Tired of No Limit Hold’em? Play Omaha

Dec 16, 2008 5:00 PM
Back in the Saddle by Johnny Hale |

My wife Carol and daughter OK-Sarah love to play No Limit Hold’em. However, today I want to discuss Omaha Hi/Lo 8 and Better.

I’ve noticed many poker players are growing tired of No Limit Hold’em and are interested in trying some of the other games of poker like Omaha.

The game can be played No Limit, but we’ll address limit games since they don’t carry the risk of playing without a cap on the betting and is not a big wager poker game.

You receive four as your personal cards, compared to two in Hold’em. If you love to play poker in an effort to win the jackpot (as casino poker rooms offer) it is possible to accumulate a large amount of money without winning the pot if you suffer a bad beat.

The Orleans poker room where I play a lot of $8 and $16 limit Omaha Hi/Lo 8 and Better offers a bad beat jackpot. It’s possible to win a jackpot of several thousand dollars even if losing a few hands to your opponent.

Hold’em is a seven-card game where you have two personal cards and as many as five common cards in the center of the poker table.

Omaha is a nine-card game where you have four personal cards and the same five common cards in the center of the table. All the players that are still in the pot at the end of the hand may make their best possible high-card poker hand by using any two of their personal four cards combined with any three of the five common cards.

The best hi poker hand will win one/half of the total pot. The other one/half of the poker pot is awarded to the player who can use any two of the personal four cards combined with any three of the common cards to make their best possible low poker hand. No cards can be bigger than an 8 without a pair.

It is possible to win high or low or both sides high pot. Also, the best low hand that qualifies will receive half the pot. This is called a scoop.

When playing Omaha Hi/Lo here are my tips of the week:

• There are very few really bad starting hands, only bad flops. You are given four cards (these are your personal cards). No one else but you can use your personal cards.

• The very best starting hand is like this Ah;Ac;2h;3c. My friend Bill Boston has an excellent book called "Omaha Poker." One important section of Bill’s book is on starting hands. Bill has rated the 50 best starting hands. I recommend this book to you.

• The worst starting hand in 2c,2h,2s,2d. The best hand you can make is two deuces. You cannot make a straight or a flush, but the one exception is making a full house. That can happen only if there are trips in the common five-card flop.

• Never ever raise at the showdown (unless an expert) with the nut low hand. The nuts is the best possible hand, in low (A,2,3,4,5.)

• Be very careful when playing head up (only two of you). If one player is going low and the other high, each will win one-half of the pot. The house never loses and will rake the pot (max $4 in Vegas) and both players will lose $2 if playing in the small and big blind.

Email me at [email protected] with any question about playing Omaha hi/lo 8 & Better. When you are a winner it is time to go home and count your money there.

Until next time remember to Stay Lucky!!