4 Ways to Play Omaha Poker like a Pro

Four Aces in Front of Man Wearing Sunglasses and a Poker Room

Omaha poker is one of the gambling activities I use on a regular basis to turn a long term profit. If you want to be an advantage gambler, you have to take advantage of every potential profitable situation you can find. If you’re not profiting from playing Omaha now, you need to seriously consider adding it to your advantage play options.

One of the best things about Omaha is there are many different options. This leads to many players struggling with the rules, which lets you make more money when they make mistakes. Here are the different Omaha options:

  • Limit Omaha high
  • Limit Omaha high low
  • Pot limit Omaha high
  • Pot Limit Omaha high low

Omaha can be played using no limit and spread limit structures, but most Omaha games are spread using one of the four structures listed above.

When you simply master the rules for each variation of Omaha, you have an advantage over many players. Most Omaha players started by playing Texas holdem. They see an Omaha game and see that they get four hole cards instead of two, and think that it must be easier to make a good hand because they have twice as many cards.

I’ve won many real money poker pots over the years from players who didn’t understand the rules. When you start playing Omaha high low you’re going to see even more players make mistakes because they don’t understand how to read low hands and how they work.

Once you learn the rules of Omaha, there are only a few things standing between you and consistent profit. You’re going to learn what these are in the four ways to play Omaha poker like a pro listed below.

1 – Master the Rules

As I mentioned in the opening section, one of the biggest advantages as an Omaha player is completely understanding the rules. If Omaha was the first version of poker you learned the rules aren’t overly complicated. But Omaha is rarely the first poker variation you learn.

Texas holdem players are familiar with the basic way Omaha is played because the flop, turn, and river are the same, and you start with hole cards. But there’s a big difference between the two games. Of course, you start with four hole cards instead of two, but this doesn’t lead to the most critical mistake.

When you play Texas holdem you can use both of your hole cards, one of your hole cards, or neither of your hole cards to make your best five card hand. When you play Omaha you have to use exactly two of your hole cards and exactly three cards from the board to make your best hand.

If you’re playing Omaha high low, the rules are more complicated. You still have to use two hole cards, but you can use two different cards for your high hand and your low hand.

Here’s an Omaha high low example:

You have ace, two, three, king in your hand and the board is ace, ace, four, six, and king.

For your high hand you use the ace and king from your hand to complete a full house. For you low hand you use the two and three from your hand for a low of ace, two, three, four, six.

Closeup of an Omaha Poker Hand

The other complication when you play Omaha high low is learning how to rank low hands. I’ve seen a few different ways to learn how to rank low hands, but the easiest way I’ve found is to read the five lowest cards backwards like a number. The lowest number wins.

Here’s an example of two different Omaha poker low hands:

Ace, two, three, six, eight

Two, three, five, six, seven

The first hand, listed backwards, gives you a number of 86,321. The second hand is 76,532. This means that the second hand is ranked lower than the first hand.

Another thing pro Omaha players know involves something called counterfeit protection. Sometimes when you have a made low hand on the flop or turn, a card comes on the turn or river that eliminates, or counterfeits, your hand.

Here’s an example of getting counterfeited:

You have ace, two, king, queen, and the flop is three, four, six. Currently you have the best possible low hand. The turn is a jack, and the river is an ace. You still have a low hand, but now the best possible low hand is ace, two, three, four, and five. An opponent with a two and five now has the best low hand.

When you’re playing in a hand with a low without any counterfeit protection, you have to be careful building a big pot unless you also have a strong high hand. This limits your potential profit. Counterfeit protection is when you have a third card in your hand that still allows you to complete a good low hand even if one of your low cards gets counterfeited.

2 – Stools with Two Legs Fall Over

Omaha poker pros know that the best starting hands have four cards that work together in some way. One of the biggest mistakes that Omaha players make is playing hands with only two good cards, or two cards that work together.

Texas holdem players who give Omaha a try are used to making good money from hands like ace ace and king king. When they see a pair of aces or kings in an Omaha starting hand they tend to overvalue them.

This doesn’t mean you should fold these hands, but you need to look at your other two cards to see how they help or hurt your chances.

Compare the two following hands:

Ace, ace, seven, nine, with four different suits.

King, king, queen, jack, with both kings suited to one of the other cards.

The first hand has a pair of aces, but basically no other way to win. Unlike Texas holdem, a pair of aces almost never wins an Omaha hand without improving. This means that you’re probably going to need to improve to at least a set of aces, and more likely a full house, in order to win the hand.

The second hand has a wide range of possible options. You can complete a high full house, straights, and flushes. A king high flush isn’t a great Omaha hand, but if the suited ace lands on the board you have the highest possible flush.

If you want to be a winning Omaha poker player, you need to fold almost every hand that doesn’t have at least three cards working together. The only exception you should consider until you’re already a winning player is a hand with pocket aces that you can see the flop for cheap. And then you should fold on the flop unless you improve a great deal.

3 – Win the War and Forget about Small Battles

In most forms of poker, there is more than one way to win. Some poker players win a bunch of small and medium pots and avoid losing big pots. Some players avoid wasting money fighting over small pots and focus on winning a few big pots every playing session.

Closeup of a Ten, Jack, Queen, and King of Spades

While there isn’t a 100% best way to be a winning Omaha player, over the years I’ve found that the best way to make money using my playing style is to avoid most small and medium pots and win a few big pots.

Omaha hands can be wild. You can go from having the nuts to losing a big hand in the flip of a single card. You can be the favorite to win the hand by a large margin to getting crushed on the river. But there are ways to play Omaha that limit your ups and downs and use these things to your advantage.

When you play limit Omaha you have to win more pots to show a good profit than when you play pot limit, but you still need to focus on winning big pots. When you play pot limit Omaha, you can win two or three big pots during a playing session and show a big profit, as long as you avoid wasting money fighting for small pots.

4 – Use the Odds to Win

If you want to be a winning poker player in any variation of the game you need to learn how to use odds. You need to learn what pot odds are and how to use them to make profitable decisions. You also need to learn everything you can about expectation and expected value, which also has quite a bit to do with odds.

The good news is that Omaha is one of the best forms of poker for players who take the time to learn how to use odds to win.

You start with more cards in your starting hand than in Texas holdem, so you know the value of twice as many cards when you start.

This advantage continues throughout the hand, so you always have more information to use to make playing decisions than when you play Texas holdem. Most Omaha players don’t use this information correctly, so you can gain a big advantage when you use odds and expected value.

Conclusion

Omaha is one of the best forms of gambling if you’re looking for a realistic way to make long term profits. Most low and middle limit games are filled with players who make many mistakes, which make it easier for pros to make money.

If you simply follow the four steps on this page you can start making consistent profits at the Omaha tables. Master the rules, make sure you stool has at least three legs, use the odds, and win the big battles and you’re going to be a winning Omaha poker player.