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Omaha Pre-Flop Play

Omaha Pre-Flop Tips and Strategies

When playing poker there are tons of decisions for a player to make but none are more important than the decisions that are made before the flop. Before the flop players need to decide what hands to play, if they are going to bet and how much and they need an idea of what their actions may be depending on what the flop brings.

Although this is equally important in all poker games, this is exceptionally important in a game such as Omaha. In Omaha players need to be careful about the decisions they make because one fatal move can lead a player  up against a better hand, thus possibly resulting in losing chips; possibly a player's whole stack.

To avoid mishaps such as that, we have provided some factors below that a player should consider every time they are dealt cards in Omaha or Omaha Hi/Lo.

Omaha Pre-Flop Factors

Starting Hands

Starting hands in Omaha is single handedly the most important decision that a player can make before the flop because it defines the quality of hand they can expect to have after the flop. If you start with a bad hand, there is no reason to expect to flop the nuts and if you start with an excellent hand, you should expect to see some potential.
In Omaha Hi, players will want to focus on playing 4 cards that give them chances to premium high hands such as straights or better. Other hands such as pairs, two pairs and trips are ‘ok' but hardly ever hold up at showdown. So players should start with hands such as A-A-K-K, A-A-J-10, A-A-x-x, K-K-Q-Q and so forth. All hands are much better double suited so that players have ‘re-draw' opportunities to flushes.

In Omaha Hi/Lo, players will want to keep in mind that they will want to try to ‘scoop' the pot, so their starting hands must reflect this. Solid starting hands would include hands such as A-A-2-3, A-A-2-4, A-A-2-5 and any other hand that gives chances to win both the hi and the low pot. It is important to remember that starting with a high hand is ok, but high hands can only win the whole pot when a low isn't made which doesn't happen often. However, low hands can compete for both lo and high hands since they can make straights and flushes as well as any 5 cards below an 8 for the low. We have a seperate page dedicated to Omaha Hi Lo strategies offering a summary on scooping.

Now, players should also think about what they hope to accomplish on the flop when choosing their hand. Many questions should come to mind; what will I do on the flop? If I catch my hand on the flop, will I bet, check, or flat call? What will I do if I miss? These are all questions players should think about before playing their hand. This will make choosing hands much easier as well.

Betting Pre-Flop

Omaha tends to be a drawing game and a game that passive aggressive players like to play. How can you be both passive and aggressive? Well, players like to limp or flat call pre-flop to see flops for cheap and them amp up the aggression on the flop when they connect.

But this is a dangerous way of playing especially if you happen to be in the pot with them. Since they just limp in, you will have a hard time putting them on hand.

This means when you have a strong hand, it is especially important that you raise. By raising pre-flop, you accomplish a couple of things; one, you drive as many players away as possible increasing the chances of your hand holding up and two, you build a pot that you hope to win should your hand hit. Be sure to raise anywhere from 3 times to 5 times the size of the big blind depending on your opponents.

Under no circumstances should you limp in. There may be a few exceptions to this, but for the most part it is always better to put money in the pot when you feel like you have the best hand because hands can easily be countered by lesser hands on the flop or on the turn. Don't give your opponents the chance to do this.

Playing Pre-Flop in Omaha Poker

There are going to be plenty of decisions in poker to be made but the most important decisions happen before the flop. It is here that players lay the ground work for how the rest of the hand can play out by what hands they choose and how they decide to extract money for those hands. By making solid decisions pre-flop, players can make their later decisions on the flop and later streets that much easier which of course will make maximizing wins or minimizing loses that much easier as well. Once you've mastered the flop you can move on to your post-flop strategy in Omaha and Omaha Hi Lo.