Omaha Poker Tips For Newbies

Omaha Poker Tips For Newbies

Omaha Poker Helpful Tips

While Texas Hold’em reigns supreme as the undisputed heavyweight champion of modern-day poker, there is a new contender emerging that could give Texas Hold’em a run for its money when it comes to the title of the most played poker game on the planet.

Despite being around for nearly as long, Omaha is just now finally starting to get its credit as a great game. Players are flocking to Omaha, as the game is fast-paced, and the action can get crazy in a hurry! Turns out that getting 4 cards is more fun than getting 2 and if you haven’t had a chance to get in on the action yet, you are missing out! If you are new to the game and looking for a way to scale your knowledge up in a hurry, you are in luck, as in this article, we are going to provide you with TheSportsGeek’s top 5 Omaha poker tips for newbies!

While Omaha is a very complex game, that can take years to master, these top Omaha tips for newbies will improve your game dramatically, in a short period of time.

And with Omaha spreading through poker rooms all around the world like wildfire, there has never been a better time to learn the game and take a seat at the table.

Let’s get started with our first Omaha poker tip, staying away from hangers pre-flop!

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Omaha Poker Tips

There are several different types of Omaha poker. The game can be played pot limit, limit, and spread limit and it is typically played both high only and high/low split. For this article, we are going to focus on the most popular variation of Omaha poker, limit high/low split.

Stay Away From Hangers Pre-Flop

Unlike Texas Hold’em, where each player receives 2 cards pre-flop, in Omaha all players get 4 cards to start the hand. Twice as many hole cards means twice as much fun, right? Well, there is one caveat to these Omaha hands that you must take into account, as you must use exactly 2 of your hole cards, and 3 cards from the board, when making a hand.

If you are a Texas Hold’em player, that is a bigger difference than you might think, as it completely changes how you read the board. If there are 4 to a flush or 4 to an open-ended straight on the board, you still have to use 2 cards out of your hand, and that small detail entirely changes the dynamic of the board.

But just because you can never use more than 2 of your cards doesn’t mean that you want to get involved in hands where only 2 of your cards are good. The best Omaha hands are ones where all of your cards are coordinated. As a general rule, you have to make significantly bigger hands to win in Omaha than you do in Hold’em, and you want all of your cards working with you, not against you.

What Is A Hanger?

A hanger is any card that does not coordinate well with the rest of your hand. An example of this would be a hand where you have an ace, king, and queen and then an off-suit 9. Had that 9 been a deuce or another face card, that would be a very nice starting hand, that you would absolutely want to play.

But with that hanger card of a 9 sticking in there, the value of this hand drops significantly. That’s not to say that you can never play a hand like this one, but you must be aware that when you are playing against other solid players, they are going to have 4 coordinated cards in their hand to compete against the 3 cards in your hand. That gives them a major advantage.

It can be frustrating when you are looking at your cards and it looks like you are going to have a monster only to brick out on the last card and have a 3-card hand. Being disciplined enough to wait for a more coordinated hand is a key to playing winning Omaha poker. Leave the hangers for the fish and find a better spot.

Don’t Play For Half Of The Pot

This concept is true no matter which split pot game you might be playing as you should very rarely play hands that have no shot at scooping. The only way to really beat a split pot game is by scooping full pots and if you are consistently playing hands where you are going after just half of the pot, you are going to be a long-term loser.

Huge Means Huge!

Now, if you have a huge hand that is only going to win you half of the pot, I am not suggesting that you fold it, by any means. But when I say huge hand, I mean HUGE hand, not a very good hand. We are talking nuts only types of hands if you have no shot for a scoop.

It blows my mind how often I see players limp into a pot with a hand like 8,9, jack, queen, and then spew off chips with the sucker end of a straight or a 9 high flush. It is bad enough that they have no shot to scoop if a low comes on the board, let alone the fact that they are playing a high hand that isn’t likely to win the high half of the pot either.

When you are playing Omaha high/low, you want to start with a strong low and back into a scoopable high hand, or start with a great high hand, that has at least some chance of making an emergency low, to get you all of the pot.

Even a small chance at scooping is enough to turn a hand from negative EV into positive EV. You want to look for hands that can go both ways and if you find yourself heads up in a pot and you are free rolling on your opponent, you must punish them with bets and raises.

The best way to stay out of these half-pot situations is to tighten up your calling ranges pre-flop. Stay away from hands that have no shot at making a low unless they are premium high hands and any strong low hand that has some high potential, needs to be played aggressively.

Playing tighter earlier in the hand helps keep you out of trouble later in the hand. When it comes to tips for playing Omaha poker, there are none better than focusing on playing to scoop full pots!

