Calculating your equity in Omaha is important because it will allow you to effectively determine whether or not a hand is worth pursuing. If you have a slim chance of winning a pot but would be forced to invest a lot of money, there is very little equity. On the other hand, if you have a very good shot at winning a pot but have to put just a little bit of money in, it would only make sense to continue with the hand.
Your odds of winning any given hand in any given situation will determine just how much equity you have. For the most part, equity is something that Omaha players eventually develop a natural feel for. You don’t go out with a calculator and determine when to make a call when to make a fold, when to raise, and so on and so forth. Instead, you should be able to make fairly sound judgments on the spot. This isn’t a skill that you are going to acquire right away, but it is quite easy to learn if you put the effort in.
One of the easiest ways to gain an edge on the competition is to know when you should and shouldn’t be playing in a hand. You might think that this goes without saying, but there are a lot of players who will chase down draws in Omaha no matter what the cost is or how unlikely it is that they would end up winning.
Your actual equity and your perceived equity can often end up being two very different things. When you consider that you have a decent shot at making a straight, you should also know what the chances are that a straight will be the best hand at showdown. As you can see, there are a lot of variables that come into play when determining just how much equity you have in any given spot.
REALIZING WINS & LOSSES
Your equity in a hand will tell you how much you should expect to win over the long run and how much you should expect to lose. There is absolutely no way that you are going to win with every single hand, no matter how dominant you might bet. As a result, the only logical way to consider your plays is to analyze the likelihood of a win or a loss.
Once you can effectively come up with the chances of winning vs. losing, you can then decide how much money you are willing to put in the middle. For example, if you think that you are going to win a hand roughly 40% of the time, you would then need to calculate how much money you would need to spend in order to take down the pot. If you are investing more than 40% of what you would be able to earn, you probably aren’t going to be very profitable.
EXAMPLE OF EQUITY
Pretend that you have the same 40% chance to win a hand as mentioned above. The action is on you on the turn where you have the option to call a $10 bet into a $50 pot. Now, you have also decided that the final pot will probably be around $100 when all is said and done. If you call this $10 on the turn, though, you will also need to call at least $10 more on the river. This sets your total investment at $20 in exchange for the chance at winning a $100 pot. You now need to subtract that $20 from the $100, giving you $80 to win total. At $80, $20 sits as a 25% share, making this particular play profitable at 40%.
Note that this example disregards a number of variables including the number of players in the hand, potential raises and re-raises, and how much money you put into the pot prior to the turn. Despite the simplicity of this example, it illustrates how much money you should be willing to risk when you have a feel for what amount of equity you have.
You were given 40% equity in exchange for 25% of the money, so it only made sense to go ahead and see the hand through to the river. This is not something that many players will learn how to do right away, and many never truly understand it, but it will make your decisions a lot easier.