Top 10 Omaha Tips
The simple difference between Omaha and Hold'em is that Omaha has four hole cards instead of two, and the game is played with five community cards as in HE. However, to master the game you'll need a few more weapons in your arsenal if you are going to take down the games online.
Here we list a handy Top 10 to get your Omaha journey off to the best possible start.
1 Four Cards, Not Two
The most common mistake new Omaha players make (especially those coming from Hold'em) is that Omaha is played with four cards instead of two. And in Omaha, you have to use two of your hole cards. That means you're constantly evaluating how each of your four pairs in the hole is faring throughout a hand.
2 Starting Hand Selection
Starting hands in Omaha are quite different to those in Texas Hold'em. While holding K-K-Q-Q might look great at first glance, they won't win you many hands where straights, flushes and full houses are so dominant.
In a game of Omaha Hi (where the highest, or best, hand wins) you should be looking at hands which are double-suited or connect in some way. Therefore, Ac-Ad-Kc-Kd double-suited, Ah-Ac-Jh-10c double-suited, and Ad-As-Qd-Qs double-suited are solid opening hands.
"Wrap-around" hands like 7-8-9-10 are good too as they have the potential to make straights on the board. If it's double-suited, eg 7d-8c-9c-10d, even better. You have the chance to go for flushes and straight flushes.
In Hi-Lo, where half the pot is won by the highest hand and half the lowest hand (if qualifying), you need to look at hands like A-A-2-3 or A-A-3-4 which have potential for bagging both pots.
Read our Omaha Strategy page for a more thorough examination of starting hands and check our 'Cheat Sheet' on this page.
3 Learn Pot Limit Betting
A lot of Omaha games are played Pot Limit, and that can throw some players used to the easy No Limit structure of common Texas Hold'em games.
Pot Limit Omaha (PLO) betting means your maximum raise is the amount of the pot that's currently in the middle plus bets. So, that "pot" would be the total of the cash in the middle plus your opponent's bet, plus your call. If the pot stands at , and your opponent bets , you would call for , making a total pot of . Your maximum raise, then, is .
4 Kick Off With Micro-stakes
Like all forms of poker online, good sites will offer games starting at very low stakes. Make use of them: the low, or micro-stakes, levels are perfect for getting used to the minutiae of Omaha.
5 Ration Your Hands
While it's tempting to play a lot of hands in Omaha, it's good practise to be choosy about what you hold onto and what you toss away. Even if your marginal hand connects with the flop, you're far more likely to be outdrawn by opponents with an even better hand.
6 Watch the Board
Not only do you need to work out how your four cards help you on a flop, you need to assess how well they could have helped your opponent. Could your straight draw be beaten by a flush if you make the hand, and how likely is someone to have flopped a full house if they held a pair pre-flop? Putting opponents on a range of hands is vital in Omaha.
7 Be Wary of Redraws
Most Omaha hands are lost on opponents redrawing cards on the turn and river and beating you. To combat that, you need to be redrawing to the nuts or "near nuts" on each street. Redrawing is basically improving your made, good hand, into an even better one.
A lot of hands in Omaha are won with the best possible hand out there and Omaha is essentially a game of redraws, where good hands are constantly outdrawn by the turn of a card.
Be wary and don't forget that folding when you know you're beat is a sign of a good player. Great players can fold the nuts in Omaha if they feel they're going to get beaten later on in the hand. Bluffing? Leave it for the Hold'em players.
8 Move On To Hi-Lo When Comfortable
While Omaha Hi (the highest hand wins) is widely available online, a lot of cash game and tournament action is played at Omaha Hi-Lo.
Still played Pot Limit, Hi-Lo features two possible pots to be won: half the pot for the highest hand and half the pot for the lowest qualifying hand. For a low hand to qualify, the five cards held at showdown must be of 8 or lower.
While many pots therefore get split (one player winning the High with another the low) the aim is to assess whether your hand has a chance of winning BOTH pots. You can read more about Hi-Lo strategy on our dedicated strategy pages.
9 Employ Sensible Bankroll Management
Omaha is no different to any other poker variant in that you need a good approach to your bankroll when playing for money.
Save a small proportion of your bankroll (say, 2 percent) when sitting down at a cash game and always buy in for the maximum.
Omaha can be a game of big swings, so make sure you have the money to withstand the variance.
10 Don't Jump Up The Levels Too Fast
While it's true that a lot of the lower-stakes players at Omaha tables online are casual players who may have come over from Texas Hold'em, further up the story is very different.
Mid-high stakes Omaha players know what they're doing, so make sure you get plenty of hands in at the lower levels before making the leap. You need to regularly be crushing lower-stakes Omaha games before moving up.
(all hands are double-suited)
Plus playable hands like: