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Omaha Hi Basic Starting Hands

Article By: Claire Garcia

Omaha high is becoming more popular game Texas Hold’em players look for other games to round out their poker skills. This transition can be rough for Texas Hold’em players that fail to adapt to the differences between Omaha and Texas Hold’em.

One of the main differences between Texas Hold’em and Omaha is the importance of hand selection pre-flop. Skilled Texas Hold’em players can play weak hands like 8-10 suited and 3-5 suited profitably in certain circumstances. Playing weak starting hands in Omaha, however, rarely pays off.

The reason weak starting hands perform so poorly in Omaha is because Omaha is a game of the nuts. In Texas Hold’em, top pair and two pair are strong hands. In Omaha, these hands frequently get beat by straights, flushes, and full houses.

The good news is that good starting hands for Omaha Hi are fairly intuitive. Here are some examples of good starting hands in Omaha.

Good Omaha Hi Starting Hands

Large Two Pair- Hands like AAKK, AAQQ, KKQQ, etc. are great starting hands in Omaha high. When you play a hand like this, you’re hoping to flop trips so you can draw to a full house. These hands also have the possibility to makes straights if your two pair are connected. If your hand is double suited like A(h)K(h)A(s)K(s), it is even stronger because it makes the flush possible.

High Wraps- These are hands like KQJ10 and 9876. Hands like these increase the likelihood of flopping straights. Once again, your hand becomes much stronger if it’s double suited.
However, not all “pretty” hands are good hands in Omaha. Here is a list of pretty hands that you should avoid when playing Omaha Hi.

Poor Omaha Hi Starting Hands

Trips- A hand like AAA9 or QQQ8 may look good in your hand, but it’s worthless to play. You’ll have to catch the case A or Q to make trips and have any kind of hand.
Quads- The only pocket hand worse than trips is quads. When a Texas Hold’em player looks down and sees AAAA or 9999, their heart skips a beat. However, these hands are worthless. You have no chance of flopping a set, no chance of making a flush, and a miniscule chance of making a straight by the river. The best you can hope for when you hold a hand like this is two pair; a hand that loses frequently in Omaha.

Flush- It’s not good when all your hole cards are suited. The more of a suit you hold in your hand, the less of a chance you have of making a flush. It’s much better to be double suited so you have a chance to make a flush with two different suits.

Remember that you must use two of your hole cards and three of the community cards to make your hand in Omaha. Large two pair and wraps are strong starting hands in Omaha. These hands become even stronger if they’re double-suited.

Tight is right in Omaha. Practice proper hand selection and watch your profits soar!