Five Quick Tips—How to Play Omaha Poker

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Five Quick Tips


Omaha Poker is one of the more popular poker variants and is readily available at most casinos, both online and traditional live formats. The rules are simple enough to learn, but the game can still be challenging for newer players. Regardless of whether you are new to Omaha Poker or have been playing for years, there are always ways to improve your skills at the tables. Here are five quick tips that can help you play Omaha Poker.


Texas hold'em and Omaha Poker are nearly identical in terms of gameplay and rules, but hold'em is a lot easier for beginners to pick up and play. In Omaha Poker, players must use two of their four starting cards and three out of the five community cards to make a hand. This makes it “easier” to create higher-ranked combinations, and far less forgiving on players who decide to play low-ranked cards.

In Texas hold'em players get two starting cards and can use any combination of their starting hand or the five community cards to create a hand. Playing Texas Hold'em first will make the eventual change to Omaha easier because you'll already have a solid understanding of the game’s fundamentals. However, keep in mind strategies used in Texas hold'em don't always transition well into Omaha Poker.


Hand selection in poker is always crucial and can make a big difference to your win/loss ratio, but it's even more important in Omaha Poker. Pairs are the most common hand in nearly every form of poker, but because of the higher chance of getting top-ranked hands in Omaha, pairs are nearly useless in the later stages of the game. Even a pair of aces, which have a high percentage win chance in Texas Hold'em are very hard to win with in Omaha Poker. So be patient and selective with your starting hand selection. Don't fall into the trap of thinking any four cards are worth playing.


Pot-Limit Omaha's restrictions on betting mean there is more chance to see the flop, turn and river without being forced out of the pot by a big bet. The losses in Pot-Limit Omaha can also be far smaller than No Limit Omaha. If you want to take your chances and play No Limit Omaha though, don't hold your breath, the game is very unpopular, and few casinos will have tables running.


When it's your turn to act, either raise or fold. There is a lot less bluffing in Omaha Poker; if someone is playing like they have a strong hand, they probably do. Calling means you are not confident enough in your hand, and you may as well fold. It's easy to get frustrated and start playing because you are bored sitting on the sideline, but this can be a costly mistake if you end up playing too many losing hands. Be patient and wait for good cards worth making a bet on.


Playing position is always a good strategy, regardless of the poker variant. Wait until you are either first or last to act to play hands. In theory, it should help increase the odds of success and limit losses. You can't always play in position; you can't control when you are dealt good cards but aim to play in position as much as possible.