Omaha - Strategy

In this article about strategies, the focus will rest on Omaha High, not Omaha Hi/Lo. However, many of the strategies that are explained here are working in both variants.

Starting hands - the importance of coordination

In Omaha, you will be given four cards that should be matched against another five, which are as much as nine cards. In spite of this fact, you cannot see your hole cards as some abundance. If two of the cards are good, it isn’t enough to make it a first-class hand.

There’s exceptions, but remember the general rule that all the cards together should form a well coordinated hand before it’s suitable to play. How good is, for example, this hand: A♥A♣4♦7♠? There’s to aces, but not much more. Such a hand is very limited in aspect of development, and a pair of aces will seldom be enough to win a hand in Omaha. The nearest possibility for this hand is that another ace hit and making a set. In Omaha trips often lose and the chances for a straight are almost non-existing, and a flush cannot be made (see Omaha rules).

The conclusion is that you shouldn’t overestimate hands that contains strong parts, but doesn’t form a strong unity.

So let us instead look at this hand: A♥A♣J♥T♣. This hand contains two aces and besides that a lot more. Except the possibility of a set it also exists chances for the highest possible straight (T-A) plus two possibilities for the nut flush (hearts and clubs).

What you wish for are starting hands that either includes two pairs or offer many possibilities to make a straight or a flush or a combination of these. However, you should be cautious with low pairs and low straight- and flush draws. With a low pair you can lose against higher trips. The same matter is it with low connected and suited, there are risks that your opponent hits a higher straight or flush. All these situations tend to be expensive.

After the plof - good timing and mimum of bluffing

There are some fundamental guidelines to be aware of after the flop:

1. Play aggressive when you have the best hand. You make this to prevent players withdraws to call or at least you are making them pay more than the odds allow. If you are playing pot limit, the best bet is presumably the maximal. There are of course some exceptions, which are rather obvious. If you hit a full house on the flop it is probably not in your interest to drive away all players from the pot immediately, if not the chances for someone beating your full house is big enough.
2. Only call then it’s fully motivated. Pair sand even two pairs, in many cases, don’t belong to these categories. If you have a drawing hand that can be beaten if you make the hand, don’t call. For example, if you try to hit a straight but there are possibilities that another player can make a flush.
3. Since every player has four hole cards there’s often some that have hopes for the next card and therefore will call a bet. These circumstances make bluffing less effective and you should bluff rarely. As a consequence, the bluff may be most sufficient when all the community cards already are on the table and when your bluffs in this situation represent a straight or flush.

These guidelines have foremost been based on games at full tables. If you play on shorthanded tables is it advisable to modify these guidelines some. On a shorthanded table you can call with some more hands and bluffs can be used more often.

Related article:Omaha odds