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You may have noticed the Omaha tables. This article  is a brief intro to the subtleties of Omaha High. It shouldn?t be confused with Omaha Hi-Low which is a completely different game altogether. This article concentrates on Omaha Hi-Low.


The main difference between Omaha and Hold'em is that each player gets four cards in Omaha, as opposed to two in hold?em. The game is then the same as hold'em as far as the communal cards go, an initial flop of three cards, followed by 'the turn' and then 'the river'.


The other main difference is that the players must use exactly two cards from their hand, and three from the communal board, not simply the best five cards from both. So if a player holds AQQJ and the communal cards are A Q 4 6 J, the player's best hand is three queens (using the two queens from his hand), and not a full house (he can?t use the Ace from his hand as well).

Because there are more cards available the average winning hand tends to be far greater in Omaha than Hold em. This is one of the main things that people who play mostly Hold em fail to grasp when playing Omaha. With the above hand, three queens would normally win in Hold'em, whereas it would often lose in Omaha to someone holding 10K (a straight).
Therefore you have to be slightly more circumspect when playing Omaha. When holding the three queens in the above example, it would be a good idea to check on the river, especially if there are still several players remaining. Omaha is usually played Pot Limit and not fixed Limit. So, often, the player is faced with a very tough call should someone bet the full pot on the river.
Competition Omaha is vastly different to a cash game in that it provides an opportunity to play lots more starting hands. If you wish to start on the Omaha cash tables though, again it is best to be very selective over your starting hands. So here?s a few pointers:

The top starting hands are AAJ10, AAKK, AA9,10 'double suited', which mean that you may have A9 of spades and A10 of hearts. This is a very powerful hand where you are drawing at two 'nut' flushes, top trips (Aces) and manyl straights with the 910.


All other starting hands should be 'connected' in some way, such as 4568, 9JJQ, JQKA. Again it is best if these hands are 'double suited'. 'Connected' hands have more winnings combinations, it's as simple as that.


Try and avoid 'danglers' such as JJ93, where you are playing a three-card hand. (the 3 is the 'dangler')

Double paired hands such as JJ88 are also reasonable hands to play. Your chances of flopping a 'set' are more than 28%. Be warned though. Omaha often produces three Jacks against three Kings scenarios. And so a 'set' is far from a guaranteed winner in Omaha.


If you get dealt a broken hands such as 26QK , you should simply not play it. Communal boards which show a pair such as A Q 4 7 7 will probably result in one of your opponents getting a full house to take the pot.
If three of a suit are dealt in the communal board, then you can virtually guarantee that the winning hand will be at least a flush.


The winning hand will usually be a straight, if a board reads J Q K 7 5. A player will show 9,10 or A10. The winning hand will certainly be a straight if the board reads 10 J Q 4 6. There are now three straight possibilities; 89, 9K and KA.

Unless you have the ?nuts? think twice before you open the betting, and then don?t do it!

If you are calling with a drawing hand on the flop, make sure that you are drawing at the 'nuts'. Don't get caught in the trap of calling with a King flush draw only to find another opponent was calling with an Ace flush draw.


The pitfall that Omaha rookies normally fall into is to play too many hands. Don't do it! Give Omaha a go. It's certainly interesting, but be careful out there boys and girls.

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