It’s The Nuts Or Nothing When Drawing In Multiway Pots

Omaha is known as a nut type of game. Unlike Texas Hold’em, where if you flop top pair, you have a legit chance of winning the pot, when playing Omaha, you need big hands to win big pots. Ranking the hand values is the single hardest transition for Hold’em players trying Omaha for the first time, as they are very different. This is especially true in multiway pots, which happen quite often in Omaha.

An Example:

Let’s say, for example, you flop a medium-sized flush draw in a 7-way hand. The player first to act leads out and 4 players call when it gets to you. In Texas Hold’em, this is a clear call. In Omaha, this is an easy fold, as you don’t even want to make your flush, let alone draw to it. Playing non-nut hands is a recipe for disaster when playing Omaha and you have to stay away from drawing to second place hands at all costs. Even the nuts have to be played cautiously at times (we will get into this concept at a deeper level here in a minute) and playing mediocre hands is going to get you crushed at an Omaha table.

I know it can be difficult to make the second nut straight or the third nut flush and have to fold for a single bet, but I promise you, that more times than not, you are going to be beaten, and calling light in Omaha is an awful strategy that is going to get you killed.

Position Is Key

We just talked about how the hand values are significantly different when compared to Texas Hold’em and that makes position that much more important. We have talked at length about staying out of bad spots, but Omaha is a game filled with land mines and you are going to find yourself in hard to read situations all of the time.

That is why highly skilled players are attracted to the game, as being able to read hands well is a major advantage for better players, and these hard to navigate spots come up regularly when playing Omaha.

It is going to take you a lot of table time before your hand reading skills are at an elite level, as there is no way to get good at it other than playing a lot of poker and taking your lumps like the rest of us did.

But one thing that you can do that will help you make better decisions, is play more hands in position. Knowing what your opponents are doing makes reading hands a lot easier.

If you are consistently playing in position, you are going to have much more information available to you when it is your turn to act, than if you are playing out of position. Until your hand reading ability gets up to par, tightening up pre-flop in early position, and loosening up pre-flop in late position, will put you in far fewer hard to read spots.

Are you under the gun with a solid hand that has a hanger in it?

Throw it into the muck. Are you on the button with that very same hand in a multi-way limped pot? Sneak in to see a cheap flop and use your position to help guide your play in the hand. Poker is a game of information and having more of it when it is your turn to act is going to improve your decision making and make you more money!

Know When You Are Quartered And Slow Down

When is having the nuts not really a good thing? When you are playing Omaha high/low and you are going to get quartered. For those Omaha newbies out there, getting quartered is when you have the same hand as someone else does for half of the pot.

Interestingly enough:

This comes up all of the time when playing Omaha, especially when your nut hand is the low. If you have ace/deuce and the flop is all low cards, I wouldn’t be overly proud of it, as just about everyone is going to see the flop with any ace/deuce hand and you are highly likely to get quartered. That doesn’t mean that you should be throwing the nuts away, but you also shouldn’t be in there betting and raising if the pot is multi-way and there is a lot of action. This concept can be really tough for Texas Hold’em players, as they are used to ramming and jamming with the nuts, not making crying calls, hoping to get a quarter of the pot.

Any time that the nuts is very obvious, and there is significant action, you have to take into account that you might be getting quartered. Is the flop ace, king, queen rainbow and you have jack/ten? Great, you flopped a monster!

Please Note:

But when it is 3 bets to you, just know that you are almost for sure getting quartered, and that is if the board doesn’t pair, or a flush draw doesn’t get completed. You don’t want to get too gun shy and allow players to suck out on you for cheap, but getting quartered is part of the game.

Unless there are 7-8 players in the hand at the end, that means that you are going to actually lose money with your nut hand. Pay close attention to these situations and tread lightly if you find yourself in a spot where you are likely to get quartered.

Conclusion

Are you an Omaha newbie that is hyped up and ready to get into the action and try out all of these Omaha poker tips? The best place to find an Omaha game these days is online!

While brick-and-mortar casinos are finally starting to get on the Omaha bandwagon and catching up, Omaha has been immensely popular online for quite a while. The game can be a bit slow in a live casino, but online the play is fast-paced, and the action is hot and heavy!

If you are looking for a place to play Omaha online, the first thing that you need to do is swing by TheSportsGeek’s poker sites page, where we bring our reader’s exclusive offers at all of the top online poker rooms. Good luck playing Omaha poker online and putting all of these Omaha poker tips for newbies to good use on the virtual felt!

PLACE YOUR BETS NOW!

Author: Tamara Kim