Do Poker Strategies Differ when Playing the Omaha Variant?

Master poker strategies across variations! Gain insights into how to adjust your gameplay between standard and Omaha poker.

Poker is a game of great skill and strategy with a little bit of luck and confidence; that makes the game so great, even if you’re a spectator. It’s a mind game of anticipation and calculation with much at stake and limited time. Since there are over twelve game variations, should you develop a different strategy for each one?

Standard Poker vs. Omaha Poker

The basic rules of poker remain the same, with a few differences for the different variations. Standards poker is played with a 52-card deck (no jokers); in standard poker, the purpose is to get the highest hand at the table; this could be a flush, royal flush, or full house. As long as your hand is the highest, you have won. The hard part is figuring out what everyone else is before you call or raise your bets; that’s where the strategy and skill come in. In standard poker, each player is dealt five cards (or seven cards for Stud Poker).

Omaha is also played with a 52-card deck, just like the other variants, but Omaha comes with four-hole cards, which usually causes players to call or raise more than other versions.

Poker Strategies

Ace, king, and queen cards placed on a wooden table along with casino-like chips, and signs for dealer, small blind and big blind

There is no drastic change in strategy when playing Omaha poker vs standard poker; the objective of achieving the highest hand at the table remains the same. Below are some popular techniques that some players have proven. Some work for every variation of poker, and others are specific to Omaha Poker; once you know how to play Omaha Poker, you can then decide which strategy to keep and which to ditch.

Play Fewer Hands

Playing too many hands puts you at risk of losing your chips at a faster rate, besides there is a limit on how many starting hands you can play on No Limit Omaha before you flop. To make this strategy work even better, play all your hands aggressively, no matter what cards you are looking at. Doing this will make it easier for your opponents to call your bluff or guess the strength of your hand. This strategy works for all variants of poker.

Fold When Necessary

Poker should not be placed with emotions as this will get you into trouble, so if you are unsure of your hand, instead fold and then call because of your ego. You need to be competitive enough. It just means you are smart enough to know when to give up. Always remember your hand before you fold so you can compare your hand to the winning hand at the end of the game.

Be Mentally Ready to Play

This may sound silly or obvious, but so many players sit at a poker table preoccupied with work, family issues, and other things, and they don’t concentrate on the game and end up making stupid and unnecessary mistakes.

Don’t Depend on Your Aces

In PLO (Pot Limit Omaha), it’s not wise to depend on your aces since there are four cards everybody has seen already. Unlike Texas Hold’Em, the ace may not add any strategic value to your hand compared to your opponents.

Pick Your Tables Well

This applies to all variations of poker and not just Omaha; in fact, we could go as far as saying it applies to most card games. Choose a table with some weaker players and where you can win at least once. In the words of Mike McDermott in the movie Rounders

…”If you can’t spot the sucker in your first half hour at the table, then you are the sucker”…

Try to avoid being the sucker.

Its a game of probability

There are over 16,000 possible combinations you can make in a game of hi/lo Omaha because of the four community cards that are played first. So it would be best to calculate the probability of your opponent landing a good hand.

Refrain from bluffing.

While bluffing may work in Texas Hold’Em, it will only help you a little in Omaha; it all goes back to those four community cards. So the same way two aces can get you to win in Texas Hold’Em but not in Omaha, focus on building a good hand if you want to win.

In conclusion

There is a lot we could suggest or tell you to do and not to do when playing Omaha, but the main thing is first to know and understand the rules. Secondly, the things that work in Texas Hold’Em only hold a little water in PLO; thirdly, always play with a clear, logical mind, fold if you have one, read the board, and calculate the odds well. Lastly, and we can’t stress this enough, try to enjoy yourself, poker is a social game, and it’s meant to be as much fun as it is competitive. Play safely.