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Omaha Hold ’em rules and overview

General Advice for Pot-Limit and Limit Omaha

  • Small pots OOP & with small hands. Big pots IP & with big hands or big nut-draws.
  • (Almost) never slow-play post-flop in pot-limit omaha!
  • Any time your call/bet/raise => 50% of your stack or will make you pot-committed on the next betting round (i.e. generally where your stack will be < = pot size), “pot it” or fold!
    With effective deep-stacks, you’ll be committed at the latest when your stack is 1/3rd of the pot size, but you don’t want to bet/raise only to fold on the next street in most cases anyway.
  • Keep fold/fear equity on your side. “Pot-size betting” creates maximum fold-equity, and with effective small-stacks, pot-size betting minimizes post-flop skill differences (“edge”).
  • Position and initiative are even more important in PLO than in Hold ’em.

Getting it all-in pre-flop nullifies positional and skill disadvantages in post-flop play. Only play for stacks when heads-up pre-flop with the nuts or with a bare AA as an absolute minimum: i.e. AxAyKxKy, AxAyJxTy & AxAy2x3y/4/5 in Omaha8 (or A2,wheel,wheel if you come across a low-ball house game).

Pre-Flop Betting

Open Raising (“2-bets”): In general, “Pot it” = Pot size + 2x amount to call;
Some players prefer a “pre-flop min-raise” approach … be consistent!
Vs. Limpers & Open Raises when IP: over-limp, “Call 15” or 3bet the nuts –
always an opponent/table-dependent decision
3-bets/4-bets/5-bets: “Pot-it”

Post-Flop Betting

Bet/Raise Size: In general, “Pot-it”
Calling/Over-Calling: not necessarily “wrong,” especially IP in multi-way pots.

Increasing Your Win-Rate

Don’t draw to straights on a 2-suited board
Don’t draw to flushes when the board is paired
Bare, non-nut flushes generally only result nasty reverse implied odds.

Betting and Drawing

Sub-pages:
Starting hands charts for cash-game and tournament play
Equity match-ups: pre-flop to river (heads-up and even 10-way pots analyses)
Your equity vs. your opponent’s pre-flop ranges
Ranges: probability of flopping high-equity hands

Always practice strict bankroll management: Session loss-limit of 3-4 buy-ins (NL/PL) or 50-75 big bets (FL): ~1/5th of a 20 buy-in bankroll ~1/7th of 30 buy-ins
Play full-ring games (7+ players) until mastery: play 5K+ hands prior to moving up a limit
Table selection: high VP$IP and low PFR with passive/weak players post-flop
Determine your optimal win-rate per # of tables: 3 of fewer in general
“Big hands in big pots (i.e. the nuts or monster draws!), small hands (bottom sets or worse) in small pots.”
At the low/middle limits: bluff less & value-bet more.
Avoid “strong players” in general unless looking to improve your game.
On passive full-ring tables, over-limp and over-cold-call more with speculative hands in late position
Be hyper-aware of and closely observe the players at your table, even when you’re not involved in the hand; constantly put them on hand ranges to hone your “reading skills.”

Watch Mike Caro’s and other videos on poker tells, e.g.:
In live play, never watch the board or look at your pocket cards when the cards are being dealt … watch your opponents!
Against “unknowns,” sit to the left of the player with the most chips.
Sit right of weak TAGs and left of LAGs/maniacs (diligently take notes on your opposition).
Don’t check your pocket cards immediately when you’re in the blinds or middle/late position, especially when among “fast company.”

Download the Omaha comprehensive statistics workbook
Read the Winner in a Week poker-strategy blogs & strategy-specific sub-pages
Watch the “Essential Poker Knowledge” videos on Omaha, player profiling betting(Essential Poker Knowledge: “The path of multiple utilities”)
Study the various Omaha strategies outlined on the following pages

Key Statistics from Jeff Hwang

The following statistics and general advice come from various sections of Jeff Hwang’s brilliant book entitled , Pot-Limit Omaha Poker, The Big Play Strategy, which is an absolute must-read for all Omaha players.

Pre-Flop:
“A pair of aces is a favorite against any other hand heads up … a pair of Aces is
by itself a license to at least see the flop.”
“… Unless you can get most or all of your money in before the flop, avoid
making big rereaises with AA.”
“… in order to flop a wraparound draw, your hand must have at least a single
gap, if not two single gaps or a two-gap. … the lower the gap is in the
hand, the stronger your draw.”
“Double-paired hands … will flop a set 21.5 percent of the time … the drawback
to these hands is that … hitting the flop will be a one-dimensional hand.”
“Double-suited aces with a second pair will flop a set or the nut flush draw 45 percent of the time, … flopping a flush, full house, or quads an additional 4 percent.”
“… odds of catching two key cards [on the flop] is 25:1 (ex. 8753 or 7652)”

On the Flop
“[flop] A set plus nut-flush draw is a favorite even against the biggest … draw.”
“[flop] Top set figures to be a favorite against all but the biggest draws.”
“[flop] The 13-card nut straight draw will hit by the river half the time [and will
complete ~1 time in 3.5 (2.5:1) on the next card].”
“13-card straight plush flush draw or a 17-card straight draw are both roughly even
money on the flop against a naked set.”
“… two or three low cards flop … about 63 percent of the time.”

“By the river, every player left has 60 possible 5-card combinations.”

