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Low Limit Omaha Hold'em Basics

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In Omaha Hold'em each player receives 4 hole cards and everyone shares 5 community cards, similar to Texas Hold'em. The difference is that you must use exactly two cards from your hand and 3 cards from the board to make your 5-card poker hand. Usually the winning hands in Omaha are much better than the winning hands in Hold'em.

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When you are playing Omaha you should make sure you are actually using 2 cards from your hand, not three or just one. For example, if the board is K Q J 5 4, and you have A Q 4 and 4, your hand is only three-of-a-kind 4's. You do not have a full house of 4's over queens. If the board is A K Q 10 9, then your hand of two Jacks and two 5's is not a straight because you have to use two of your cards, not just one. You must remember to learn how to read the board, and your own hand, when playing Omaha.

In Omaha there really isn't a "sure thing" hand before the flop. You could get two Aces and two Kings and still easily get beat. You do, however, still need to remember to play strong hands before the flop. The best starting hands in Omaha are hands where you hit two pair and your draw, for example Ah, Qc, Jh, Jc. Those hands are not that common, so another good hand in a loose game would just be a hand with a lot of drawing possibilities. And remember you want to be drawing to the nuts. You want to be drawing to an Ace high flush, not a Jack high flush. The same principle applies to the straight draws, as you don't want to be drawing to the low end. You are better off just calling with drawing hands early, so more people will see the flop with you and put more money in the pot. If you have high pairs, however, you want to raise and drive people out of the pot. The main reason high pairs are much less valuable than in Hold'em is because having a Pair on the flop is worthless in Omaha. Someone else probably has two pair or is drawing to a straight or a flush.

Usually you want to fold any hand unless you have top 2 pair or a draw to the nuts or a hand pretty close to the nuts like a King high flush. But even then be careful. Two pairs and sets can be bad hands if someone is fishing on a draw. With a lot of people in the hand they are almost assuredly going to lose. You probably need a full house to win against a multi-player pot. You also want to be aware that having a full house is not a guarantee either unless you have the high end. If you do happen to hit your flush or turn, you want to bet it before the river and hope to drive out hands that could beat you. Sometimes the board will not show a straight or a flush but could show something at the river. You will have to be careful in those situations if you do not have the nuts.

Remember that Omaha is a game of getting the nuts. Most players fail to remember this and it gets them into trouble. When you play Omaha remember that the pair of Aces and the three of kinds that win often in Hold'em won't hold up in Omaha.

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