Quick guide to Omaha starting hands
As you may have read in our previous article on Omaha Hold’em, you can’t expect the same strategy to succeed across poker formats. Although you’re dealt a four-card hand, you may only use two of those cards and must get your other three from the board. If you’re struggling with where to start, read this quick guide, which outlines the basics on what to look for when taking your seat at the table.
If you’re familiar with Texas Hold’em, you already know that big pairs are very strong cards, but other than the exception of a pair of Aces, cards in your Omaha starting hands require a certain amount of synergy to make them worthwhile.
High pairs are still playable, but expect to need to make a full house or stronger in order to win hands that get to a showdown.
Three or four consecutive cards will give you a better possibility to make a straight, and two cards in each of two suits (aka “double suited”) gives you more flush chances, so these types of hands are playable if the betting isn’t too big. It’s important to think ahead and remember that you’ll usually need relatively strong straights and flushes when you make them. Second-nut hands in Omaha lose much more often than in Hold’em, and can be expensive.
Omaha starting hand selection can depend on whether you’re getting all your chips in pre-flop, or if you’re just calling. If there’s heavy action and you suspect other players have high pairs, a hand like 6-7-8-9 may be able to catch a good flop. Having four cards working together is very important if you end up all-in pre-flop, or if you’re unlikely to fold regardless of what flops.
If you notice players limping into the pot and you’re in late position, cards that don’t work as well together but could end up winners if you catch a good flop will increase in value. An example of this would be an ace with a suited kicker or a high pair.
Just remember that a third card of the suit in your hand makes your drawing potential far worse, since you’re only able to use two cards from your hand. Three of a kind in your starting hand, even if they’re kings or queens, will not play well post-flop unless you get very lucky and flop the last one.