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7 Tips for First-Time Omaha Players

Omaha Poker (also known as Omaha high or PLO) is an intriguing game popular among high-stake players. In a few words, here's how it works: each player is dealt with four cards. Players need to make their best hand using two of them, plus three of the five community cards.

It may sound like a lot, especially if you are new or familiar with Texas Holdem. Not to worry — we've put together seven valuable tips to help every Omaha Poker newbie.

Omaha Poker is Different from Texas Holdem

Always Remember that Omaha Poker is Different from Texas Holdem

Omaha was derived from Texas Holdem, and thus, both games naturally have similarities. However, Omaha is considerably different from Texas Holdem. For instance, in Texas Holdem, each player gets two hole cards, while in Omaha, they get four.

In Texas Holdem, players can create a five-card hand using any combination of hole cards and the cards on the board. However, in Omaha, players can only form a hand using two hole cards and three board cards.

As you get more familiar with the game, this rule will become easier to remember. However, at the start, it's something you need to always keep at the back of your mind.

Tip Summary: Always remember the Omaha commandment – using only two of your hole cards for every hand.
Raise or Fold but Don’t Call

Raise or Fold but Don’t Call

When playing, it's easy to be tempted to call a bet, and it's not a crime. However, successful players in Omaha Poker tend to raise or fold instead of call. It's better to be a tight player than a loose one. A tight player often folds, while a loose player calls often.

When a player calls, it means they are not confident enough in their hands, and this might not lead to good results. However, when you raise, you can use it to your advantage if you have a strong hand. Also, other players can increase their bets and contribute to the pot, which makes it easier for you to collect fatter winnings.

Tip Summary: Don't be a loose player; be tight.
Analyze Starting Hands Carefully

Analyze Starting Hands Carefully

With the four cards in your hands and the community cards, there are 16,432 possible combinations to look for. Thus, probability determines a lot in how any Hi-Lo or Pot-Limit Omaha game ends. One example of strong hands in Omaha is all the top 30 cards with one suite or more.

Additionally, the best starting hands typically have four hands that work together. It's risky when a player has only two or three cards that work together. This is because some opponents might have better starting hands than that.

Here's a powerful sub-tip: play fewer hands. Many Texas Holdem players think that it is better to play with more hands because there are more starting cards. However, in Omaha Poker, playing with fewer starting hands is advisable.

Tip Summary: Learn and study the best starting hands.
One Big Pot Can Change the Entire Game

One Big Pot Can Change the Entire Game

Omaha pots can grow very quickly. In fact, a player could win so much money in Pot Limit by winning only one or two pots. However, only the most meticulous players can achieve this. There are two major things to note here.

Firstly, you have to be patient until you get your best hands (as explained in tip 3). This means you have to conserve your chips by folding your weak hands so that you can win big when you have your best hands.

Tip Summary: You could get bored, but don't waste your chips. Patiently wait till you have the best hands.
Aces Aren’t So Valuable in Omaha

Aces Aren’t So Valuable in Omaha

Aces are important in many poker games, including Omaha. However, Omaha is a drawing game, so a pair of aces won't add much value. What works is pairing with cards that can make flushes or straights.

Tip Summary: Pair your aces with cards that can make flushes or straights.
Beware of Your Position

Beware of Your Position

Having the right position against other players is exponentially more important than in Texas Holdem. It is tricky to have many cards in hand, which is why new Omaha players tend to ignore positions. In Omaha, it is best to play fewer hands from the early position, play a few more from the middle position, and play much more from the late position. You can use your position in two game-changing ways: to build a pot and to control a pot.

In building a pot, get as many of your chips into the pot as possible when you flop that almighty 20-out wrap draw. Use the check-raise when out of position or if contending against a trigger-happy bettor. When in the right position, controlling a pot is easier as the player can take a turn card for free, seeing whether the hand improves.

Some hands quite playable in position become easy folds out of position and the other way around.

Tip Summary: Whether or not you’ll have a position and what you can do to change it should be considered for each hand.
Limping Won't Help You Win

Limping Won't Help You Win More Pots

Limping is one of many plays that is rarely a good idea. Entering a pot by just placing the big blind amount when the actions reach you instead of raising is rarely a winning play as it puts you in tricky spots rather than helping you define your opponents’ holdings.

It is quite common to see novices limp, especially in live games, allowing them to see more flops for cheap gains. However, limping is always a losing play in the long run.

Good players know that they need to win a few pots every session from other opponents to keep them afloat. In gaining more pots, you need to take control over them, and this cannot be achieved by passive play.

Tip Summary: Raise instead of limping as you can come to terms with a couple of goals, such as signalling a strong hand or discouraging opponents.

Conclusion

Omaha poker has become one of the most popular poker variants this decade, and some even debate that it surpasses Texas Holdem. Although it looks pretty similar to Texas Holdem at first glance, there are some major differences. However, with the right strategies, you can be a top-tier player in no time.

Online casinos to play Omaha Poker

Dmitry Rogalchuk
With over 5 years of experience in iGaming, Dmitry Rogalchuk leads a content team at CasinoCanada, ensuring that every article on the CasinoCanada website is informative and engaging for our readers.
Head of Content
The University of British Columbia
The University of British Columbia & McGill University degrees, strategic marketing & content leadership expertise, sales strategies development
Expert in:
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Last updated on: 20.02.2024

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