Get a clear understanding of Omaha Hi Starting Hands.

Omaha Hi Starting Hands

Omaha Holdem uses a three-card flop, then a turn and a river. Players are dealt four hole cards in the pocket, facedown. At the showdown, the winning hand will be the best combination of three cards from the board (aka the community cards - flop, turn and river) and two cards from the pocket.

Unlike Texas Holdem, you must use exactly three board cards and two from your hand. No more, no less.

Omaha Holdem is usually played at the Pot Limit and referred to as PLO (Pot Limit Omaha). It's not as popular as No-Limit Texas Holdem, but it is very popular with plenty of games running at all times at online poker rooms. Omaha is great for three reasons:

  1. the best hand almost always wins,
  2. bluffing is not a great strategy,
  3. and, it requires some card sense and knowledge of odds and outs.

Also, many people play Omaha Holdem thinking it's the same as Texas Holdem. They play too many pots, see too many flops and bet big trying to bluff right down to the river. It can be a lucrative game if you play it with at least a little semblance of strategy.

The best way to build your Omaha Holdem strategy is to pick out starting hands to play with and fold the rest. As you get more experience, you can alter this strategy a bit, and add in more playable hands.

Here are some hands that you can raise with from any position, pre-flop, in Omaha Holdem. Note that that wherever possible, if two of the cards are of the same suit, that improves your chances to win the hand considerably as flushes play a big part in PLO!

  • Ace Ace King King (AAKK): has great full house potential and contains the two biggest pocket pairs,
  • Ace Ace Jack Ten (AAJ10): nut straight, royal flush and general flushes are a potential here as well as a full house with Aces up,
  • Ace Ace Queen Queen (AAQQ): first and third top pair, if two suited, flush potential, full house possibilities, straights and what-not; it has loads of options to win,
  • Ace Ace Jack Jack (AAJJ): top pair and a decent middle pair. You could still pull out the nut straight and a nut full house as well as a royal flush or even four of a kind if you get lucky,
  • Ace Ace Ten Ten (AA1010): we're getting further away from the nuts but either of these would still be a good Texas Holdem starting hand so see the flop with 'em and then make a decision,
  • Ace Ace NineNine (AA99): this is a good hand; but, if you don't hit an ace or trip nines on the flop, you may want to think about folding post-flop. It could be a trouble hand,
  • Ace Ace X X (AAXX): this is a hand in whicn you have pocket aces with any two other cards. The hope is that you'll hit four of a kind with those Aces or a full house with Aces full using the board. Suited cards are helpful and connectors can really help you get some much needed outs if you don't hit the Aces. Play cautiously post-flop and don't call a river bet if you don't make better than two-pair. Two-pair is the hand that loses most often in Omaha Holdem,
  • King King Queen Queen (KKQQ): if the kings and queens are suited, you are in business. This will probably pan out into a flush for you. If not, make sure you trip up on the flop or have a nut-straight draw. Otherwise, fold immediately.

Some guides will tell you to play lower connectors, preferably with two suited but these cards can be troublesome for new players. You don't want to be looking at the idiot (lower) end of the straight or a baby flush (a flush made up of low cards), which you have a high likelihood of doing. It's too frustrating ... in the beginning.

We can't guarantee that you'll be a winning Omaha player if you stick to just these hands. But you have a good shot at becoming one if you do. You'll have a leg up on the competition at least. Good luck at the tables!

Apply your Omaha technique at Pokerstars, the leading online poker room.