Omaha Hold'em - Omaha Holdem Poker Rules and Strategy Tips
game basics and strategies for Omaha Hold'em Poker shown here are those
generally agreed to and recommended by the experts for bet limit games.
An understanding of these basics is needed for all levels of
competitive play. Solid intermediate and expert level poker normally
requires study of the advanced game tactics and significant hours of
actual casino or online playing experience.
Omaha Holdem - Game Rules
Highest hand wins || Players MUST use TWO of their hole cards combined
with three from the board to make their hands || Ace plays both high
and low for straights || Three raise limit per round || Cards speak
Card Distribution and Betting Procedure
Example: $2/$4 Hold'em with a double blind.
At casino Hold'em tables, a round plastic marker called the dealer
"button" is placed in front of the player who would be dealing if a
house dealer were not provided. The button is moved one seat clockwise
after each game and the card distribution and betting starts to the
left of that position. Each player is dealt four cards face down. Then,
a total of five community cards are dealt face up in the center of the
table in three betting segments (3-1-1). After all the cards are dealt
the players make the best hand that they can by combining any two of
their two hole cards with any three of the five community cards. Using
the illustration above, a player holding a jack and an eight would end
up with the best possible full house, jacks over eights. However, this
good hand can be beaten if another player is holding the "nut hand"
cards of six and seven of hearts that would make an eight high straight
flush. . . .
The betting procedure goes like this:
Before each player is dealt four down cards
the player at the immediate left of the button, called the "Small
Blind" is forced to bet $1 (half the minimum bet). Then the player to
his left and two seats to the left of the button, called the"Big
Blind", is forced to bet $2. Each player is then dealt a four card
hand. Then the player at the left of the big blind is first to act and
he must either call the big blind's $2 bet, raise, or fold his hand.
Continuing in turn clockwise, all the players around the table either
call, raise or fold.
When the betting gets back around to the small blind, he or she can
fold and lose only the half minimum bet of $1 placed earlier, call the
amount necessary to get up to the betting level or raise $2 if there is
a raise left. The big blind is then the last to act before any cards
are turned up in the middle. The blinds are played in the first round
The dealer turns three cards up in the center of the table. This is the
"Flop". The player at the left of the button is then always the first
to act. There are no more forced bets and the players can all check
around if they want to. Bets right after the flop are at the $2 minimum
(3.) Now comes the "Turn" card followed by more betting that now goes to the $4 level.
Finally the last, or "River" card is turned up. The last $4 betting
round takes place. Then the players still in the contest reveal their
hole cards and the highest hand wins the pot.
Omaha Hold'em Strategy
full ring, limit Omaha, it usually takes the "nut" hand, or something
close to that, to win! . .For our purpose here, we describe the "nut"
as a hand that can only be beaten by hidden quads and straight flushes.
These killer hands are usually referred to as the "pure" nuts. . . Two
pair and trips don't win very often in this game. You need to shoot for
the nut straight, nut flush, or nut full house most of the time. . .
This is why -
Omaha players all start with four cards. Each four card hand contains six Hold'em hands when the four cards are converted to all possible combinations of two. ie: ABCD = AB AC AD BC BD CD. (Players must playtwo
cards from their hands and three from the board). If you are in a pot
with five other players after the flop, it is sort of comparable to a
Texas Hold'em game against thirty other players, because each of your
five competitors is holding six Hold'em hands instead of one. So if you
get down to the river with a very good hand, but one that can be beaten
by some other two card combinations, brace yourself for a loss because
they are likely to be out there somewhere.. . . Your high end straight
on the flop runs into serious problems when the board turns up three
suited cards or a pair. A flush or a full house will usually pop up to
beat you. . . In Omaha, always play for the NUT!
Just one or two good hold'em
hands is usually not a very good starting hand in Omaha but many
players can not resist the urge to play them. With four cards to choose
from, these kinds of hands are easy get and Omaha games normally have
more players and bigger pots than in Hold'em. The higher payoffs work
to your advantage when you usually start with hands that contain four cards that all interact with each other to make about five or six decent Hold'em hands instead of only one or two. You will see a few exceptions to this here in the starting hands strategy.
HIGH CARDS - A, K, Q, J, 10
MIDDLE CARDS - 9, 8, 7, 6
LOW CARDS - 5, 4, 3, 2
SUITED PLAYER HAND (S) - Two of the players four cards of the same suit.
DOUBLE SUITED PLAYER HAND (DS) - Two of the players cards of one suit and two of another suit.
ACTIVE SIDECARD -Sidecard that when combined with another makes two parts of a straight or flush.
NUT HAND - An unbeatable high or low hand. Sometimes called a "lock".
