Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Play Omaha Poker


Play Before and After the Flop
Let's look at some advanced strategy on how you should play Omaha/8 during the course of a hand. In this section, we will examine playing before and after the flop.

Play Before the Flop

As in all forms of poker, there are only two reasons to
raise before the flop. You are either trying to build the pot or narrow the field. In low-limit Omaha/8, you will rarely narrow the field by raising. This means that most of the time the only reason to raise before the flop is to build the pot. Some advice has been given that would lead a person to believe it is not a good idea to raise before the flop in Omaha/8. Do not take this advice. It has already been discussed that you should be entering the pot with stronger hands on average than your opponents, so why wouldn't you want a bigger pot when you have a better chance to win than any other opponent? With your strongest hands, like A-2-3-6 or A-2-3-K, it is a good idea to build the pot.

These two hands are strong starters and warrant raises
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
These two hands are strong starters and warrant raises.

Make certain that you occasionally raise with a lesser hand and don't raise with a strong hand so your play is not too predictable.

Play After the Flop

Your play after the flop should be straightforward. If you have a good hand,
bet. If you have a chance to improve to the best hand, check and call if your pot odds are correct. If the flop didn't help your hand, fold to a bet. This may sound simple, but many players refuse to fold on the flop even when it is obvious they cannot win. Do not become too fond of your starting hand. Unlike Hold'em, even the best starting hand must have some help on the flop in Omaha/8 in order to have a chance to win.

Another problem that many inexperienced Omaha/8 players have is continuing to play after the flop when they have a chance to win only half the pot and it is likely they will have to split their half (thus, being quartered). An example of this is when you hold
A-2-9-T, the flop is 3-6-K, and there are three or more players in the pot betting and raising. You have almost no chance at a high hand, and if you do hit a low, it is likely that another player holds an A and a 2. Even worse, if an A or 2 hits on the turn or river, your low will be counterfeited. Continuing to play in situations like these will cost you more money in the long run than they will make for you.

In the final section, we will look at advanced tips for playing after the turn and on the river.

For more information on Omaha poker and other variations, try the following links: