Omaha 8’s nice
change of pace

Feb 12, 2007 3:26 AM

Carol, I know that you love no limit hold’em and most of the rest of the poker world is now playing this exciting game. But there are other poker games and today I want to talk to the folks about Omaha Poker.

OK-J Poker Tip of the Week

Most of the time I put this down at the bottom of the column, but today I want to devote all of the article to Omaha Poker tips!

The game of Omaha Poker can be played with two to 10 players and can be played in many different ways.

The game I am going to discuss is only one of the variations — Omaha Hi/Lo 8 or better Limit.

In this game you should first understand all of the rules of the card room that you are playing in. But most of the clubs have the following rules:

Each player receives four cards as his personal cards and, as in limit hold’em, there will be betting before the flop, which features three common cards placed in the center of the table.

Then there will be betting as in limit hold’em of $4 and four raises are permitted.

There are two blinds — assume you are playing in 4x8 thus there will be a $2 little blind and a $4 big blind. The first player to act on his hand will be the player to the left of the big blind and the betting would be $4 with a bet and four raises allowed.

After all players have acted on their hands, the dealer will burn and turn the over the fourth common card (the "turn" card). This card will be placed alongside the flop so that there are now four common cards in the center of the table.

Now, the betting doubles from this point until there is a winner — it will be $8 a bet and four raises allowed.

After all players have acted on their hands, the dealer will again burn and turn over the fifth common card (the "river" card). Note that a good dealer will count the stub of the deck, and if there were 10 players he will have only four cards remaining in the stub. This will verify that the count of the deck is okay.

In this game, most of the card rooms will have a kill button for a one/half kill, which means that if one player wins both high and low and if the pot contains more than $60 that the next hand will be played at a higher rate.

In this case it would be still a $2 small blind and $4 big blind, but if you won the pot that qualifies as a kill, you must now blind for $6 whatever position you are in.

This will cause sometimes three blinds — 2 and 4 and the 6. And the limit will change to a $6 & $12 game, but if the winner of the pot is in the little or big blind he will put up 6 rather than the 2 or 4 any place else the winner of a kill will put up a $6 blind, making three blinds

The killer will be the last to act, whatever position he is in. This rule will disappear after the flop and the rotation of betting will be as if there was not a kill button.

Now the pot will be awarded one-half to the player that can make the best limit hold em’ poker hand out of just two of his personal cards and three from the flop.

And the other half of the pot will be awarded to the player that has the best low hand, again using only two of his personal cards and three from the flop.

Now, the important stuff: how to win/

Play only the top 50 low hands. Go to my friend Bill Boston’s book on Omaha and he lists the 50 best starting hands. To make a low hand, here is No. 1 or something similar to this Ah2h, As3s.

Then when playing for the high, I like this hand — AhKh, AsQs — as the best starting hand for high only. And if there is no qualifying low hand the highest poker hand will receive the entire pot.

Yes, ties happen often and you can receive one-half of a half or however many ways that the players share the same hand.

Now, here is just one of the rules that I play by: There are really very few bad starting hands; you have four cards and the flop can be anything.

So most of the winners in this game call a lot and see the flop then release, unless they have high expectations of making the nuts — either high hand or low hand or both.

But here is the worst possible starting hand — 2h,2c,2s,2d — so avoid playing with three of a kind as in three deuces and a K.

Here is a good rule: After the flop if you cannot make the best possible poker hand either high or low, it is usually best to not make or call a bet or raise.

You must always use two and only two of your personal cards when making either a high or low.

You cannot make a low unless there are at least three unpaired cards on the board that are 8 and lower, and you have two personal cards that are 8 and below that are unpaired in your hand and do not pair one of the low cards on the board.

Play high just like limit hold’em, except you can only use two from your hand with three from the board.

Hope you like the game as much as I do! If you have questions email me at [email protected] and I will try to help you.

Until next time remember to stay lucky.