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Omaha Poker Crash Course

Omaha is a community poker game much like Texas hold’em with a few important differences. The game is becoming increasingly popular across the world as people look to experience new and different games plus add some variety to their poker experience. This three article series will cover beginner, intermediate and advanced strategies for Omaha, but first let’s talk about the differences between Texas hold’em and Omaha:

  • In Omaha players are dealt four cards however they may only use exactly two of them to make their final five card hand.
  • In Omaha there will be five cards on the board just like Texas hold’em but players may only use exactly three cards on the board, not four or one or two!
  • The bottom line is that players must use exactly two cards from their hand and exactly three cards from the board.

Starting Hand Selection in Omaha

Like most poker games one of the most important parts of becoming a good Omaha player is making proper starting hand selections. While starting hand strategy in Omaha is not as clear cut as Texas hold’em there are definite considerations you have to make. The main difference between starting hands in Omaha compared to Texas hold’em is that in hold’em hands can have a pretty clear advantage before the flop, whereas in Omaha those advantages are less. With that in mind, lets discuss what makes a good Omaha hand:

  • Double high pairs like AAKK or KKQQ make excellent Omaha hands, specifically look for ones that are double suited. Middle and low pairs on the other hand do not, stay away from them.
  • Multiple face card hands plus a pair are usually very strong. Look for hands like AKTT or AAKQ. Basically these hands are very versatile and provide good opportunities for straights and the obvious strength of the pair. Double suited again is always best.
  • Face cards without pairs are great too. JTQK is one of the better hands in Omaha. Be careful of middle wraps though, hands like 4567 are nothing but trouble in Omaha!

With those thoughts in mind lets look a little farther into the kinds of hands you don’t want to be playing in Omaha:

  • Low pairs and middle wraps are trouble in Omaha. The reason behind this is because they often end up as second best, and that will cost you tons of money in Omaha.
  • Hands with only two of the four cards being good can be a lot of trouble as well. Choose hands where every single card can contribute to the possibility of a strong hand. Again, hands like this are a great way to end up losing a lot of money in a second best situation.

Some Important Considerations for Omaha

Before you continue on to the intermediate and advanced Omaha articles, there are a few things you should understand about the game. Beginners often times will have a lot of trouble with Omaha because they don’t adjust their standards enough. The problem is two fold. Since players get more cards, they seem to make playable hands more often. This in turn causes beginners to stay with hands too often even though they are most likely beat. Things like trips and low straights can be a lot of trouble in Omaha and one of the most important things you can do as a new player is realize that the best way to win in Omaha is by having the nuts. If you regularly play second best hands you will lose more money in Omaha than you would in any other form of poker. Do yourself a favor and play only for the best in this game.

Game Specific Strategy