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The difference between Omaha and Texas Hold'em

Hands odds

A common mistake that Hold'em players do when they switch to Omaha is to think that the games are almost the same. There are some similarities, the five community cards being the most obvious. But the difference is greater than most people think.

Card combinations

In Omaha you have four cards and you have to use two of them, while you can use any five card combination in Texas Holdem. This means that you have six two card combinations in Omaha. A lot of beginners think this enables them to play more starting hands, but actually the opposite is true. The reason for this is that your opponents also have a lot more possible combinations. Actually, you should be more selective when it comes to starting hands in Omaha.

Starting hands

A rule of thumb is that all your starting hands need to be coordinated - the cards should be working together, for example, four straight cards or a double suited hand. If one card does not work with the rest, the hand is usually not worth playing. Three or four cards in the same suite are also bad, because this limits your flush possibilities. Suited hands should contain the ace, because Omaha is a game where you only want to be drawing to the nuts. If you get a flush, but do not have the ace, there is a big risk that you will find yourself with the second best hand, which can cost you a lot.

A game of draws

Because of all the possible combinations, the best hand on the flop usually does not hold up. Omaha poker is a game of draws, so a lot of times you have to invest a lot of money without having a made hand. But when in Texas Hold'em 9 outs is a good draw, you may want something like 16 outs or more to stay in after the flop in Omaha. And remember, in order to be drawing, make sure you are drawing to the nuts.

Big pairs

Because Omaha is a drawing game, hands like pocket aces are not worth as much. Even with a hand like that you want to improve it to stay in after the flop. Overplaying big pairs is a common beginner's mistake in Omaha.

Staying in after the flop

It can not be pointed out enough that Omaha is a game of draws. This means that hands like two pairs are really tricky to play. You should play them really carefully, and usually fold them if you do not have the top two pair. The same goes for sets. Chances are that more than one player hits a set on the flop and if you do not have the top set you should be careful. When it comes to draws straight and flush draws are usually worthless if the board has paired. And if you draw to a straight, make sure it is in the high end.

Making the switch

The switch from Hold'em to Omaha takes some practice. Be really selective regarding starting hands in the beginning. Once you get a hang of it you can start playing some more hands. But remember that Omaha is a game of draws - a lot of times you will need the nuts to win.

 
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