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Omaha Poker Strategy

By Gary Steele

Omaha is a less popular, and slightly more frustrating, version of Hold’Em, but if you like a game with wild swings and loose play, Omaha may be the game for you. In Omaha every player is dealt 4 cards. Otherwise the game flows exactly the same as Hold’Em. Any two of the four cards dealt to the player may be used in conjunction with the five community cards to make the best hand to see who wins. Full houses and flushes are much more common in Omaha than they are in Hold’Em.

Omaha is a game of experience. You have to play a lot of hands to figure out which hands win and lose. It is not uncommon for the best hand to be out there somewhere like it is in Hold’Em so you have to be able to figure out what the best hand (the nuts) are at any moment. I have found it is a fairly easy game to win online at low limits because players are generally terrible. Players like to look at the flop and will generally pay whatever it takes pre-flop to see it. If you play conservatively and raise before the flop you can start winning fairly quickly.

Generally you want to win a lot of moderate pots using your skills in betting and patience, while avoiding the really large losses you will frequently see. If you have a good hand, but it is not the best hand possible, you must think about folding when the pot odds are not there for you. Locating the really bad players is not hard to do. Usually you can simply look for the tables with the highest average amount per hand and take a seat. They will become obvious within one trip around the table.

Being able to calculate odds is more important in Omaha than it is in Hold’Em. Typically in Omaha though you are calculating your opponent’s odds of beating you, not always your odds of getting the card you need. If you are holding the Ace high flush with no pairs on the board and your opponent is staying in, they are probably looking for the Full House. Being able to calculate their chances of pairing the board, and understanding that it will occasionally happen, is important to your betting strategy. If you can calculate the odds you have a huge advantage on the other players in the game.

When you have a good hand on the Flop in Omaha you have to get as many other players out as you can. There are simply too many cards out there to give players with bad draws a chance to stay in and see the last two cards. This is where your betting strategy and experience in Omaha will serve you well. Bet enough to make it unprofitable for gutshot straights to stay in the hand. You will be surprised how often they call these bets anyway, but that is simply money in your account over the long run.

When playing Omaha properly you have to realize there will be a lot of plain and stupid luck for the bad players. Many good players cannot handle these wild swings and go back to playing a more predictable game. This is just the way the game is. You cannot avoid this bad luck, but you can assure that you win more than you lose by playing conservatively and mastering strategy basics such as odds calculation. If you are interested in a game that is a lot of fun to play and watch, Omaha might be just what you are looking for.

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