Just like in Texas Hold ‘Em, you have to analyze your Omaha Poker hand, the board texture, your opponent’s bet sizing, your opponent(s) and their style of play to determine if your hand is good enough to proceed, but what happens when you make the decision to go forward. There’s no real substitute for experience, but once you’ve taken enough Omaha hands, the easier that playing the flop becomes. However, in general, you’re going to want to hit the flop hard to gain control and keep it. Let’s look at two different very playable styles of Omaha hand and how you should approach the game.
Straight Draws and Wraps
A wrap is a straight draw that offers more outs than an open ender. Open-ended straight draws have connecting cords where there are eight outs total (four on either side) but a full wrap can have as many as 20 outs available to you. That’s why big rundowns are so powerful in the game. When you make the nut straight and someone makes a smaller straight, you’re going to make a whole lot of money on the hand.
You’re holding JhTs9d7s and the flop reads 8h9s3d. This means that you have three jacks, three sevens, four sixes and four queens as your outs. That’s a total of 14 outs and every one of them builds a nut straight. Compare that to holding 7h6s5cAc on the same flop. You’ve got thirteen outs, but how many of them are the nuts. Only the three fives give you the nut straight and the rest of the time, you’re making a straight that can be beaten.
You should also be careful when you flop a wrap on a two-flush board. The presence of a flush draw massively de-values your straight draw.
A rule of thumb that has proven to be fine advice is that if you’re not drawing to the nuts, you better have something to go along with it. If you’re drawing the second nuts or even worse, you’re going to end up in a lot of trouble. Even if your opponent isn’t drawing to the nuts, you’ve got very small-implied odds. In Omaha, in fact, it’s very unlikely that you can get paid off by hands worse than a flush so you better have some strong backup if you’re not aiming high. Simply put: if you have anything and a nut-flush draw you’ve got yourself a great hand. If you’ve got a straight draw and a flush draw, you’ve got yourself a huge hand.
With straights and flushes alike, you want to keep an eye on what’s actually happening on the board as well as your hand’s possibilities. Omaha is, as we’ve said dozens of times before, a game of the nuts and you want to make sure that if you’re not holding them, that nobody else is as well.