We’ve often discussed how Omaha poker is a game of the nuts and that it’s a game where more players see more cards than the others. Your hand that starts off wonderfully can get derailed quickly after the flop and draws dominate the action. To be very successful at Omaha, you have to understand what you hold and how it interacts with the board. For instance: unless you’re holding an absolute monster, you really don’t want to see any type of connected, suited card hit the board because it means that you’re likely outdrawn.
Starting hand selection is important, but knowing when to punch out and wait for the next hand is what separates Omaha winners from the players who consistently contribute to pots they don’t win. Just as important is the fact that you should know when to raise or re-raise. Because of the volatile nature of Omaha, you have to be aggressive in order to reduce the number of players that are going to potentially outdraw you.
Preflop in Omaha works very much like it does in Hold ‘Em. Raise with your strong hands, try to see a cheap flop with a hand that has drawing potential, and just fold your rags. Aggression works well before the flop simply because your opponents will not want to put in additional chips to see the cards. It helps that everyone thinks along the same lines and they want to get in cheap while holding speculative hands. You do have to keep your aggression in check, though — don’t raise against a calling station and don’t water down your image!
It’s important to remember that your opponents are much more likely to have a good, playable hand than they would in Texas Hold ‘Em, but unless they’re holding the nuts, they’re probably just as worried about your hand! Aggression helps bolster their concerns and cause them to wonder if their hands are actually good enough to continue playing with. Pay attention to what the other players do because their actions will give away what they’re holding. If they’re drawing in a manner similar to you, they’ll likely avoid going too hard, but they’ll definitely push back.
If you’ve got a big hand, protect it by being aggressive. If someone checks to you, respond with a bet and take control of the action. The most important thing to remember is that the more cords that hit the felt, the more scrutiny you will have to give your hand and those of your opponents. Don’t throw good money after bad, but don’t be afraid to use your chip stack to extract information and money from your opposition.