Omaha Poker Basics

Omaha is very similar to Holdem but there are some nuances that get Holdem players into trouble when they first begin. The rules of Holdem are somewhat the same to Omaha but Omaha has some tricky rules that can really throw you off. You may constantly find yourself completely forgetting things if you’re used to Holdem.

In Texas Holdem players start off with two hole cards but in Omaha you begin with four cards. The game structure stays pretty much the same as in Holdem but there is a “Must Use 2 Rule” which means you must use 2 and only 2 of your hole cards. We will get more in depth about this rule in just a bit.

Many times have Holdem players stepped in a game thinking they knew how to play Omaha but have made themselves look like fools when they get confused with this rule. Experienced Omaha players are capitalizing on these common mistakes new players are making. They are becoming more frequent as new Holdem players venture out for different games. In fact many pros always always come away as winners at the the tables online so they’re constantly scouting out prime games. This site shows Omaha sites you can play at.

It is for this reason becoming a knowledgeable Omaha player can be so advantageous and rewarding. The basic Omaha games played are Omaha Hi-Low, Omaha Hi, and Pot Limit Omaha. No Limit Omaha is not all that popular while Pot Limit seems to be the players choice these days which is the opposite of Texas Holdem. Let’s now go through the basic Omaha poker strategy to winning.

Basic Omaha Rules

Players are dealt four hole cards. A pre-flop betting round will occur as players choose to call, bet, or fold their hands. Players to the left of the dealer must post a small and a big blind. The flop will proceed with 3 cards dealt face up on the board. Players can use a combination of these cards using their hole cards. Only two of your hole cards can be used in combination with the board. Remember you MUST use two of your hole cards.

Another betting round will occur and a fourth card will be dealt face up on the board. A third betting round will occur. The fifth and final card will be placed face up on the board. The last betting round occurs and players show their hands to reveal the best 5 cards. Two of your hole cards and 3 of the cards on the board will be used.

Four Hole Cards – Two and Only Two Played

Omaha is very different from Texas Holdem because you are dealt four hole cards but you are forced to use two of them. The basics of Omaha may seem the same as Holdem but in actuality they are very different. In Holdem you could use one, two, or none of your hole cards if you needed too. The Omaha rules say that you can not play the board because you must use two of your hole cards. This rule is the trickiest part of Omaha and gets just about every Holdem player confused when they first play.

I remember the first time I played Omaha . I thought the computer was sending the chips to the wrong person but I didn’t correctly understand this rule. Let me give you an example of exactly how this rule can fool you.

Full House Mistake

You hold A, K, J, 2 and the flop comes A, A, 4, 4, 3. Would you think you have a full house consisting of A, A, A, 4, 4? The answer is no. Most Holdem players are used to being able to play the board to make a full house. In this case you need to remember that you must use two of your hole cards. Yes you will have 3 Aces but since you have to use two of your hole cards you can not play both of the four’s on the board. Instead your best possible hand is this A,A,A,K,4 making you three of a kind but not a full house. This rule daunted me until I finally fessed up and asked the table why I kept losing will a full house to straights and flushes. Needless to say I felt like a total idiot but the mix up happens all the time when Holdem players move over to Omaha . It’s a great thing once you know what the hell you are doing. J

Flush Mistake

It is not uncommon to have four of the same suits on the board when playing Omaha or Holdem. Let’s say the board holds four diamonds. Well in Holdem you can almost guarantee that another player is holding the fifth diamond to make a flush. In Omaha the chances are much slimmer that one of your opponents has a flush. I know what you’re thinking. They have double the hole cards which means double the chances of having the fifth diamond to make a flush and you’re telling me that the chances are slimmer that they have a flush. Once again the “Must Use 2” rules come into play. In Omaha your opponent will need to have 2 hole cards containing diamonds to make that flush because they are forced to use two hole cards. Remember these four basic tips to this rule and you will be fine.

1. Using just one card from the four you hold is against the rules.

2. You can not use more than 2 cards from the four you hold.

3. When you use the board you can only use 3/5th’s of it.

4. Pay attention to the flush and full house trickiness

Playing Position in Omaha?

The position you are in is not very important in Omaha . In Holdem it is much more important. Omaha is more about how the cards fit together rather than playing position to your advantage as in Holdem. Don’t get caught up in worrying about position in Omaha . The Power Houses You will also find that in Omaha you need stronger hands to win. Since you have more hole cards you’ll find that the “Nuts” occur more often in Omaha . Some instances such as the flush and full house scenario we talked about above will actually make your hand less powerful but in most cases very big hands will often lose to the “Nuts”. It is actually common for advanced players to fold the “Nuts” at the time because they know they are drawing against the bigger “Nuts”.

