The ten golden rules of Omaha 8 – Part 1

By | February 20, 2014

When in a multi-player pot, play for the nuts



Omaha and Omaha Hi-low are very different games to Hold’em. In Hold’em a pair of aces will frequently hold to the river, a set is a monster hand and a full house a licence to print money. In Omaha the hand values run differently. With the extra two cards in your hand, flushes and straights are common place. If you have an ‘underfull’ full house (for example the board reads Q-J-J-7-5 and you hold a pair of sevens in the hole) you will often be beaten by the ‘overfull’ of a player holding queens in the hole or by a Q-J.

What does this mean in practice? With three flush cards on board and a multi-player pot (three or more players) there is a good chance the flush is out there. If the board pairs, a full house is possible. The more players you are up against, the more likely it is you have been out-drawn. With two to a flush or a straight on board, one or several opponents may be drawing. If you hold A-3 for a low and there is significant action, assume someone else has A-2 unless you have a good read otherwise.

The implication: If drawing in a multi-way pot, ideally you should be drawing to a  strong two way hand (a good high and low), or to the nuts in one direction. Having position and being able to control the size of the bet by closing the action helps greatly. If drawing one way, you should draw to the nuts or risk losing all in an expensive pot. Don’t draw a one way hand to a bare straight with two to a flush on board. Don’t draw to a bare flush on a low board without the nut card in your hand. Even with a set, you need to be careful about drawing to the underfull, especially if out of position.

Note that if you play a pot heads up on the flop then different standards apply. Heads up, it’s not essential to hold the nuts, but you should look for a two way hand, or the nuts in one direction. But in a multi way pot, then drawing to a hand which is not the nuts is one of the quickest ways to lose your money.


This is an extract from Omaha 8 or Better – Winning at High-Lo Poker by Andy Mack

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Andy 'IggyPop77' Mack

About Andy 'IggyPop77' Mack

Andy's first love was chess. Three times a competitor in the British Championships, he has played regularly at international level, achieving the rank of FIDE Master. On a fateful day in 2007 Andy visited Las Vegas for the first time. Since that point, his attention has switched from chess to poker. Initially focusing on Hold'em, Andy has branched out, and has been working hard over the past couple of years to perfect his Omaha 8 game. He also plays all the other variants of the 8 Game. Away from poker, Andy's hero is rock star Iggy Pop. Andy claims to love Iggy's wild man image, although even his best friends would find it hard to compare Andy's solid poker style with that of the Godfather of Punk.