Omaha Poker: Two Pair Don’t Make A Win

One of the first things every new Pot Limit Omaha player needs to understand is that they cannot relate their hold ’em play to PLO and expect to make any money at the table. Omaha is, as I’ve stated again and again, a game of the nuts and larger hands are much more common in that game. Players who don’t realize that there’s a huge disparity there are going to be forced to hand over their chipstack.

Here’s an example: in Texas Hold ‘Em, the odds of flopping two pair are 2.02%; the odds of hitting two pair are over 10% – that means you’re five times as likely to get that hand. Two pair, by becoming more common, becomes much less valuable in play. Most new players who’ve not sharpened their math and probability skills think that twice as many cards means twice the chances, which isn’t the case.

If you have nine players at a table in Hold ‘Em, there is an 18% chance of someone having flopped two pair overall (2% per person times nine people.) If you hit two pair on the flop, the chances of someone having flopped better than you are actually fairly small. With the number of cards in play in Omaha however, the chance of one of the nine players in a PLO game hitting two pair on the flop jump to just over 90%.

Want to see that the phenomenon in person? Take a deck of cards and deal none Omaha poker hands face up. Burn a card and deal a flop. Take a moment to look at how many players connect on the flop. You’ll see two pairs, sets, straights, flushes and a number of draws. Shuffle the deck and do it again.

Now, consider that in a typical Omaha poker game, you’re going to have more players seeing the flop than you do in other forms of poker. The more thanes that you have on the flop, the better the chances of another player connecting with what has fallen and beating that two pair you’re so impressed with.

All of these factors mean that a new Omaha poker player willing to spend the time to learn probabilities is going to understand exactly when and wear to push and when to walk away. Omaha hands are more vulnerable than most players are going to be willing to admit and getting to understand the way that a strong hand from Hold ‘Em can buckle immediately in Omaha is probably the single best thing you can do to make the transition from one to the other painless.