How to Pick Starting Hands in Omaha Poker

When you're playing hole card games such as Omaha, choosing the right hands to play preflop can make a big difference -in fact, it can make all the difference.

If you play absolutely every hand, you're just going to funnel your winnings right back into the game. However, in Omaha especially, you want to play enough hands to scoop some big pots. Those of you crossing over from Texas Hold'em will find yourself playing a lot more hands. Omaha Hold'em is definitely more of an action based game than its sister game Texas Hold'em.

When a game of Omaha begins you'll be dealt 4 cards, and from those 4 cards you can come up with 6 starting hand combinations. Omaha rules require you to use exactly 2 of your hole cards and 3 of the community cards (the ones dealt face up on the felt table and shared amongst all the players).

So you get two more cards than you're used to, and so do all of the other players. In fact, there are in general a lot more cards out there to play with.

That variance makes playing Omaha poker, creating winning Omaha strategies, and choosing strong Omaha starting hands a little trickier. Although you get 4 cards to choose from, keep in mind that so do all the other players at the table, so there are more cards dealt out altogether.

Suited Cards - Remember, You Only Get to Keep Two...

Finding yourself looking down at four cards of the same suit is not a good thing when you're playing Omaha. If you're holding four spades what you really have is two spades to a flush, and two of your own outs mucked.

Pocket Pairs

Pocket pairs in Omaha are a good hand, but not nearly as valuable as in Texas Hold'em. The look on a new players face when he first sees a solid boat get beat by another boat… it's priceless. It's not uncommon to see three sets of trips at showdown, or a couple boats, a flush, and top two pair.

What I'm saying here is that with all these cards and so many more players paying for a flop, you're going to need a lot better of a hand to win a pot.

The Best Possible Starting Hand in Omaha High:

When playing straight Omaha, or Omaha High, the best hand you can hope to peel up from the table is AAKK. That's it, the very best hand preflop. Now you want these to be suited as well to give you the best odds post flop. So Something like Ah As Kh Ks would be perfect.

Now you've got two shots at flopping trips, two cracks at a flush draw, and a high straight possibility. You are holding your out cards for a full house if you make trips, but in the Omaha high world, this is as good as a starting hand gets. And if all else fails there, you've still got that pair of aces workin' for ya.

Second up on the list of Highest ranking Omaha High Starting hands is AAQQ, still giving you a nice pair of bullets to start off the show. In addition here you have AQ for pulling off Broadway straights. And of course we want the hand to be double suited such as Ah As Qh and Qs, giving you two shots at making a flush.

Omaha Hi Hand Ranking Chart:

**Please assume that these hands are all Double Suited**

Rank Hand
#8 AKJ10
#10 AKQT

The Best Starting Hands for Omaha Hi/Lo...

The most popular versions of Omaha today are the Hi/Lo varieties which award a pot to both the highest hand and to the lowest hand. Omaha Hi-Lo is super fun to play because the action is insanely intense.

You already have a full table seeing more flops, but now you have the lowest hand betting against the highest hand, and both actually standing to win. However, if you play your cards right, you'll be playing hands that will give you a shot at scooping up both the low pot and the Omaha high pot all in one clean swoop.

Omaha Hi/Lo players are eligible to win either the entire pot or a 50/50 split. The pot is of course split when there is a winning "low" hand. A winning low hand must include five cards all under 8 (hence the Omaha 8 nickname) and different in value; a hand with a pair doesn't count, because it's no longer a low qualifying hand.

So with that in mind, the best possible hand to win the low is A2345.

Due to the fact that a player MUST use two cards from their hand and three from the board, a low hand is only a possibility if there are three or more cards on the table that are an 8 or lower. Learn more about Omaha Hi/Lo.

The Best Starting Hand in Omaha Hi-Lo Hands Down!

The best hand a dealer can put in front of you in an Omaha Hi Low game is AA23, especially if the ace and the deuce are suited, and the other ace and 3 are also suited.

This hand, dealt exactly this way (double suited), gives you the best shot at hitting flushes, straights, and the best low, not to mention it begins with a pair of aces you can use to build a high hand.

Considered to be the second best starting hand in Omaha Hi/Lo is AAK2, giving you a pair of aces and AK to work your way into a decent high hand, and A2 to work toward the low.

More Omaha Poker Strategy: