Omaha is an action game, much like Texas Holdem. It can also be extremely profitable, as many players float over from Holdem and play without adapting to the new game.
There are many similarities between the two games in the way they are played. Like Holdem, you are dealt hole cards that no-one else sees. Also as in Holdem there is a flop, then a turn, then a river card, which produces five community cards on the board that players use to complete their hand.
So far so good, but there are very important distinctions between the two games that if you don’t understand you will more than likely lose your chips. In Omaha you are dealt 4 hole cards rather than two, but you must use exactly two of them, not one, or three. This simple rule catches most new players out at least once – don’t let it be you!
Starting hand requirements in Omaha are broad. Many hands are playable, from AAKK double suited to 5678. It is always advisable for your four cards to work together. This means all four cards must be useful, so suited connectors are perfect. Unlike in Holdem, the absolute best starting hand is debatable. Heads up it is probably AAKK double suited; in a full ring game it is perhaps AA10J double suited, as this hand can hit a high number of straights and flushes, and so plays well multi handed.
As there are so many playable hands, you will find yourself in many more pots than in Holdem. This is normal, as is folding the vast majority of hands on the flop. Omaha is a nuts game; that is, if you don’t have the nuts, a draw to the nuts, or some other re-draw when the flop hits, you had better fold your hand. Beware though, as even if you do hold the nuts at this point, the next two cards could easily snap your straight. Always be aware of possible out draws. If there are three suited cards on the board, it is very easy for someone to hold a flush; much easier than in Holdem. If the board has paired, beware the full house or four of a kind. These high hands are much more common in Omaha. It is not impossible for a pot to be won with a pair or high card, it just doesn’t happen very often.
After the flop you should have a very good idea if you are going to see the hand through or not. Play your strong hands aggressively, and your drawing hands quietly or slowly. Stay away from big pots unless you have the nuts, and if there are still cards to come watch out for out draws.