Too many people assume that Holdem strategy is transferable to Omaha, and vice-versa.


    Holdem is a game of aggression, deception, and risk management. Omaha on the other hand, is a game of draws and odds. In the first couple of orbits of a HA poker game, you should be paying attention to how your opponents play each game.

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    Do you notice a player playing loose and calling thin to draws in Holdem? Chances are, he’s an Omaha player. Your strategy should be to punish his loose play in Holdem, and back off with the aggression in Omaha. This type of player will chase way too many unprofitable draws in Holdem. Raise, raise, and raise him some more to punish his stack for his refusal to adapt.

    Notice a player who’s extremely tight preflop, and who’s overvaluing his one and two pair type hands in Omaha? Congrats, you’ve found a Holdem specialist. Punish his stubbornness by outdrawing him with great multi-opportunity starting hands. Feed off his timid play by raising him up preflop. He’s got no clue what a proper Omaha starting hand even is- make him second-guess himself. You’ll cause him to make more mistakes than you can even imagine.

    It’s Not About You

    You’ll notice that I haven’t even mentioned playing your own cards. That’s because playing your own cards comes second to exploiting your opponent’s weakness in mixed game poker. Your edge in HA, or any mixed game, comes from exploiting your opponent’s weak games. You don’t need to be an expert in both Holdem and Omaha to win at HA- you’ve just got to punish your opponent for his imbalance of skill.

    Adapting to your opponent is far more important than playing each game perfectly. If you can identify your opponent’s strategic deficiencies and play off of them, you’ll have a much bigger edge than you would simply playing your own cards properly. If you want to reduce HA to luck of the draw, then sure, play your cards. If you really want to dominate, play your opponents, not your cards.

    Training Your Opponent To Lose

    The great thing about HA poker is that you can train your opponent to act however you want over the course of the game. It’s kind of like hypnosis, but much less complicated.

    Imagine: You’re learning to ski for the first time. You can stand up on your skis and point yourself down the hill just fine. Your turns however, are still a little shaky. You notice that every time you try and turn left, you fall. Your right turns aren’t so bad, but what’s the use in being able to turn in one direction? No matter how hard you try, you just can’t stop falling when you try to turn left. Eventually, all your movements become more timid. Your confidence is shot. You can’t even turn right anymore. You’ve psyched yourself out.

    That’s how your opponent feels after you’ve exploited his weak game relentlessly in HA poker. Dominating an opponent constantly in a particular game, round after round, will take its psychological toll. Eventually, your opponent’s confidence will drop. That is, if he doesn’t go on wild monkey tilt first. As a result of your constant assault, he’ll either begin to doubt his skill against yours, or he’ll start spewing chips for no real reason.

    Either of these outcomes is great for you. In both cases, you’ve got your opponent right where you want him: in the palm of your hand. You’ve trained him to play horrible poker, by taking advantage of his imbalance of skill.

    That’s the key to crushing HA poker. You don’t have to become a world-class player in both Holdem and Omaha. You’ve just got to take advantage of your opponent’s bad game until he cracks. Easy money.