Pot Limit Omaha Basic Guide

Although it may not seem, the Pot Limit Omaha in its high variant (i.e., higher hand is the winner) is the form of poker that moves more money in less time. Why? Because it is a game of nuts, and hence it is a game with cap, otherwise this game would become a real savagery.

In Texas Hold'em a pair of aces is 80% chance of victory when faced with another pair, in Omaha doesn’t exist such difference between two hands, its quite normal when 2 hands are facing, they are 60-40 on each other.

The concept of "pot limit" looks like it will slow down the action, BUT it is just the opposite. If there is no limit means you can lose your stack in one hand and that makes many people back down. Also something else that appends is that some people that win a couple of good hands remove themselves from the table with fear of loosing their gains so far in one unique play. By limiting the bet to the pot THEN people play more confident and think they have their losses limited... BIGG Mistake, Pot limit is a game of nuts and is very difficult to let go of your cards once you have bet. As one colleague says: "When you bet the pot, there is no STOP ;-)". In high limits it’s common to even put a maximum cap. This game really is much more aggressive than Hold'em No Limit but it doesn’t seem so at first sight.


We are dealt 4 hole cards, but you can only use 2 of them to match 3 of the community cards. There is a round of betting pre-flop, where the maximum bet is the amount of the pot at that time. It brings to the table 3 cards face up (the flop), second round of betting. Remember, the maximum bet is the pot at that moment in time when is your turn to bet. It's dealt one more card face up (turn), third round of betting. Last card facing up is dealt (river); last round of betting. Make the best move.

Differences Hold'em

Let us discuss the main differences that a regular Hold'em player can find I Omaha.


Omaha is dealt 4 hole cards to each player and you must NECESSARILY use two cards from the 4 that you have been dealt to complete your hand along with three community cards. This implies that the correct reading of the play is VITAL.
Example: My cards Q-Q-K-9 and in table 8-T-J-Q-K. Needless to say that ALL the players who come from Hold'em bet their shirt and their mother if necessary in this hand - "I have full! And not just any full, we have the nuts! "-. And said and done, we pick up with all soul and character in the above board and commit all our chips to.
Showdown comes and the coins go to the opponent shows A-K-x-x. We start to scream…- "How is it possible? This must be a bug in matrix… "-. A failure of matrix ... WE ARE PLAYING OMAHA HIGH dear friend, you were playing like if you where in Hold'em. Let us understand that play, ONLY with 2 cards of our 4 hole cards, WE CAN NOT GET FULL. Ohhhh ... now things start to get ugly. We return to read our hand and UNDERSTAND that we can only play with 2 cards. "Ummmmm, then do I have the only trips of Q?" New error. The best possible combination of 2 of your cards with 3 community cards is 9-T-J-Q-K, you have the straight to K. Explanation of the fault: We combine 9 and a Q of your hole cards with T, J and K of the community cards.

- "Damm! I have straight to the K, I have the nuts! I have the nuts! How did I lose? "- Dear friend you don’t have the nuts, the nuts is the royal flush. Get back to the dealer dialog box to reread the Summary and you realize that the opponent was playing with an ace and a K, so his move was, A-K-Q-J-T.

- "I do not think I will like this game" -. Dear friends, YES you will like this game, because if it took you gazillion books to understand how the game works, IMAGINE the possibilities for the character who sits at the table in another computer in the other side of the world.

Another Turn of the Screw

We have A-x-x-x and the board is A-A-4-4-8, we apparently have full of aces and four BUT unless our remaining 3 hole cards have a 4 or 8, we don’t have the full, what we have is a Simple trio.


Consider the color play of the project apparently will not differ as we play in Hold'em, BUT if there is an important nuance that we know, is the slow-play. Imagine that I have Ad-Jd-x-x and on the turn we have Kd-8d-2d-x, the first intention is to slow-play, even risking the river to drop a card that matches and pairs any of the board and the opponent pull out a full to sink us. BUT lets go backwards and review the situation, I have the nut color (in the turn) and I think a good idea to let the river to fall so that if it fell another card of diamonds to connect someone with the Qd. No point in doing this, we must go back to before and remember we play with our 2 cards and 3 cards from the table, we can not use 4 cards from the table. The “Qd” card has NO color, unless you have another card from his hole cards diamond and if so, DO NOT MAKE SENSE to slow play. Reread the explanation and you will understand.

Another aspect of flush is the hole cards. When we have something like Ah-Jh-4h-2h, our first impression is that we have great cards, especially if we come to play 5 card draw poker, hehehe. Nothing is further from reality, our only option is flush draw (we have the Ace) BUT we have 2 extra cards in our hand from same color than we needed, these two cards are like throwing stones are our own roof, they are shortening our odds, because if you have some odds, 2:1 if I connect the color on the flop, I have them because ii count 9 extra cards from same suit on the deck to hit my flush (which is to be distributed) to help me get the color (4 + 9 = 13). Sure, but if I have 2 of these 9 cards, the calculations are not correct. The chance to hit any of these cards increases to almost 3:1 since the flop and since there is one card missing to see the odds would be in the order of 5:1. In conclusion the Flush play with 4 hole cards of the same suit and no other possible play to support it is NOT a good hand.

