Omaha Strategy

Omaha can be a confusing game to play, especially in the case of a high-low split game. Sometimes, even casino dealers may need time to work out the best hand.

Bluffing is much less common in Omaha than in other poker games. Likewise, it’s not nearly as important to spend time "reading" your opponents. Instead, the key to Omaha strategy lies in knowing when to play your starting cards and when to fold. With four cards dealt at the outset, many players make the mistake of thinking their cards are worth playing – but even straights and flushes are often beaten in Omaha, and reading the cards right.

Unlike in many other poker games, being dealt four aces as a starting hand isn’t cause for celebration, because in Omaha you can use only two of your hole cards in your final hand. Likewise, you don’t want to be dealt four cards in the same suit. This makes it less likely that you’ll draw to complete a flush because you’ve effectively eliminated two cards in the needed suit from play.

Omaha Strategy: Starting Cards to Play

Because each player is dealt four starting cards and can use only two of them in their final hand, there are six possible combinations you need to look at. If the four cards are named A to D, for instance, the two cards you use could be A-B, A-C, A-D, B-C, B-D or C-D. Generally, the best hand to play in Omaha strategy is one in which all of these combinations are promising.

The best possible hand in Omaha is a pair of aces and a pair of kings, in which the pairs are "double-suited" – for example, one ace and one king are hearts and the other ace and king are both clubs. This gives you two possible ways to get a flush, the possibility of a straight and the possibility of a full house. It doesn’t, however, give you a shot at a nut low.

Any high hand with two pairs is a good one to play. In Omaha strategy, it’s best though if the pairs are double-suited or are close enough in rank to be apart of the same straight.

See Omaha Hi-Lo strategy for tips on which cards to play in a high-low split game.