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Starting Hands in Headsup Omaha

5 September 2008, By:
Heads-up poker is becoming more and more popular as online poker rooms make heads-up play just a click of the mouse away. Live casinos do not spread heads-up poker, since it is not a good use of a dealer or a table to service just two players, but online poker rooms have no such problems.

Although the game most commonly played heads-up is hold'em, it is possible to play any game heads-up, including Omaha. Players in Omaha tournaments may also find themselves heads-up if they get to the end. If they do, it will be important to know which starting hands to play.

Starting Hands to Play in Heads-Up Omaha

The answer is, with one notable exception, all hands are good starting hands. While this may be counter-intuitive to some Omaha players, it's true. Full ring Omaha is characterized by tight hand selection. With most of the deck in the hands of the players, a good Omaha player will require a potent four-card combination to play.

He wants four cards that work together to give him multiple best hand possibilities.

In heads-up Omaha, it is a different story. You are facing only one opponent who has at best six distinct hands. There are very few hands in Omaha that are big favorites over any other hand. Other than the exception, which will be mentioned shortly, there is no hand the dealer can give you that doesn't give you at least a straight possibility, and a straight can certainly be enough to win an Omaha hand heads-up.

Starting Hands Not to Play in Heads-Up Omaha

The only hands you do not want to play in heads-up Omaha are hands with three of a kind or quads,which may sound weird for an old Texas holdem player.

Since you can only use two cards in your hand, a third of the same rank is not only useless, rendering your hand a three-card Omaha hand, it means that card cannot appear on the board, making it impossible for you to make a set with that card. Hands like 7d 7c 7h Kd can be thrown away in heads-up Omaha.

While they are not as bad, you may also want to throw away hands with four of the same suit, such as 2s 8s 9s 4s. The same principle applies. Two of the spades you need to make your flush are now unavailable to you, and the extra spades do not help your hand.

However, even a hand like this is better than a hand containing three of a kind.

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