Omaha, mainly played in pot limit variation, is a new trend in the poker world. The amount of players that are looking to either start playing this game or move from playing holdem is growing by day. However, while this is a variation of poker, there is so much different in terms of strategy, compared to the aforementioned holdem.
I am not really sure why there are so common mistakes made by holdem players, but the truth is that I went through them myself. Hence I feel knowledgable and competent enough to tell all about them in an article.
Overplaying Big Pairs
On the other hand, always play double suited aces strongly. You can flop sets, flush draws and backdoor flush draws. If the pot is played headsup, between you and one other player, you will often be able to win the pot by continuation betting too.
Big pocket pairs are great in hold’em, as you’ll often have an overpair on the flop and win a lot of money from your opponent who might think that his top pair is good to go. This isn’t the case in Omaha, as an overpair in a game where each player holds 4 hole cards is not a great hand.
Don’t get me wrong, aces and kings before the flop are still good hands. In fact, double suited aces are the best possible hand before the flop. They will often flop a flush draw or some backdoor equity. Of course, lets not oversee the fact that when they do flop a set, it will be the highest possible.
Yet, most players associate aces with trouble in Omaha. They simply raise or re-raise before the flop and stick their money in on just about any flop. That’s a huge mistake, as most hands that you will end up against will either have you crushed or have very good equity. One pair and three live cards is actually almost a coinflip versus an overpair. Add a flush draw to that and you are already way behind.
So how should you play aces in Omaha? Well, it’s not possible to explain it in a single paragraph, but remember that you are not happy to get all the money in with just an overpair. If your aces do not have suits, I would suggest to just call and go for set value.
Calling Down With a Flush
This is something I’ve seen as often as overplaying aces. New players and those coming in from holdem give way too much value to flushes, especially the small ones. Given that Omaha is played with 4 hole cards, it’s very likely that someone has a nut flush or at least one that is higher than your 8 high flush junk.
Calling down three streets, flop, turn and river, with a small flush will almost always be a huge mistake. Unless you have some great read about your opponent and his tendencies. After all, think what legitimate hand you can beat. Complete air or a blocker bluff, that’s all.
Thinking in Ranges
It’s all about ranges, not only in Omaha, but rather poker overall. I want to stress that it’s even more important in this game. Once you start to think about what your opponents range is and what your actual hand strength is, your life will become so much easier.
When you take a look at your hand, which is bottom 2 pair on a two flush, two straight board, it looks really good. However, if you’re facing a raise on a board like this, your hand is a complete garbage. How come? Well, unless your opponent is a maniac, he won’t be doing this without a set, top 2 pair or a huge draw. You are close to having no equity against the majority of his range. So, do you still like your two pair?
The Blocker Bluff
This is something I love Omaha for. The blocker bluff refers to holding certain cards in your hand that make it less likely or impossible for your opponent to hold the best hand. Most obvious example of this is when the board features 3 cards of the same suit and you hold the ace of that particular suit. If the board is not paired, you hold a nut blocker and none else can have the nuts. This enables you to confidently bet big, knowing that your opponents will be forced to fold.
Note that this is just a basic example of blocker bluffs and there is so much more you can learn about these. Just remember that you shouldn’t bluff players that love to call, known as calling stations.