Omaha Poker Strategy

A winning Omaha Poker Strategy is very different from a Texas Hold’em poker strategy. The two most distinct variables are that you have 4 Hole Cards, not just two, and that most players will go on to see the Flop rather than Folding. Because of this, it takes an extreme level of discipline and patience to play a solid Omaha Poker strategy.

If you consider yourself to be an excellent Texas Hold’em play, don’t let that perception affect your Omaha Poker play. Omaha Poker has strict rules regarding hand development, requiring exactly 2 Hole Cards and 3 Community Cards to make up your final 5-card poker hand, where Texas Hold’em has no combination restrictions.

In this Omaha Poker strategy, we’re going to focus on the basics; the most important things one should consider. These include Starting Hands, Determining the Nuts and Avoiding Common Poker Mistakes.

Omaha Poker Strategy – Starting Hands

When you have a good number of people at the table, you have to consider that each of these players has 4 Hole Cards to work from. If you do not have an amazing Starting Hand, chances are someone else does. Without a good Starting Hand, you simply must Fold, period. It takes a lot of discipline to Fold continuously, but a winning Omaha Poker strategy requires it. Patience is an absolute must.

The following hands are considered to be good Starting Hands in Omaha.

Any 2 Pair: AA-KK being best

High Double Suited Hand: Any hand with two pairs of suits, such as 2 Spades, 2 Clubs, with at least two high cards (A-K, K-Q).

Running Connectors: Any hand with cards in sequence, running from 6 or higher (i.e. 6-7-8-9 to J-Q-K-A)

A-A-x-x (x=any other card)
K-K+J-T (or higher)
Q-Q+J-9 (or higher)

Omaha Poker Strategy – The Nuts

Once the Flop comes down, the first thing any good poker strategist should be able to do is determine the ‘Nuts’. The ‘Nuts’ is the highest possible hand, according to the Community Cards available.

For example, if the Flop comes down Ks-Jd-9d, the Nuts would be a King-High Straight. If all three cards are suited (i.e. all Spades), the Nuts would be an Ace High Flush.

Another example: With the Flop 8d-8h-4c, the Nuts becomes a Full House, 8’s over 4’s. Any player with an 8-4 in the Hole will have it.

With 4 Hole Cards, it becomes much easier for players to hit the Nuts. This means your poker strategy must be to play for the Nuts. If you don’t have the Nuts, or even a Nut-Draw hand, there’s simply no reason to keep funneling chips into a losing pot.

Omaha Poker Strategy – Common Mistakes

There are a few very common mistakes made in Omaha Poker. These are mistakes that should be avoided at all cost, as they flip your profit potential to a likely loss. As your Omaha Poker strategy develops, you’ll be able to see and avoid these mistakes more easily.

Playing to Second Best: The first most common mistake in Omaha Poker is playing to Second Best. We mentioned the importance of the Nuts above, and this is where so many inexperienced Omaha Poker players lose their chips. If the Nuts are an Ace High Flush, where the Ace is not on the board, and you have a Queen-High Flush, betting on it would be playing to the Second Best hand. Unless you’re playing heads-up, a good Omaha Poker strategy will never bet on Second Best.

Patience and Discipline: Every poker player will run into a string of bad hands. It could last quite some time; one or several hours even. The key to a winning poker strategy is to remain calm and patiently wait for the right hand to come along. So many players lose everything simply because they get bored. Any serious poker player who truly desires to play to win, not just for entertainment value, can develop the necessary patience and discipline.

Mistaking Quality Hands: This is another aspect where Texas Hold’em and Omaha Poker differ so much. In Texas Hold’em strategy, a quality hand could be a Set of 5s and you can sometimes play for abandoned pots with your 5's. In Omaha Poker, a Set of 5s will lose most every hand. You must be careful not to mistake a poor hand for a winner. Omaha Poker is most often won by at least a Straight, if not a Flush or Full House. Two-Pair and Sets are virtually worthless.