Omaha Poker Basics: Before The Flop

What to do when you’ve got a good starting hand, along with other hands that may have potential but aren’t quite there yet before the flop.

One of the things that you have to be aware of in Omaha poker games is that no matter what hand you’ve been dealt, an opponent is almost always going to have a decent chance of beating you. This is something you need to keep in mind, especially as the better Omaha poker players know it and will use that knowledge to be a bit more unpredictable. If you never raise before the flop, you don’t establish yourself well enough to make the other limping players pay enough to see the cards when you’re holding a stronger hand. Also, you’re not going to be picking up as many pots, period.

By opening up a bit with a variety of hands pre-flop, you’ll gain multiple advantages, the first being the aforementioned unpredictability. You’ll also pick up more pots through sheer attrition on the part of other players and you’re likely to obtain more chances to bluff. Plus, heck, it’s more fun to play when there’s more psychology in your game, and fun it something that every poker game should be.

Now, what hands should you raise with? The 30 hands that we mentioned last week are all perfect for raising, particularly when there’s at least one suit and actually most of the time when they’re off–suit. If you get a hand that’s a suited set like AKXX with at least one card that’s ten or higher? Raise. Five or higher and they’re four-in-a-row, double suited? Raise.

Rise with any and all double-suited connected hands hat feature five or higher but only if there’s a maximum gape of one card between he top two and the two low cards or between the low card and the three high cards. An example is KQT9 double suited or something like T986, again double-suited.

Now you’ll want to limp in with weaker hands that are still playable: AQXX with one of the X cards being suited with a ten, especially if it’s ten or higher; any four-in-a-row combination that’s four or higher (5678, for instance); AXXX with two connected cards among the Xs and the ace being suited; and, like the raise list, any four-in-a-row combination that’s five or higher with a maximum of one gap between the top and bottom three cards in the hand.

As you can tell, it’s not quite as simple to get started with Omaha poker and its hand strategy, but once you learn your way around the basics, you can start to build a solid strategy that works for you.