Basic Omaha High Strategy

Omaha High is a natural step up for many players of Texas Hold ‘Em who are looking for a bit more variety in their games and you can frequently use your Omaha experiences to better information your regular game.

Obviously, you’re going to want to make sure that you understand the rules of the game first. The key difference between Omaha and Texas Hold ‘Em that you’re given four cards and each four-card hands contains six potential hold ‘em hands when they are converted to all possible combinations of two.

Here’s a simplified example: You’re holding 2s3h4d5c, so your potential two-card hands are 2s3h; 2s4d; 2s5c; 3h4d; 3h3c and 4d5c. Of course, the problem with holding those four cards is that the neophyte will tend to think that they’re playing towards a straight when they should actually get rid of a hand like that, but that’s neither here nor there.

Omaha is a game of scale and the hands in play are radically increased by the math featured above. If you are playing in a hand with five other players, it’s actually comparable to being in a Texas Hold ‘Em hand against thirty other players because each of those five competitors is holding a total of six hands. This means that Omaha is a game of the nuts, holding as close to an unbeatable hand before the flop as possible.

Many players don’t understand the basic math that goes behind Omaha and this causes them to be frustrated when they’re holding a high-end straight on the flop and suddenly there’s three suited cards on the board and you’re facing down a potential flush.

The purity of the nuts in Omaha are key to successful play in this hold ‘em variant. Two pair and trips very rarely win a hand in Omaha and you’re going to want to have the beginnings of a great hand before you go in at the flop. We’re talking high-end pairs, high-end connecting cards, and more than two suited cards so you have the potential for a straight flush.

One or two good hold ‘em hands are not a very good starting point in Omaha but most players that are new to the game find it very difficult to resist playing them. With four cards in front of them, these kinds of hands are easier to get and Omaha games normally have more players and bigger pots they’re vying for than Texas Hold ‘Em.

Those higher payoffs work to your advantage when you start with a hand that contains for cards that interact with each other to make about five or six playable hold ‘em poker hands instead of just one or two.

For reference, these are the best hold ‘em hands to look for in Omaha: high pairs (AA, KK, QQ JJ, 1010) and Ace and High Card Suited (AK, AQ, AJ and A10.) High cards that are suited are strong, as are middle pairs and two high cards that aren’t suited.

Below that, it becomes a bit fuzzy, frankly. Some believe that Ace and a suitable middle card are playable, but many players that succeed in Omaha prefer to stay more conservative with their play unless they feel they have a chance at an honest bluff.