Omaha Poker Strategy

I’m going to outline some of the basic Omaha High strategies. Omaha is often called a cruel game because everything can change with the flop of a card. Though it’s derived from Texas Holdem, Omaha is a different animal altogether.

Don’t Make These Mistakes

Many new Omaha players, especially if they’re used to Holdem, will make a few mistakes just based on the different rules of the game. Some things to remember are that if there’s four diamonds on the board and you’re holding one diamond, you do not have a flush. However, if you were to have two diamonds in your hand, then you would have a flush. Additionally, if there’s two pair on the board, and you have one card that’s the same rank as one of them in your hand, you do not have a full house. You only have three of a kind, unless you happen to have a card in your hand that matches one of the other cards on the board.

Play Coordinated Hands

There’s a guideline for Omaha strategy: Play cards that work together. This is the golden rule of thumb for Omaha. It can be tempting, especially if you’re used to Holdem, to play a hand like As-Ac-Kh-7d. You have a pair of aces, and your A-K can make a nut straight. Surprisingly, in Omaha, this hand is fairly weak (unless you’re shorthanded). Nothing’s suited, so you can’t get a flush. Also, your 7 is a “dangler. It can potentially be good, for example if K-K-7 flops, you’d have a full house. However, statistically and generally speaking, your 7 is a dead card. It dramatically lowers your versatility to make a good hand. Allow me to give you an example.

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Let’s say your hand is As-Kd-Qs-Td. This is a very strong hand for Omaha. Yet it doesn’t contain a single pair. How can it be that good? Because it allows for numerous hand possibilities.

– As-Qs can make the nut flush in spades, nut straight, nut royal flush, or two high pairs
– As-Kd can make a nut straight or two high pairs
– As-10d can also make a nut straight or two high pairs
– Kd-10d can make king-high flush, straight, royal flush, or two high pairs
– Kd-Qs can make an ace or king high straight, or two high pairs
– Qs-10d can make ace, king, or queen high straights, and also make two decent pairs

All of those hands could also make a full house, and depending on what’s on the board, it could be the nut full house. This is a very strong, versatile hand. You wouldn’t have all those options with the other hand.
Big Pairs Can Work

Having A-A, K-K, Q-Q isn’t as valuable in Omaha as it is in Texas Holdem. However, these can still be viable hands. Big pairs can still win. Smaller pairs are a danger in Omaha. They can lead to smaller sets that get routinely beaten by their higher-ranked counterparts. It is still advisable to have other cards that coordinate well. However, in looser played games, high pairs can win the pot.

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