Omaha: A Game of Draws

Texas Hold ‘Em players who are used to no-limit games may wonder why Omaha is so rarely played using the same structure. This is because draws are much more powerful in Omaha poker and very little poker would actually be played if players were scrambling to beat each other before the flop hits. Instead, Omaha is played using either a fixed-limit or pot-limit structure, and it’s important to know what you are in for when moving from the fixed-limit to the pot-limit variety of the game.

Draws and Made Hands in FLO Games
In fixed-limit Omaha, it is pretty much always a good idea to draw cards if you are drawing to the nuts. The pots often get very large relative to the cost of a bet, so your pot odds are high. The flip side of this is, unfortunately, that it may not be correct to bet if you have already made your hand, operating under the assumption that you can’t improve.

For example, let’s say you have 33TT and the flop comes 3AA. It’s likely that you have the best hand now, but those other two aces are likely to be in the hands of your opponents and unless they’re completely neurotic, they are unlikely to fold for a single bet. That means if any card comes that matches any of the other three cards in either of those hands, then you’re going to lose. It may not be worthwhile to put in a bet here and you may even want to consider folding when facing a bet.

Draws and Made Hands in PLO Games
In pot limit Omaha, the situation is very different. If you can afford to make a pot-sized bet in a situation like the one described, it may be possible to get the field down to just you and one of the other aces. If one of the aces bets in front of you and you double the pot, or if you bet the pot and one of the aces comes over you, the other ace may assume that someone already has A3 (which isn’t likely since you hold two of them, but they don’t know that) and fold, making you the favorite in the hand.

Alternatively, if someone makes a pot-sized bet and is called or raised before you have a chance to act, you may choose to fold since both aces may now be committed.

Approaching draws strategically is key to a good Omaha poker player’s game. You have to be situationally aware and able to size up your opponents needs and wants from the board even as you yourself are trying to do the same.