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Poker Strategy | Omaha Poker Strategy

Omaha 8 – Top Five Beginner Mistakes

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The following are what this Writer believes are the top five beginner mistakes when playing Omaha High/Low (also known as Omaha 8 or Better).

#1 – Bluffing. While it is possible to bluff in Omaha 8, it is not a profitable strategy to employ often. Most times players remaining in the hand either have a chance at improving to the win, have a made hand already, or have a hand they believe will share the pot. The split pot aspect of Omaha 8 is what makes it such a difficult game to bluff in, because it is often correct for a player to call with a marginal low or high hand because the chances are their opponent will only have one of the two, and not both.

#2 – Overvaluing hands pre-flop. Way too many new players in Omaha 8 overvalue hands like A-A-8-9 rainbow or K-K-9-4 rainbow. While these hands are strong and are definitely playable, you can actually make an argument for folding these hands pre-flop if there is a lot of action as these hands don't hold up well in multi-way pots.

#3 – Overvaluing hands post-flop. On the same token as #2, too many new players don't recognize the types of hands that are strong post-flop. That same A-A-8-9 rainbow is complete trash on a 10-6-2 flop in Omaha 8. In Hold Em, it would be a very strong hand to have an over pair to the board but in Omaha the odds are you will almost always need two pair or better to win the high hand. Additionally, new players have a problem folding hands like straights, flushes, and sets, even though it is apparent that their hand is not best. Because of the fact that players receive four cards rather than the two they receive in Hold Em, you need to figure that more often than not the best possible hand will be achievable.

For example, say you have A-3-9-9 and the flop comes 9-5-3. You have top set, which is a very strong hand, and you should of course be doing everything you can on the flop to get chips in the pot. However, when the turn comes a 7 and the river does not pair the board, you need to be able to lay down your hand. This isn't saying you should always be afraid of monsters under the bed, but you should certainly recognize that the monsters are hiding there more often than they are in a game like Hold Em.

#4 – Not being patient. A new Omaha player sits down at a table and sees the chips flying left and right and wants to get in on the action. It is difficult to sit back and wait for a hand when you see everyone else having fun and raking in pots. If you pay attention to the players that are winning day in and day out though, you'll notice that they are usually doing precisely that – waiting for the right kinds of hands to play. They play hands in position and hands that have high value to begin with. They don't play in a raised pot unless they have either of those two types of hands. Learning to sit back and wait for the situations to come to you, rather than trying to force the action can be the best thing you do for your game.

#5 – Not understanding the math of the game. While some people enjoy the mathematical aspects of poker, it's not something everyone can easily grasp and is often difficult for new players to understand. However, it is important that you understand the basic odds in order to be a successful Omaha 8 player. How often will a low arrive when only one low card flops? What are the odds of hitting a full house when you have a set on a very scary board with one card left to come? Knowing these basic probabilities will help you make the correct decisions in regards to folding, calling, or raising and will help your long term profit margin.

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