 

The Player’s Toolbox

Bankroll Management
Pre-flop play
Hold ’em comparisons: Omaha’s far too complicated for a simple SHC
No huge pre-flop EQ advantages (65.6% w/AA** vs a random hand)
Position is key! Limping/over-limping/cold-calling is not necessarily “bad” IP.
For beginners, only limping/calling pre-flop & re-evaluating on flop is advisable.
You almost always need “the nuts” in big pots: Paired board = full house+
Bottom and middle sets on the flop are extremely vulnerable and often dominated by top sets or behind straights/flushes and even some run-down draws; even top sets without strong nut-redraws are vulnerable on 2-suited/connected boards. TPGK, 2-pair & “idiot straights/flushes” = death.
Ergo … Omaha is a much more “intuitive” game with much higher variance than HE! You need a lot of gamble in you to play this game well.

Pre-flop, the nuts (i.e. Ac As Kc Ks) is only x% ahead of a randomly dealt; Ac As Jc Ts is only x% ahead of a random hand. Any AAxx hand (i.e. a pair of aces with any other two cards) is only x% ahead of a random hand, whereas AA vs. a random hand in Texas Hold ’em is an 85% favorite. Ergo: Omaha is more of a “post-flop game” in Hold ’em, and position is even more crucial for winning play.

Pre-Flop Starting Hands & Equity Match-ups
All 4 should work together!
Starting-Hands Types (PLO—Big Play Strategy: where/how to bet IP & OOP)
2 Paired (AxAyKxKy = absolute nuts pre-flop in Omaha, yet when compared to 7a6a5b4b it’s only a 58.85% pre-flop favorite)
Connected/suited broadway: ex. AxKxQyJy, KxQxJyTy
2-Suited max-stretch “Run-downs” (very strong “drawing hands”)
If gapped, have the gap at the bottom: ex. 8s7s6h4h (“danglers”)
2 Suited/connected Ace or 2suited Ace+pair: ex. AhTh9c8c, AxKyTxTy
ProPokerTools: review equities on x% of flops analysis
Example Equity Match-Ups and Equity Swings from Pre-flop to Flop:

Pot-size raise formula: current pot + 2x the amount to call
Open raise ex: 1.5 for the blinds, 1 to call: your max pot-size raise = 3.5BBs
Flop raise ex: pot = 8BBs, SB bets 6BBs: pot-size raise to (8+6)+(2*6) = 26BBs
Open Raises, Isolation Raises and 3bets/4bets (see bet types video)
Steals and Re-Steals, Completing/”Odds Calls” in the SB and “Free Plays”/”walks”

Post-flop play
Players are much more “honest” in multi-way pots.
C-bets (only when you got it vs. 2+ opponents)
Draws & re-draws only to the nuts! (Omaha workbook outs table)
Initiative, IP/OOP, moves and bet-sizing (requires a detailed, Omaha-specific video)

 

Wapedia – Poker probability (Omaha) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poker_probability_%28Omaha%29#1.
Drawing
High
8 Card, 9 Card, and 10 Card Poker Probabilities http://www.durangobill.com/Poker_Probabilities_8_Cards.html (if you could play any 5 of 9!)

Low
http://www.durangobill.com/LowballPoker/Lowball_Poker_8_cards.html

http://www.durangobill.com/LowballPoker/Lowball_Poker_8_cards.html (if you could play any 5 of 9!)

 

General Strategic Considerations

 

 

Starting-Hands Recommendations (“Ranges”)

Note: the recommendations on the following pages are general guidelines for PLO and Limit Omaha (also High/Low) based on the book, Pot-Limit Omaha Poker, The Big Play Strategy by Jeff Hwang, which is an absolute must-read for anyone planning to play Omaha. As with all advice you receive on any topic, this should be understood within the proper context, adjusted and sometimes even markedly altered according to table conditions, the respective limit, effective stack-sizes, player profiling, respective positions at the table, etc.

Full-Ring Starting Hands Recommendations

 

6-Max Starting Hands Recommendations

 

Betting/Lines of Play per Position

 

Post-Flop Play

Flop

Turn

River

 

Free Poker Resources and Equity Analysis Programs

Equity match-ups for hands and ranges and pre/post-flop probability calculators:

Pro Poker Tools (free equity analyses for multiple game types)

Tournament results tracker

Official Poker Rankings (player ratings based on online poker tournament results)

 

Strategy Recap and What’s to Come for Our Members

The fixed-limit Omaha 8 (Omaha high/low) strategies …

Especially when playing online poker where you can play multiple tables, begin with no more than four deep-stack tables at a time, focus on player profiling and in-position play, and most importantly, when playing big pots, only do so with big hands (top set and nut wrap and combo high/low draws). When drawing, only draw to the nuts in most cases. When using the big-stack strategy, if you don’t buy back up to 100 BBs per table, you will be in situations where your stack size drops, which decreases the implied odds you can expect when playing speculative hands. In tournaments, your stack size will necessarily fluctuate, which is why understanding short-stacked and mid-stacked play is crucial for optimal play in various phases of poker tournaments.

For our members, the next e-mail you’ll receive will be for … . Keep an eye on your inbox, and feel free to comment to this page below and drop us a line in the meantime if you have any questions.

 

Other Useful Tools for Maximizing Your Profit

 

Poker Tracking and Equity Analysis Software for Online Play

Omaha Manager (Dylan’s personal favorite online poker-tracking software for Omaha)

Holdem Manager (Dylan’s personal favorite online poker-tracking software for Texas Hold ’em)