Here is an example. Let’s say you flop a straight. You could assume you have the nuts because you have the biggest straight possible on the board. If you find yourself getting raised and reraised there is a possibility that another player has the straight with you, but with a bigger draw. Simply put, Omaha is a game of draws and the more “Outs” you have to improve your hand, the better your hand is. Don’t necessarily think about how big your hand is at the current time but how many possibilities you have to improve on your hand. In the example your opponent most likely has flopped the nut straight with you but also has a nut flush draw. If it pans out to be true you can only hope for a split pot. This is why good Omaha players will find themselves in big pots with nothing but a huge draw to the nuts. They realize that their hands have a good opportunity to win, but not only that it will be a draw to the best possible hand.

The Draws and Redraws

That’s the name of the game. Omaha is all about the draws and possibilities of improvement. What’s a good hand at the moment can turn to dog manure very quickly. That is why it’s always important to watch for hands where you flop a monster and you can still redraw to an even better hand. Just one more reason you should always bet your big hands hard.

In Omaha you want to make your opponents pay for any draw they are on. Bet your monsters extremely hard and force them to get lucky to beat you. If you feel you have the winner on the turn continue your forceful betting. Don’t show weakness or your opponents will continue to draw out on you. Good Omaha players use other player’s draws to their advantages and let the percentages pay them off in the long run.

Garbage Cards Can Hurt in Omaha

It’s typical that players can get sucked into playing wretched cards in Omaha . With so many possibilities to win newbie’s tend to play too many hands. Stay away from the danglers. A dangler is when you have 3 hole cards that connect and one “dangler” that doesn’t connect and is basically useless. Something like A, J, K, 7 where the 7 is considered a dangler. It is best to play hands where all the cards work together and have similar suits. Anytime you get a hand like J,J,J,8 you can basically consider this a trash hand.

Holdem players often get confused and consider this a power hand. The reason this hand is so weak is because the third Jack is useless to you because you can only use 2 hole cards. Not only that but your chances of hitting a jack on the flop to make a set is now very slim. The best hands in

Omaha are hands like Ad, As, Jd, 10s. See how they connect and work together giving you a possibility of trips, straights, and nut flushes? That is what you want.

Begin By Calculating Outs

An “Out” is a card that you can catch that will improve your hand. Outs help you determine pot odds. Ideally you want to have outs that will make you the “Nuts” or the best possible hand. In Omaha the process of calculating outs is a little more complicated because you have four hole cards. Not only that but outs can intercross and cancel each other so you need to make sure not to incorrectly count your outs.

Here’s an example of how counting your outs can trick you in Omaha . Let’s say you start the hand with As, Ks, 7h, 6h and the flop is Js, 4s, 5d. As you can see you currently have nothing but you have two monster draws to the nuts. You can play your flush draw or a straight draw. Here is how you would calculate your outs in this situation. There are nine remaining spades that you can flop to hit your flush. You may also hit a 3 or an 8 to complete your straight. This would mean you have 8 more outs to total 17 correct? Nope, you forget to take into consideration that one of the 3 or 8’s could be a spade meaning you counted twice. Because there could be one spade of each 3 or 8 you must subtract these to get the total number of outs. In this case you have 15 outs. Incorrectly counting outs is a very common mistake in Omaha.

Bluffing in Omaha

Bluffing is not a very common practice in Omaha . Experienced Omaha players understand betting patterns and thus tend to understand when to bluff. The best tip for bluffing in Omaha is to pay attention to the raises and reraises. Typically a player who is betting hard on the flop has the best hand at the time but any scare card can slow them down. Big bets are usually the only way to bluff in Omaha . There is not point in putting out a measly bet in hopes to take down a pot. Also, you will find that most bluffs occur on Fourth Street. Most players tend to bluff full houses to get players to fold their flushes.

Other popular times to bluff are when players limp in and you are on the button. A pot sized raise can tend to get players to fold. If you do get a couple callers you will be last to act after the flop giving you better position. If a lot of high cards come out on the board go ahead and fire away if no one bets before you and there is a good chance you will take down a good sized pot.

Is it Easier to Win in Omaha?

Experienced Omaha players win more consistently than in any other game. Luck is less of a factor in Omaha than in games like Holdem. This is one dynamic of

Omaha that has people saying that it will never be very popular. It involves too much skill and novice players don’t want to learn skill they want quick and lucky results. Any newbie can sit down at a Holdem table and win short term but in Omaha those types of players will get torn to shreds. This is one reason many pros have turned to Omaha . They want more consistent earnings and Omaha gives it to them.

Omaha Section: Conclusion

Omahais a great game but is not learnt over night. Have patience and the game will reward you ten folds in the future. If you are an experienced Holdem player try not to take the rules over to Omaha . Holdem players should read a book or two about Omaha before playing. The two games may seem very closely related but they are not. Subtle rules in Omaha will get you into trouble if you are not experienced. Learn pot odds and basic rules of counting outs and you will be well on your way to a consistent winning Omaha player.


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