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Important Omaha poker concepts - learn to beat this up and coming game

10 April 2008, By:
On a superficial level Omaha and holdem seems like to very similar games, but looks are deceiving. If you are new to the game of Omaha there are several pitfalls you need to avoid in order to increase your chances to beat the game.

Starting hands

The difference between Omaha and holdem is that you are dealt four hole cards instead of two. And you have to use two of them together with three of the board cards to make the best possible five card poker hand. Many players think that the fact that you have more cards in your hand means that you should play more hands. But actually the opposite is true.

In a good Omaha hand all four cards work together, which off course is rarer than for two cards to work together. With four cards you have you have six different two card combinations. But a hand with three of those cards four cards working together only has three playable two card combinations. Lesser hands have even fewer playable combinations. That's why it is so important that the whole hand connects.

There are off course some instances where "three card hands" are playable, but you should still play far less hands in general in Omaha than in holdem.


To play more speculative hands you need position. The importance of position cannot be stressed enough in Omaha, especially pot limit Omaha, which is the most widespread form. With a good position you have more control over the hand and most importantly you have better control over the pot.

Playing speculative hands in early position can be devastating in Omaha. You lack information on your opponents' actions and have little control over the pot. This means that you often risk your hard earned money with very limited information.

In late position you have a lot more control. Say you have a strong draw on the button in a pot limit game. There is $40 in the pot, a player in early position bets the pot and another call the $40. You can now choose to (fold) just call or raise to as much as $160, depending on of your read of the situation. This gives you a lot of control over the size of the pot. Position is, if possible, even more important in Omaha than in Texas holdem.

A drawing game

Omaha can be one of the most stressful games of poker - it's a game of draws. You will often commit lots of chips in the pot without a made hand. This can be hard to get used to at first, but it's an important part of the game. You will often find yourself in situations where you have something like 16 outs to win the hand on the flop, but with nothing to show for it yet. Still, you are a favorite against most hands and often have the odds to risk a large part or all of your chips in situations like this.

In Omaha you will often find yourself letting your money ride on the cards to come. This can be stressful, but if you can handle the swings and play the odds you have the chance to turn a very nice profit. The number of bad Omaha players online is almost infinite.

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