Intro and Basic Strategy for Omaha Hi Poker

Intro and Basic Strategy for Omaha Hi Poker

With the huge increase in the popularity of Texas Holdem over the past couple years, another poker game is gaining popularity with poker fans around the country. It is all over, where a huge player community is talking about the game and its splendid gameplay features. That game is Omaha. Some people play Omaha Hi/low (splitting pot between best high and low hands), but for this introduction I’ll just handle Omaha Hi.

The biggest difference between Omaha Hi and Texas is that each player starts with four “hole cards” instead of the 2 in Texas Holdem. You bet after your hole cards are dealt, and then after the flop, turn, and river cards just like as in Texas Holdem. Many beginners get confused and make a wrong assumption though in the game and end up losing quite a lot of money. The key is you CAN ONLY AND MUST USE ONLY 2 HOLE CARDS when you assemble your 5 card hand. Another way to look at this is you must use exactly 3 cards from the board. I will give a couple examples below to further explain this.

Say you have A of spades, K of spades, Q of spades, J of spades as your hold cards. Looks like a great hand, and could be, but don’t forget the rules. Say the board has Ac, 3c, 7d on the flop, 10s on the turn, and 6h on the river. Some will claim they have a Royal Flush, but in reality all you have are a pair of Aces! You don’t even have a flush because remember you must use three cards from the board and only two from your hand.

So, what are good starting hands in Omaha Hi? Well some refer to Omaha Hi as a game dominated by flushes, and straights. This is true. A nice starting hand would be something like As, 10s, Ah, 6h. As you can see if either 3 hearts or three spades end up on the board you will have the top flush. Also let’s say another A shows on the board, along with a pair on the board, you have the top full house.

Hands such as four of a kind will rarely show up on the game, but if they do and you are holding a flush or full house, judge your opponent carefully, if he’s a conservative player but keeps raising you, especially if there is a set on the board you would probably be better off folding. If there is a pair on the board he might be betting on his full house, but then you never know he could have that same pair in his hole cards, so knowing your opponents betting styles is key.

There are several hands that people tend to over-value. These are high pairs, and two pair hands. Remember if out of the 5 cards on the board there is a chance to make a straight adding two hole cards and you are playing with 4 or more people, odds are someone most likely has a straight, especially if they start betting big. Also if there are three cards of the same suit out of the 5 on the board, it’s most likely someone will have a flush, and even if you have one, if it’s not headed by the Q or higher and someone starts betting big, be concerned that you are drawing dead in the hand.

Another hand people tend to over-value is three of a kind when a pair shows up on the board. Keep in mind that yes, you might have three of a kind, but someone else might have the 4th card of that rank in their hole cards and another from the board to make a full house to beat you. Also keep in mind if the pair on the board which you have the matching hole card to make a set with is a low pair, someone else might have a pocket pair matching one of the other cards on the board giving them a higher full house.

Hopefully this will give you some good introductory strategies for how to play Omaha Hi and what types of hands to be concerned about. Keep in mind Omaha Hi is a game where you need to be able to envision all the possible hands your opponents could have, and read their bidding. Omaha tends to keep more people in the betting than Texas and can make for some fun conversations after the hand. I hope you enjoy playing.


Seth is a professional blogger and is a Poker enthusiast. He wants to share his wisdom with other poker players to help them improve their game. He also loves to write about art and technology as well.

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