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The Last Bet

Omaha Poker : Maximizing Your Drawing Hands

A common question among new poker players who are looking at Omaha for the first time is, why do most people play it as a limit game?

The logic behind this is fairly simple to understand: the draw reigns supreme in Omaha poker and most players (understandably) will throw as many chips in the pot as they can before the flop, which means that the game's action rarely gets out of the gate. Omaha is generally played in brick and mortar casinos and at poker tournaments as a fixed-limit or pot-limit game to avoid this problem. That said: we offer no-limit Omaha poker to players who want to enjoy that variant of the game.

If you're a Texas Hold‘em player, you should understand how drawing hands work in fixed limit and pot limit Omaha poker games before you dive in. After that, you can start to consider No Limit Omaha poker as a viable way to play.

Fixed Limit Omaha: Drawing Hands and "Made" Hands

Let's begin with fixed-limit Omaha poker games, as this is generally where new players start to learn their way around the table. You should definitely consider betting and draw cards if you have the potential to draw to the nuts. Pot odds are on your side because the betting size is fairly small compared to the amount of money you can win thanks to the fixed limit and you're not risking much. However, if your hand is already made, you might find that it's best to just call or fold, such as in this example.

You're holding a pair of 4s and a pair of 10s: 44TT. The flop hits and it's another 4 and a pair of aces: 4AA. At this point, you have a great hand for the table: a full house, fours over tens. It's completely possible, however, that you have an opponent with an ace and that should stay in your mind, as they could end up making a more valuable hand ranking. If any card comes out that matches any of the other cards on the board, you should be wary. Discretion is the better part of valor, especially in a game like Omaha, where you have to have the nuts to win.

Pot Limit Omaha: Drawing Hands and "Made" Hands

Pot Limit Omaha requires a radically different approach to drawing hands and made hands. In a situation like the one described above, you can one-inch punch your opponents and turn the game into a three-way or even heads-up contest with a pot-sized bet. If you find that they're betting back to you or pushing just as hard, they're likely holding another ace themselves, but staying strong and working to dominate the board can have them believing you can build the better hand. There’s no need to be subtle in Pot Limit games.

No Limit Omaha: Drawing Hands and "Made" Hands

The same strategy that works well in Pot Limit Omaha can be applied to No Limit Omaha Poker with a fair amount of success. The main difference is that you must be aware of the pot odds at all times, as you can find yourself throwing good money after bad if you're not careful. Be a bit more caution, press your advantages well and No Limit Omaha poker can be profitable for you.

The military has a term called "situational awareness" that describes knowing not just what you're doing, but understanding how your opponent views your actions and how they'll react. In other words, it's about understanding how the next few moments will unfold and what you can do to alter the other participants' behavior through your own. Good drawing strategy in Omaha poker requires strong situational awareness.

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