Omaha Poker Strategy
In Poker, position is critical – the later you play, the more you can benefit from watching your opposition’s betting giving you some idea of what they may be holding. However this is not the case in limit Omaha high – being a nine-card drawing game with everyone playing towards the same nuts hand, there is less bluffing involved. The hand will usually go to the showdown, and the best hand will usually win.
Omaha Poker Starting Hands
In limit Omaha, you’ll either be dealt a playable or an unplayable hand. There’s no grey area. A playable hand is one where your four cards work well with each other and are playable from every position. Having a pair of Aces is not enough to play, since AA will almost never hold up to win the hand. You will only want to play AA if your other cards are also linked and you have a good number of outs.
You will almost always be drawing in limit Omaha, except in unusual situations where you hit a monster flop like a four-of-a-kind, or straight flush. Otherwise you are constantly looking to make the best possible hand on the table.
Therefore, hands like AA, KK and QQ with two other cards that are close in rank with the pair are playable. Being suited with your high card can also help.
Other hands that are playable are hands where all four cards are linked such as KQJT for example. Also, 7665 would be worth a look – the small pair may develop into a set or better, and this hand may also develop into a straight.
Hands like AKQ4 are unplayable – the 4 is referred to as a “dangler”. You’re going to end up throwing away a lot of money playing hands like this. If you feel compelled to play a hand with a dangler, play ones that have some kind of value such as cards suited with an Ace – e.g. A987.
If you have a very nice starting hand, raise and re-raise as much as you can. With a reasonably playable starting hand, limp in as cheaply as possible. Limit Omaha really is a test of patience, so be prepared to fold a lot of starting hands.
The key to limit Omaha is never to fish for miracle hands. Let your opponents fish, and you benefit and make money from their poor play. Limit Omaha is a very straight-forward game for the disciplined player. Just play when you have the nuts hand, and dump when you don’t.
This can be a tricky hand to play. Flopping top pair is worth playing, and flopping bottom pair is not. However if you flop top and bottom pair, this can be a difficult decision to make.
You really have to look at the possibilities – if it is a dangerous flop with possibilities of a hand better than yours that you cannot make, it’s not worth playing. However if you have flopped a nice two pair with possibilities of a straight or another nice hand, the bet it! The key concept is to be drawing to the nuts, but also have secondary draws with your hand. Again, don’t fish for miracles.
Similar principles apply here as to a two pair. If you flop the top set, play it; bottom set, fold it. Middle set requires astuteness – pay attention to all the possibilities.
Don’t assume that all sets are of equal value – In Texas Hold’em a set will win the hand more often than not, but in limit Omaha it is not necessarily a winning hand.
Suited cards certainly add value to your hand, and if the flush is the nuts hand then it’s well worth playing. But always bear in mind that you should always be drawing to the nuts hand; if the flush is not the nuts hand, don’t play it.
However if you are playing for the nuts hand and a flush is your secondary draw, then you are sitting in a very nice position. Always work out the odds – keep your outs in mind.
Any hand that you hit on the river by miracle (i.e. runner-runner) is well worth betting strongly no matter how strong it is. Your opponents are not going to expect that you hit that hand and you are likely to be betting against more than one caller. This type of hand will be a nice money maker for you.
Bluffing should not be part of your playing style in limit Omaha. Pre-flop bluffs aren’t worth it – it’s rare that you will successfully steal blinds in limit Omaha.
On the whole, Omaha High is not a game for bluffers, although there are a few situations you may get lucky. It mostly depends on the experience of your opponents, and the style of their play.
If for example the flop is showing three suited cards, one of which is an Ace, and you are holding an Ace also, you may be able to convince the table you have a flush with some nice betting. I would consider this a semi-bluff since you are holding an Ace, but it’s not likely to win the hand. If someone bets, fold.
Another example may be if a pair is showing on the flop, you may bet under the pretence that you have a 3-of-a-kind, but this is rarely going to work. If someone on the table bets into you, fold immediately.
Good luck on your next poker game From the Online Casinos USA team