Texas Hold'em might the game at the centre of the online explosion in poker but Omaha is free rolling along for the ride. It's the natural game for Hold'em players to progress to and its popularity is also booming.
The main structural differences between the two forms of poker are that Omaha players are dealt more cards and need the nuts more often to win a hand. It's a true action game with larger pots.
|Of course, with these contrasts in the game's basics come important strategy variations to become a winning player. In this issue we'll be looking at the central tactical differences between playing the two games.|
|Ok, you got us. Strictly speaking it's not a variation in playing strategy but is nevertheless an important consideration for anyone sitting down at an Omaha table. Omaha is an action game. It attracts action players and that means bankroll swings are more frequent and volatile than in Hold'em. Many players increase their bankroll size in relation to the big blind bet size to cover this additional volatility.|
|Slow playing is almost always incorrect|
|Playing a strong
hand weakly in order to make more money from
later betting rounds is a dangerous game in
Omaha . Remember with four cards each your
opponents effectively have six hands. Give
them a free card and they may make a hand
that beats yours.
It follows that check raising in Omaha is less effective than in Hold'em, especially limit Omaha . A powerful tactic in Hold'em it's usually a better strategy in Omaha to take advantage of any value your hand has immediately and make potential drawing hands pay.
So revealing the strength of your hand in Omaha is not as damaging as in Hold'em. The reason is Omaha is a game of nuts. It's no secret to the other players that you have the nuts or are drawing to them so get your money in the pot!
|Bluffing is a smaller part of the game|
In Hold'em it's often said you play your opponent as much as the cards. Bluffing is an essential skill every winning player has. In Omaha a player betting as a bluff, as opposed to raising as a bluff, is much more likely to get called as opponents have more hand possibilities to call them with
That said genuine bluffing opportunities do occasionally present themselves in Omaha . If you've a relatively tight table image they can be most profitable plays.
If you do ever manage to pull a bluff off never show your opponents. It's hard enough to bluff successfully in Omaha . If your opponents know you're willing to try it on they're even more likely to call you next time.
|Seat selection is less important|
|In earlier issues we saw how the estate agent's mantra of location location location transferred to Hold'em as position position position ? particularly position in relation to the button and other players. Basically in Hold'em it's important to sit to the right of aggressive players and on the right of passive players. In Omaha it's still worth considering but isn't as important because it's harder to make a move on the pot with so many people still in it with so many drawing hands. Usually in Omaha the correct play is simply the straightforward one, not a steal attempt.|
|Suited aces are more powerful than unsuited aces|
| Of course this
is true in both Omaha and Hold'em ? but
more so in Omaha . In Hold'em A 9 off suit
could win a hand with top pair. But in Omaha
it won't and players want all their cards to
work together if they are going to be a
consistent winner. A suited ace gives the
nut flush draw.
It's worth pointing out too that in Hold'em an unsuited Ace with a low card is a trap hand. But when playing Omaha High Low the same combination can obviously give the nut low.