Most online poker sites will probably offer Omaha poker in addition to the Texas Hold’em poker game which is their main offering. Online Omaha poker is actually a different form of Hold’em in the sense that it also uses community cards in the center of the table combined with hidden player hole (or face-down) cards. It is actually the second most popular or common form of poker in the world, including the US. It is certainly amazingly popular looking at online poker rooms. This was especially true in European real money online poker sites.
All this is not to say that you can be a great Omaha player overnight. Many people come from their comfortable online poker sites playing Hold’em and think their skills will immediately transfer over into the Omaha poker online category. Unfortunately, this is simply not the case. There are special strategies and skills that must be learned. The starting hand guidelines are entirely different. Even the level of aggression you must show in Omaha is a lot different. In actuality, all of these different skills bode really well for those US players looking to play at the best, top rated real cash online poker sites.
The primary difference between Omaha and Texas Hold’em in terms of the structure of the game is that players will be dealt four hole cards (face-down) at the beginning of the game instead of two. This changes the game quite a bit. It should also be noted that in order to make a hand at these online poker sites, you must use exactly two of those hole cards (not three or four) and three of the community cards from the center of the table. This way, players will not have the opportunity to hide a very good hand—that would make the game simply difficult!
After those initial four hole cards are dealt there is a betting round and the game proceeds pretty much as it does with Hold’em. Then comes the flop—three cards turned face-up in the center of the table all at once, starting the community cards which can be used by all in order to make their hands. A betting round follows the flop. Then another card (fourth street, or the turn) is turned face-up in the center, followed by a betting round. Finally, the last card is dealt face-up in the center. This is called the river and it is also followed by a betting round and then the final showdown should more than one player remain in the hand at the online poker room.
You will also find that Omaha is very rarely offered in a no limit form at most of the best online poker sites. The structure of the game, especially the fact of players having more cards, makes this work a lot better as either a straight limit or pot limit offering. Indeed, this is what most online poker rooms have chosen to do, although you will also be able to find poker sites offering straight limit games.
The first thing you need to remember when playing Omaha at online poker sites is that this is NOT Texas Hold’em. This is a concept many players at online poker rooms have some difficulty getting out of their minds, sometimes even very experienced players. Hold’em is considered to be a pre-flop and flop game, whereas in Omaha the pre-flop is much less important than the flop and the turn. You can expect to conduct a lot more drawing to rather high hands. Generally speaking, the winning hands are much higher in Omaha than almost every other traditional form of online poker being offered at most of the best American websites.
You will still find that strict hand selection and being extremely disciplined about what you play is incredibly important. You need to understand the criteria for starting hands, including which are playable and which are not. Stick to this guide until you have enough experience to know when the situation will allow for some bending of those initial rules and strategies. Also, be more disciplined about selecting tables (this is actually very important in all games on online poker sites).
Focus a lot of attention on reading your opponents at online poker sites. Admittedly, this is a different skill than in playing and reading others offline, but is very important. This is a good reason to use poker rooms with software that allows for note taking on various opponents. If you run into the same person more than once, your previous intelligence gathering sessions will be automatically displayed.
Omaha online poker rooms demand your ability to become aggressive when the time is right. In fact, this timing is probably much more than with every other form of online poker. When you have solid draws and the perceived best or top hand, you need to be ready to act and back it up. However, there is a fine line between being aggressive and going on tilt; you must have the discipline to know the difference and maintain the proper perspective.
When playing at Omaha poker sites, the first thing you are looking for in your starting four down cards are four cards that all work together. Even if you have a single pair, this is generally not good enough. Remember that Omaha is a nut game and therefore double-suited hands with high-value connectors and pairs are what you want. Good, playable starting hands that hold straight, flush, and set potential are ones to really pump the pot.
With this in mind, here is a list of the top 30 starting Omaha online poker hands. They must all be double-suited:
Even if these hands are not doubled suited, they are still all quite powerful and should certainly be played. You will probably do well by raising with these starting hands as well. Having some situational awareness is also important to online Omaha poker, as with many other real money games.
What you really need to watch out for are trap hands. These are hands which give you just enough to make you the second best. They include small pair low wrap and small flush hands. Always remember that Omaha is a nut game. If the winner has a full house, it will probably be someone with Aces full. Likewise, the flush winner will also probably be an A-K high flush, or something similar. Never draw to a hand that only has the potential to make you second (or worse) best. That is how you lose your whole stack in the game.
The later rounds of Omaha play at online poker rooms really demand a lot of coverage. The turn, for example, is a very important play because it solidifies made hands, it can even break made hands, kills any option for flopped backdoor draws, and may even create new draw potential. This is really when you can be much more decisive about whether or not to continue with your hand. Another reason to really think this move through is because now the pot size is probably a lot larger, which means bigger bets can be made (in the pot limit or PLO version).
Without getting too deep into the math, in most cases you should really be looking at the number of outs you have to beat whatever you think your opponent has. At this stage of the game, you should have at least 13 outs to make a call. This will leave you slightly less than 2-1 against (13/44=29.5%) improving, which is going to be about what the pot odds are offering you.
Think of the river as the time for value betting. With what you think is the winning hand, try to real money maximize winnings and conserve losses if it is not. If you do hold the nuts, think about what your opponent might hold and then make your move. In the case of a missed draw, either give up or try a big bluff if a scare card hits, but this is risky. Also, think about the tendencies of your opponent and what he/she might try—like maybe running a bluff themselves?
When playing Omaha at US online poker sites in 2023, there are a number of common mistakes. Most beginners are guilty of at least one of these. Sometimes even experienced online poker players make these as well; it is certainly not easy to make a complete transition from another game to Omaha. For Hold’em players, the most common of these mistakes is thinking a good hand in that game will stand up in Omaha; normally, it won't and overplaying such hands will cost you a bunch of real money, even in limit Omaha.
As always, playing in too many hands. This is a huge mistake no matter which type of games are offered by the various poker sites you frequent. The solution to this is learn more discipline and stick to the starting hand guidelines listed above.
Not being aggressive enough is also a mistake. Even pre-flop if you have a premium hand, it should probably be raised. Come at them from a position of strength rather than just limping in and limiting the amount of real cash you can win at your online poker rooms. By the same token, if you have the nuts, don't just check and allow your opponents to see cards for free. A raise might not be in order every time, since you need to consider trapping and leading, but at least bet.
If you are beat or just have a weak hand, don't make the mistake of thinking it will change. Remember that other players are also improving their hands. If you have weak holdings and a low number of outs and/or draws, then just fold if you are facing a bet.