The straight

Here is the core of the question, In Omaha there is a new type of straight beyond those we know of Hold'em. Let's review:

Inside straight draw (Belly-buster straight)

It is called like this when we need a card to complete our straight and this straight is neither at the end nor the beginning.
Ex: My cards are 7-9 and the flop 6-10-K. Our play is 6-7-9-10 and we lack the 8 for our straight. It could also have a 2-card inside straight, why not? My cards 6-9 and the flop 5-J-A. Our play is 5-6-9 and we need 7-8 to complete our hand. In this case straights are called "runner runner", because we need the turn and river to complete. This move is highly unlikely to happen and has other inherent problems. Imagine you have AA before the flop (5-J-A) and a friend plays with 6-9, you raise and he calls to hit a 2-card inside straight draw and beat you, that is a massive bad beat! Now I say that this is highly unlikely, BUT It happens eventually. ;-).

What is the problem of inside straight draws? Well, we have little chance of completing it, because it only goes with ONE card. In Hold'em inside straight draws are a very bad move unless it is supplemented with another principal, you're in Omaha and forgetting the issue.

Double inside straight draw (Double Belly-buster straight)

Complex straight draw that although as an inside draw, behaves like an open ended straight draw. I'll explain: I have Q-10 and the flop A-J-8. I need the 9 and the K to complete the straight. This straight is very difficult to read in Hold'em and a very powerful weapon in NL.

Open ended straight

Happens when we need 1 card to get our straight and we have 2 options to do so, these 2 options usually are the end and the beginning of the straight draw cards.
Ex: My cards 6-9 and the flop 7-8-K. Our play is 6-7-8-9 and we need 10 or 5 to complete the hand. This is a good option in a Multiplayer pot in Hold'em, Omaha is not bad but still not the best option.

Idiot Straight

This is a variant of the open straight draw, which as its name hints us, will not be a good option. The idiot straight is an open straight draw BUT, in fact, has the same outs as a gutshot, 4 outs, or 1 card. Ex: I have 5-6 on a flop 7-8-10. We need the 4 and 9 to get our straight BUT what do you think will happen if a 9 drops on the board? Well, the flop becomes: 7-8-9-10 and yes, you actually have 5-6-7-8-9 straight, or rather you, 6-7-8-9-10, BUT if a opponent at the table has a Jack and some of the other card on the table, he’s got the best hand because he has 7-8-9-10-J. But the friend can still lose against another opponent with JQ, because he has 8-9-10-J-Q. Conclusion: This is not a good choice. Usually this occurs when we connect the lower straight, hence always interested in playing high cards to connect the top straight.


We reached the typical straight in Omaha, could be defined as a straight with more than 8 outs, like say we need more than 2 cards to get it. This happens in Omaha because we played with 4 hole cards. Ex: I have K-Q-9-x on the flop J-10-x. We need the A (A-K-Q-J-10), we need a K (K-Q-J-10-9), we need a Q (K-Q-J-10-9), we need a 9 (K-Q-J-10-9) and we need the 8 (Q-J-10-9-8). The "wrap" is a powerful weapon in Omaha.


In hold'em we have a set (trio with our 2 whole cards combined with the table) or trips (trio with 1 whole card combined with 2 cards from the table). It is best to have a set in hold'em, In Omaha things are not so clear. Remember we play with ONLY 2 of our hole cards and if we connect a "set" we can not use more cards of the 4 we have. And I'll explain. I have 8-8-x-x and 8-5-7 on the flop. My hand is 8-8-8-x-x. For a full, we need to have a pair at the table, that is, we need 5 and 7.

BUT if we take trips, our options to get full soar, because we played with 3 more cards, which can be combined with any card on the table. Ex: I have 8-9-T-J and the flop 8-8-K. To get full we need 9,T or J.

Two pairs

Overall two pair is a loose play in Omaha, can only help us when nobody has anything, or to make a semi-bluff from late position with an uncoordinated flop, and of course the only acceptable option is to play with better two pair.

Author's note: The plays (outs and nuts) may not be "exactly" as I say, but the intention is to explain the game in the simplest way I can.


Personally I think Pot Limit Omaha high is a natural evolution from the NL Hold'em player. It is a game where you move large amounts of money and is a variation of poker that any player should know. As usual, though not our specialty, yes we will help develop the game in other ways. The usual Hold'em player needs to adapt to Omaha, you can not come and pretend to know everything, BUT having sound knowledge of Hold'em we will not have many problems to adapt, especially if we read correctly the nuts.

Acknowledgements: Nutter, Gerardoletal, "Master" Raindrop, dimoni, Ascalon, Alvaro

By Juan Carreno


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