SET - Three of a kind with two of the three in your hand. ( Four of a kind split two and two is a "Quad Set")
TRIPS - Three of a kind with all or two of the three on the board.
RAINBOW - Hand or flop etc. with cards of all different suits.
FLOP, TURN. RIVER - The community cards in the order of distribution. See top illustration.
FAST PLAY - Bet, raise and re-raise to get as many other players out as possible.
SLOW PLAY - Just check or call along to keep other players in the game to increase the pot odds.
The Best Omaha Starting Hand
starting Play/Fold decisions will involve a quick assessment of the
hand type and the six Hold'em hands in your four card Omaha hand. The
playable starting hands suggested are a good place to start.
These are not hard and fast rules about what to play or not, but a
generalization of expert opinions and computerized hand value results
that you can use as a guide.
Two Card Hold'em Hands to Look For in Omaha Hands: Premium Hands :
HIGH PAIR - AA, KK, QQ, JJ, 1010
ACE and HIGH CARD SUITED - AK(S), AQ(S), AJ(S), A10(S) Strong Hands :
HIGH CARDS SUITED - KQ(S), KJ(S), K10(S), QJ(S), Q10(S), J10(S)
MIDDLE PAIRS - 99, 88, 77, 66
TWO HIGH CARDS - AK, AQ, AJ, A10, KQ, KJ, K10, QJ, Q10, J10
ACE and MIDDLE CARD SUITED - A9(S), A8(S), A7(S) A6(S)
MIDDLE SUITED CONNECTORS - 10 9(S), 98(S), 87(S), 76(S) Minimum Hands :
LOW PAIRS - 55, 44, 33, 22
ACE and LOW CARD SUITED - A5(S), A4(S), A3(S), A2(S)
ANY TWO CARDS to a STRAIGHT -
ie: 10 6, 98, 75, 73, A4 - Note: Most in this catagory are normally not
playable in regular Holdem, but they do add value in combination Omaha
hands. Throw-Away Starting Hands:
These hands should be automatically folded without any further consideration:
Quads - (including) A A A A
Trips - (except A A A with a high side card suited is sometimes playable) Playable Omaha Starting Hands:
PAIR of ACES - A A x x
PAIR of KINGS - K K x x
HIGH PAIR w ACE SUITED - Q h Qs A h x .. J h Js A d 6 d
HIGH PAIR w MIDDLE/LOW PAIR - J J 7 7 .. Q Q 4 4
HIGH PAIR w TWO or more OTHER HANDS - J J 9 7 .. K 10 10 8
ANY FOUR HIGH CARDS - K Q J 10 .. A K J 10 .. Q Q 10 10 .. A J J 10 .. (includes two high pair)
THREE HIGH CARDS w ACE SUITED - A h Qs 10 h x .. A h Ks J d 5 h
THREE HIGH CARDS w ACTIVE SIDECARD - K Q J 8 .. A h Qs 10 d 4 h
THREE CARD STRAIGHT with a PAIR - 7 6 5 5 .. 9 8 7 8
THREE CARD STRAIGHT with ACE SUITED - 8 h 7s 6 d A h .. A h 9s 8 d 7 h
CLOSE GROUP w TWO GAPS or less - J 10 7 6 .. 8 7 6 5 .. 9 8 5 4.. 9 7 6 4 .. J 10 8 6
Stay aware of the nut hand possibilities.
As the board develops, make sure that you always know what the three
best hand possibilities are, and how that might change on the next card.
High pair with an overcard is a good flop in Hold'em but not in Omaha. In this game you need to flop two pair, a set, or better.
Usually don't raise before the flop
unless you are holding Aces or Kings and are in position to narrow the
field. Another time to raise is when you are unraised on the button and
have a strong hand. Try not to let the blinds play bad hands cheap.
Fold your straight or straight draw
if that's all you have and you don't flop an unpaired rainbow. If you
do get the right kind of flop, bet/raise to discourage the back door
Don't over value low pairs.
A pair of fours in your starting hand is only useful if it flops a set,
but then a low set on the flop is not a very strong hand in Omaha.
Study your opponents,
especially when you are not playing hands and can pay careful
attention. Do they find more hands to play than they fold? Do they
bluff? Can they be bluffed? Do they have any "tells" (give away
mannerisms) that disclose information about their hands etc.
Get caught bluffing
once in a while. It is a way to vary your play and not be too
predictable. You win pots that you don't deserve when your bluff works.
You lose a few chips when it doesn't work but it will get you calls
from weaker hands down the line when you are really strong and need the
Check the raisers chips.
Players that are close to all-in often rush the betting just to get all
their chips in a sink-or-swim last hand that doesn't merit a raise.