Must-Know Tips for Switching From Hold’Em to Omaha


Must-Know Tips for Switching From Hold’Em to Omaha


A poker player checks their four hole cards. They have four aces. There is a small stack of chips behind their hand.

Must-Know Tips for Switching From Hold’Em to Omaha


A poker player checks their four hole cards. They have four aces. There is a small stack of chips behind their hand.

While Texas Hold’em is the poker game of choice for the majority, it’s by no means the only option. If you ever feel like making a change and trying something new, there are plenty of different ways to enjoy poker.

Omaha is one of the most popular alternative forms of the game, and it’s available at pretty much all online poker sites. Although prior experience with other poker formats is helpful to get started, its strategy is different enough that you should approach it from scratch. Here’s everything you need to start playing, including some top tips for switching to Omaha.

What Is Omaha Poker?

Almost everything about Omaha is exactly the same as Texas Hold’em. However, you’ll encounter two subtle but crucial differences. First of all, in a standard Omaha game, every player receives four hole cards instead of two.

Once you have your cards, you must use them to create the strongest possible five-card poker hand. But here’s the second catch: you’re only allowed to use two of them. In fact, to be precise, the Omaha poker rules state you must play exactly two hole cards when making your hand. 

Aside from that, Omaha is usually played as a pot-limit game rather than a no-limit. This means that bets can never exceed the total value of the current pot. When discussing online casino games, you’ll often see Omaha abbreviated as PLO. This simply stands for pot-limit Omaha. FLO refers to the less common game of fixed-limit Omaha.

Hand Reading

As previously explained, the key difference between Texas Hold’em and Omaha lies in how you form a hand. Here’s an example to help illustrate the difference between these two games. Picture a board containing a king, 10, 7, 4, and a 3. There are four spades out there.

Imagine this is a Texas Hold’em game, and you’re holding the ace of spades and the king of hearts. Congratulations, you’ve made the nut flush. 

Now think about this as an Omaha game, and you’re holding the same two cards alongside the two red jacks. Since this is an Omaha hand, you cannot make a flush. You must use two of the four hole cards, and you’re only holding one spade. As such, your best possible hand is a pair of kings.

Hand Strength

Whether you play poker online or in person, most winning Texas Hold’em poker hands tend to be two pairs or lower. But with Omaha, there are twice the number of cards in play, making it easier to pick up big draws. As a result, the average strength of winning hands is much higher.

The key thing to learn from this is that you’re unlikely to win the pot if you don’t have the best possible hand. Unlike Texas Hold’em, playing low cards, even if they’re suited or connected, is almost always a bad idea. 

Learning To Play Omaha as a Beginner

A card dealer spreads the deck of cards out face down on a poker table while shuffling them.

Even if you’re a seasoned poker player with countless hours under your belt, Omaha will take some getting used to. You should approach it as a complete beginner and always be willing to learn. 

It’s easy to play Omaha as if it were just like any other poker game. But this is a major trap that many players fall into. The differences between poker variations may be subtle, but they have a major effect on the required strategy. Here are some top tips to help you get started.

Build on Your Existing Skills

If you know how to play Texas Hold’em and have some experience in poker, you’ll have a slight advantage. While it’s true that you’ll need to learn and adapt how you play, your previous hours in the game are still valuable.

The hand rankings, for example, are exactly the same in Hold’em as in Omaha. Not only that, but you’ll already have practiced reading opponents and have experience with concepts such as hand ranges and pot odds. You might have even learned how to identify poker bots and collusion among cheaters. All of these skills are just as essential in Omaha as in other poker games. 

Play cautiously when you first start. While an understanding of the game is helpful, you shouldn’t be overconfident. Approach each hand as though you’ve never played any online poker tournaments or cash games before. 

Focus on Nut Draws

 A poker player holds four aces and smiles while giving a thumbs up. They have a large pile of poker chips in front of themselves.

The nature of Omaha means that flushes and straights are far more common. There’s a high probability that several people will possess hands containing suited cards. And this is far more important in Omaha than Texas Hold’em. 

While you have a higher chance of making flushes, so do your opponents. In fact, the chance of another player having the same draw as you is more than double what it would be in other classifications of poker. Simply having a good opportunity to hit a flush or straight isn’t enough.

For this reason, you must try to ensure you have the nut draw. If you don’t, someone else usually will. Your odds of winning a pot naturally increase if fewer players are involved. However, you should still focus on nut draws to ensure the best possible outcome. 

Be Wary of Bluffing

To learn how to play Omaha poker effectively, you should know that bluffing is a much less valuable tactic. This is especially true when playing the pot-limit version of the game, as you won’t be able to raise all-in. It’s tough to force your opponents to fold if you can’t make intimidating bets. Except for in very specific circumstances, you should generally avoid bluffing.

One example of a situation where bluffing can be useful is when several draws are clearly visible. For example, if the flop brings both a flush and straight draw, you could bluff if something gets there on the river. However, players are far more likely to call bets and raises in Omaha than in Texas Hold’em, even if they have weaker hands. 

As bluffing is less common, you should be wary of aggression from your opponents. It’s unlikely that they’re bluffing in many scenarios. However, as with any type of poker, you should pay attention to betting patterns to gain clues as to their intentions. 

Successfully Switching From Texas Hold’Em to Omaha

It’s one thing to know how to play poker but another thing entirely to understand strategy. The switch from Hold’em to Omaha is bigger than you might think. While these two games share many similarities, you’ll need different strategies to play them effectively. Try for yourself when you register with Borgata Online and put your newly acquired Omaha knowledge to the test.