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Omaha

OMAHA STRATEGY (ALSO CALLED OMAHA HOLD’EM, OMAHA HIGH-LOW SPLIT AND OMAHA 8)

Many of the strategies used in Texas Hold’em apply to Omaha as well. Like Hold’em, you need to see the flop first before you can decide what action to take and you need to develop a list of hands that you’ll play. There are some hands, however, that aren’t worth playing and should be folded immediately.

In Omaha, you have to use three of the five community cards and two of your four hole cards to make your five-card hand. This limitation can make seemingly-strong hands weaker, such as having four of a kind as your hole cards (the worst hand you can be dealt) since you can only use two cards, making your best hand a pair. To make matters worse, you know you can’t improve your pair to a three of a kind or a four of a kind as you have the other two cards (that you can’t use) and you know they won’t show up on the flop. The best you can hope for is another pair on the flop, or even better, a three of a kind, which would give you a full house. Generally, if you have a low four of a kind, you should fold.

Being dealt a three of a kind is only a little bit less troubling since there’s a possibility the fourth card will show up on the flop, giving you a three of a kind (your two hole cards plus a card from the flop). Stay in if your hole card pair is high; fold if it isn’t.

Only go for a flush if you have two cards of the same suit in your hole cards and no more if you have three or four cards of the same suit in your hole cards, don’t bet. Because the extra card or two of the same suit are already in your hand, you know they’re not going to show up on the flop and this greatly reduces the likelihood there will be three cards of your suit being dealt on the flop. If you only have two cards of the same suit and they’re high, the hand is worth playing.
Positional Advantage all Omaha variants
Unlike Stud games, your position relative the dealer is always the same: either early, middle, or late. Early position is the least desirable as you must bet first without any information on the hands of your opponents based on their bets. Play only good hands in early position. Middle position is neither good nor bad.
Late position is the person with the dealer button and one or two people to their right (depending on how many people are playing). This is the best position as you bet last and have the most information on the strengths of your opponents’ hands. Also, you can bet with a weaker hand if players before you checked.

Tips for Omaha High-low Eight or Better

Having a selective list of starting hands you will play is integral to success at this game. This is especially important in Omaha High-low when you have two pots to go after (high and low and ideally, both): this increases the number of players interested in the pot and the number of extra hole cards, which all contribute to a wide range of possible hands. The betting can be intense in a situation like this, so it is best to play tight and keep to your list of starting hands.

A starting hand with two very low cards is good, especially an Ace and a 2 card if the flop has three low cards (at least 8 or lower) since you have a possible winning low hand with two more rounds of betting left. Skilled players only play starting hands that have a chance of ‘scooping’ the pot that is, to win both the high and low pot.

If there are three low cards (8 or lower) on the table, there is a good chance that at least one player is going for the low pot, which instantly halves the pot for everyone else going for a high. If only one or two low cards are among the community cards, it is impossible for players to form a low hand, so everyone left in the game is going for high. It is important to keep that in mind when betting.

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Excellent hands for Omaha High-low
These hands are so strong, you can play them in any position even early! You can go ahead and raise with these hands, but it’s best to do any major raising in late position so you don’t scare off too many people (remember, you need some people to stay in the game to contribute money to your pot), and more importantly, raising in late position doesn’t give away the value of your hand since it’s not uncommon to raise with average hands in that position. Here are the strongest hole cards:
Ace-2-3-4 (If the Ace is the same suit as one of the other cards.) This hand has the potential to make a wheel (A-2-3-4-5), which is the best low hand available. It can also make a straight or high hand (the Ace can be high or low).
Ace-Ace-2-3 If one of the Aces is of the same suit as the 2 or 3, you can make a nut flush, a wheel and a three of a kind with Aces (should another Ace show up on the flop). Having an Ace in your flush automatically gives you the nut flush since there are no other cards higher than the Ace.
Ace-King-2-3 If the Ace and/or King are of the same suit as either the 2 or 3, you can make several high hands and a wheel.

Ace-King-2-5 If the Ace is of the same suit as the 2 or 5, you can make a wheel, a nut flush and a nut straight by using the Ace and King.

Ace-Queen-2-4 Like the hand above, this hand can make a wheel or nut flush (but not a nut straight).

Ace-Jack-2-3 Just like the hand above; it can make a wheel or nut flush (but not a nut straight).

Ace-2-3-X (The X represents any card 9 or higher.) If the Ace is the same suit as any one of the other cards, you can make a nut flush. You can also make a wheel.

Strong hands for Omaha High-low

These hands aren’t as strong as the ones above, but they can still be played from all positions. However, it is definitely not recommended to raise in early position. If you’re in middle or late position, you can raise if nobody else has raised yet, but they don’t necessarily merit another raise is somebody else has raised already.

Ace-2 and any pair The Ace and 2-card should be suited. You can possibly make a nut flush, a full house or a three of a kind.

Ace-2 with a 6-7 or 7-8 If the Ace is suited with one of the other cards, you can get a nut flush. You can also possibly make a wheel and nut low.

Ace-3-X-X If there’s a 2 in the community cards, you stand the chance of making a wheel. If the Ace is same suit as one other hole card, you can make a nut flush.

2-3 with two low cards (8 or below) If there’s an Ace in the community cards, you may have the nut low. If there isn’t an Ace on the board, you need to be cautious.

Ace-King (suited) or King-Queen (suited) or King-Jack (suited) With the Ace-King hand, you can get a full house, nut flush or straight. With the other two hands, you can make a full house, and if an Ace shows up in the flop, you can potentially make a nut flush or straight.

Ace-King-Queen-Jack, Ace-King-Queen-10, Ace-King-Jack-10 and Ace-Queen-Jack-10 If the Ace is suited with one other of your hole cards, you stand a chance of making a nut straight or a flush.

Borderline Omaha hands

Only use these hands in late position and only if the pot has not been raised or has been raised once. If the pot has been raised twice, fold these hands aren’t strong enough to stay in the game.

King with three wheel cards (and the King is the same suit as one of the cards) The best hole cards in this scenario are King-2-3-4, followed by King-2-4-5. Unless the Ace is on the board, you might have the second-best flush. If the Ace isn’t on the board, your low isn’t very strong.

A big pair (for example, King-King) with other high cards (such as Queen-Jack and Queen-10), where the King is suited with one other card This is only a high hand and isn’t very valuable.

Four low cards, but without an Ace or 2-3 (For example, 3-4-5-7.)  Because this hand doesn’t have an Ace or 2, it’s not a particularly strong low hand. If an Ace shows up on the board, it’s worth staying in the game (again, in late position only).

One of the challenges of Omaha Hold’em is identifying your best hand when you get your cards even professional casino dealers sometimes take a moment to identify the winning hand. The best way for you to improve you ability to immediately see your best hand is by getting practice in playing online. There are plenty of sites with free Omaha tables where you can play and learn without losing your money. We recommend Poker Stars and Full Tilt Poker both have 24-hour live support, which is great if you’re starting online poker for the first time and might have some questions.

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