Omaha 8 or Better Poker Strategy
Omaha 8 is probably one of the games in the mix that more players are already familiar with and at the very least have some general ideas about coming from PLO. In the introductory part talking about fixed limit Omaha 8, Jake explains the fundamental rules of the game – standard Omaha games combined with the fact there are two parts of the pot: high and low.
He also explains some basic terms and concepts such as the “wheel” (A to 5 straight), freerolling (having one half of the pot locked and playing for the possibility of the second half), jamming (forcing the third player to either fold or put in many bets), etc.
The video also covers some basics of the starting hand selection. Obviously, with this being a split pot game, the selection of hands that stand to fare well is different from regular (high) Omaha. Hands with strong potential to make nuts for low and high parts are the ones to look out for, with AA23 double-suited being the strongest possible starting hand in O8.
Omaha 8 is a flop game, unlike the other three games covered before it. So, naturally, making good decisions before the flop goes a long way towards achieving good results overall. One interesting point that Jake starts within the video on frequencies deals with opens and how opening many hands in Omaha 8 is generally not a good idea because people are more likely to 3-bet and defend against your opens.
There are two videos also dealing with the play from the blinds. In Omaha 8, facing a single bet and closing the action in big blinds, we should be defending a wide range of hands (around 90%). Against the button raise, this should go up to 95% and basically 99% against the small blind. Some hands that serve as a good folding material in multiway pots are hands containing mid to low pairs and gapped hands containing three high and one low card.
Turning to the small blind, things become somewhat trickier. Against a button open, the good strategy suggests playing 40% of the hands with a large percentage of these being 3-bets and only a small percentage of calls. Playing against earlier position opens will depend on how loose a player is and what type of a hand you’re holding. Usually, hands that tend to do better as flat calls are one-way hands, like 2345, KQJ2, etc.
With preflop things out of the way, the series continues with several videos covering flop play. The first video covers some general ideas and stats to consider, such as fold to cbet, check-raise, fold to check-raise, etc. In general, in O8, folding frequencies on the flop are significantly lower given that hands usually have solid equity on average and the pot odds are very good.
Flop equities run very close, and Jake covers different ranges in different positions at the table, looking at what kind of mathematical edges we’ll be looking at. These numbers can be a lot to take in immediately, but they certainly give a good general idea of how different Omaha 8 is in terms of ranges and how edges are fairly smaller.
Further videos cover different areas of play with regards to flops, such as taking multiway flops and approaching different types of scenarios. These videos bring quite a few in-play examples, so they bring some of the earlier discussed points home through actual play. Other topics covered in the videos include flop check-raise, checking back, and dealing with the hands where we’re facing a check-raise.
There is a lot of material to cover, and Jake does it in a number of shorter videos, up to 15 minutes or so each, which makes the learning process somewhat easier. With so much information to digest, especially for those new to Omaha 8 or any other game covered in the course, having things split into these smaller pieces makes it easier.
Turn & River
This particular segment of the Mixed Game Mastery course wraps up with several videos covering turn and river play. Once again, we’re introduced to important stat averages (cbet, fold vs. cbet, donk bet, etc.), which can help you tremendously when using the right poker tools.
On the turn, we want to be getting value from hands that have the nut portion of the pot locked and some equity for the high. If there are no draws, barreling strong made hands and strong combo draws for the high is still the best strategy on the turn as we’re looking to extract value from our hands.
Two videos covering the river play discuss thin value bets, denying your opponents the opportunity to check back when they are unhappy with the river card, but also recognizing spots where the check-call approach is the best way to go. In general, decent 2-way hands should always go for a bet while weaker and medium-strength hands make a solid check-call material.
Finally, the segment wraps up with several videos containing play examples from some high stakes cash games and a WCOOP tournament, which makes for a nice final touch on the series. With these videos, different concepts discussed in the lessons are put to the test in a cash game and tournament environments alike, showing the theoretical knowledge in practice.
Deuce to Seven Triple Draw Poker Strategy
Of all the games covered in the Mixed Games Mastery course, Deuce to Seven Triple Draw is probably the least familiar game. As the name suggests, it is a draw game, and it is the only draw game in the mix, so we’re faced with a completely different approach in figuring out how to play this game correctly.
In the first video, Jake covers the basics of the game, including rules and main concepts, emphasizing the fact that this is a lowball game, but it is different to Razz. The best hand you can have is 2-3-4-5-7 (hence the name). In this game, straights and flushes count against the player, so you don’t want to make any of those.
The introductory video also covers betting rules and how the game is played in general, so even if you’re completely new to it, you can get a general feel for it. That said, you won’t learn how to play Deuce to Seven from this video alone as it is more focused on certain general strategic aspects. Finding the rules for the game is easy enough, so it makes sense that this video doesn’t spend too much time dwelling on them.
Starting Hands & Opening Ranges
Since this is a different game to all to the other ones in the mix, understanding starting hands in Deuce to Seven Triple Draw is a skill of its own. Clearly, hands containing a Deuce are, in general, much stronger than the ones without a Deuce. On the other hand, 6s are usually bad cards because they help create many straights (which you don’t want to have).
Jake brings some general strong starting hands categories to go by if you’re just starting up. He also discusses the idea that a pair will make your draw stronger because there is one fewer card that is bad for you in the deck, etc. In general, however, creating hand charts for this game is somewhat difficult because it is hard to figure out what hands do better. Many considerations come into play, and some hands that have stronger raw equity don’t realize as well.
When it comes to opening ranges, one of the videos brings a sort of opening chart, explaining what hands to enter with from different positions, where to draw, where to stand pat, etc. Once again, making an exact opening chart (like in Hold’em) is very difficult, but this segment brings a very good breakdown of hands and some interesting thoughts to keep in mind when making your decisions before the first draw.
Breaking the Game Draw by Draw
After the videos covering the predraw segment of play, the series turns to draws and explains, in detail, how to proceed across different drawing opportunities. There is obviously a lot of ground to cover here, and for everyone new to Deuce to Seven Triple Draw, these videos offer an excellent resource to get you going.
In general, with Deuce to Seven being so different from all these other games with community cards and/or exposed cards (Stud type games), there is a lot to take in and understand. So, the best way to take full advantage of the information presented in this segment of the course is to take one video at the time and try to understand what’s being discussed.
Expanding your repertoire with draw games is definitely important for mixed games players so this is a very valuable segment even if it will feel like the hardest one to take in for most players. Thankfully, there are many examples included in there as well, so that should help somewhat with putting this theoretical knowledge to good use.
Conclusion: Probably the Best Mixed Games Course Out There
Mixed games generally belong to a different league in the world of poker, with advanced players usually being the ones interested in expanding their knowledge beyond just Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha. However, the Upswing Mixed Games Mastery course is designed in a way that’s accessible to everyone and doesn’t require you to already be an expert player to get started. Every segment of the course starts slowly and picks up the speed as it progresses, so it is easy to keep up with. You can also take a look at a review of upswing poker lab if you are more interested in Holdem games.
Alongside videos covering various strategic aspects of the games, there are also many videos with examples, so this is probably the best mixed games course available right now, and it is definitely well worth the price. If you’re looking to learn some of these games, this course will get you there.
All in all, I do not think you will find better-structured resources for learning mixed games, and it is a sure way to gain that extra edge and have some fun at the same time! Try it for yourself!