What to Expect When You’re Playing Omaha

A lot of Texas hold ’em players sit down at the Omaha tables expecting that the game is going to be basically the same; that couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, there are similarities in how the basic mechanics work, but there are strategies that work well in Texas Hold ‘Em that are basically unworkable in Omaha and vice versa. Let’s look at some of the mental adjustments you’ll have to make.

Play Fewer Hands Better
Despite the fact that novices frequently think that any hand is playable in Omaha (because they get to pick two out of the four in their own hand and three from the board,) the best strategy for any player who’s new to Omaha to remember is that they should play fewer, stronger hands much better. Yes, this means you’ll have to wait for longer stretches between hands, but the small differences that happen after the flop in Texas Hold ‘Em become big differences in Omaha. Wait for the best hands and play them as well as you can. The nuts win most hands in Omaha and if you’re not holding them, then you need to be very careful about how much you commit.

Bet Big When You Bet
In PLO, getting all of your playable chips in before the flop is frequently a pretty great idea. No, you shouldn’t do this from an early position, but if you’ve got a powerful hand that offers a good “wrap” and has some strong cards on its own (such as AA), use your judgment and work to steal the blinds or, better yet, shake down the other players who limped their way in.

Position Is Even More Important
Yes, you’re got it drilled into your head that position is important in Texas Hold ‘Em, but if you’re playing Omaha your absolute best opportunities will happen when you’re in middle or late position and you can take down the main aggressor from there. In fact, strategists have found that position can make a less powerful hand stronger and more profitable when you bet correctly. Yes, you’ll have to be a good player, but once you see how you can exploit others from position, you can run the table.

Out of Position? Don’t Think About That Big Bet
The inverse of the above is pulling back from putting most or all of your chips if you’re not in position. Bad positions can give you the chance to tackle small pots or play small bluffs, but don’t take your spot just after the big blind and try to take down a multi-way pot unless you are holding the absolute best hand possible.

Omaha is a great change of pace for Texas Hold ‘Em players, but they have to be aware of the differences and be willing to work with them to make any money playing the game. If you’re thinking about making the switch, make sure you play quite a few hands with these factors in mind before the leap over.