Here are some Omaha poker tips to help you win more often at Omaha poker.
Because you are dealt four cards instead of just two, the range of starting hands available to you and your opponents is much larger. That means you have to be more selective with what hands you play in Omaha than in Texas holdem or other holdem games with a smaller number of hole cards. In Omaha, If you were to play what appears to be a good starting hand in Texas holdem you’ll lose money FAST.
In Omaha, position is king. This is true for most poker games, though it is even more true in Omaha. Being in position to control the pot size is vital to success in Omaha. You need to play as few hands as possible from a bad position in Omaha just like in Texas holdem—every seat you are closer to the button you should open up your range of acceptable hands.
Some of the most profitable cards in Omaha are the so called Broadway cards--aces, kings, queens, jacks, and tens. These cards can be built into a Broadway, or ace-high straight. Also important are Ax suited hands. Like in any poker game, you want the nuts, but you’ll need to pay more attention to suited card hands of any value in Omaha.
In Texas holdem, much attention is paid to connecting straight draw cards, but in Omaha these hands lose value thanks to the higher likelihood of flush draws. With four hole cards in Omaha, you should be looking to collect suited cards as often as connecting straight draws.
The value of pairs in Omaha is negligible. If you’re playing in a full ring or even at a table with five other players, the likelihood of winning with a straight pair is practically nothing. The same applies to two pair hands—going all in with two pairs is a losing venture in Omaha again due to the wider range of hands available from a larger pool of cards. There will be situations in which going all in with a couple of pairs is worthwhile, but stick to the general rule that pairs and two pair hands are worthless.
Play any amount of Omaha and you’ll hear the word dangler. A dangler is any card in a hand of Omaha which has a low value and isn’t relevant to the hand you’re trying to build. For an example, if you’re holding the hole cards K-Q-J-2, the 2 would be your dangler card.
The dangerous part about danglers is that they seem to be no big deal. The truth is that danglers reduce the value of a hand. Imagine if everyone else at the table had four hole cards and you only had three—that’s what having a dangler in your hand is like.
Because of a smaller total pool of online and casino Omaha players, the competition you find at different stakes is different from the level of competition with Texas holdem. It can be hard to find Omaha in a casino, but lots of online poker sites offer the game thanks to a growing demand.
Because the level of play in Omaha is so much lower, you can actually sit back when in position and wait for players to get sloppy. Waiting for other players to give up on their hand and open the door for you to steal the pot is a valid strategy, especially in online Omaha at midstakes. Watch for players who regularly give up or just start playing sloppy and use them to increase your winnings.
But what is an Omaha player to do out of position? Your range of playable hands should shrink in accordance with your distance from the button, becoming especially small when you play from the blinds. Whereas in Texas holdem, you may want to play with a mid gaper hand (5 and 8 of hearts, for instance) or a mid pocket pair, in Omaha you can safely get rid of these hands without feeling like you’ve thrown away a potential win.
The most popular Omaha games at most online poker sites are midstakes, and rest assured that most of the players at this level are playing straightforward poker. Midstakes Omaha players are looking to take down recent converts to midstakes who over adjust their game. It may be time to move up to midstakes when you are regularly winning at small stakes pot limit Omaha—be sure not to make too many adjustments to your game, as the level of competition doesn’t increase as much as it does with midstakes Texas holdem.
The single biggest mistake that Omaha players seem to make at midstakes is to overplay pairs, especially paired kings. Paired kings can be a decent hand in Omaha, but if you are out of position or are three bet, you should be comfortable laying that hand down. Notice again how important position is to Omaha strategy. The only time you can safely play K-K is when you are setup with good blockers.
The best time to get tough playing Omaha is post flop, especially when you’re above small stakes games. Omaha players are much easier to bluff or intimidate on the turn and river in midstakes or high stakes games. Weak players or players new to midstakes or high stakes games often fold at the slightest sign of aggression, and if they stay in the game, they’re so nervous they tend to make mistakes.
Because players have more hole cards, drawing to the nuts is even less certain than in Texas holdem. What’s a player to do when they don’t have the nuts?
In Omaha, you should always fold your hand if you are unsure about whether you should continue without draws to the nut hand. Hand strengths in Omaha need to be really high, and hands like a low to mid straight or even some lower value flushes are essentially of no value to the Omaha player.
Before you give up and fold, think about the range of hands your opponent is holding, and what kind of player they’ve proven to be so far. Early in the game, before you know their playing style, you can safely fold, but after you become familiar with a player, you may consider pushing through what might otherwise be a weak hand.
If you’re playing online Omaha, your note taking skills are put to the test. Because of the more narrow range of acceptable hands, your notes should be detailed and sufficient to keep track of a player’s style. This makes Omaha more of a cerebral game than Texas holdem.
Omaha players use what is called the “min bet” as a trick to draw other players out. These small bets are little more than checks, an attempt to get you to fold your hand or show your weakness. Decide before the game starts how small of a bet you’re willing to live with, basically taking away this strategy.
In Omaha, if you’re in good position with a hand that can draw to the nuts, don’t be afraid to call. This tactic doesn’t work well in Texas holdem, but in Omaha it is a good one. You may read or hear people say that in Omaha the only way to make a move is with a three bet or a raise, but sometimes the best possible move is to call.
If you have a marginal hand or a hand that isn’t necessarily drawing to the nuts, why would you want to raise and risk more of your bankroll? If your raise is met with more noise from your opponents, you’re digging an even deeper hole for yourself.
Poker players who like lots of action and plenty of high ranking hands should look into Omaha. The game requires lots of betting skill and card discipline, but for players who find the perfect balance, Omaha can be one of the more profitable poker games. People who have learned this optimum balance say they make more money playing Omaha than any other poker variant.
This page about Omaha poker tips was last updated on May 28, 2011.