Texas Hold‘em and Omaha are similar online poker games that vary in one or two very important ways. Both games involve players being dealt hole cards; the objective is to combine these with five community (or shared) cards dealt to the whole table to make the best possible five card hand.
In essence, then, the aims and skeletal framework of the two games are identical. However, one main difference in their set up has enormous consequences for the poker strategy that new players should approach each game.
In Texas Hold‘em Poker, the player is dealt two hole cards. These cards can be ranked fairly certifiably from the get-go; in other words, certain starting hands are more likely to produce better outcomes than others, with minimal variation. For example, if you are dealt two Aces – the best possible opening hand – you know that you can beat any other single pair and have a chance of making the highest possible Three-of-a-Kind, Straight, Flush, Full House or Four-of-a-Kind. Put simply – you know that you have good odds of faring well over the course of the upcoming flop, turn and river.
However, in Omaha Poker, you are dealt four hole cards. This may seem a relatively minor distinction, but it makes all the difference when it comes to Omaha Poker strategy. This is because there will inevitably be higher winning hands more consistently if players have a wider selection of cards to choose from. Even what may seem like the perfect starting hand – two Aces sitting alongside two Kings, double suited – can easily be taken down by lower variants of the Full House, Straight and Flush that those cards may appear to promise before the flop comes down.
This, then, is the main poker strategy difference between Hold‘em and Omaha; in Omaha, the notion of playing cards with potential becomes more important. New players to online poker sites will often be tempted to see a flop having been dealt what may appear to be an attractive hand in Texas Hold‘em, but which is likely to have significantly decreased in value as more community cards come down in Omaha.
For example, consider a starting hand where a player has a pair of Jacks, a Five, and a Three, completely unsuited. The Jack pair seems tempting to newer players, but Omaha veterans will recognize that a pair of Jacks is unlikely to be enough to win a hand. Combined with the low odds of pulling out a flush or straight from that starting hand (especially as rules dictate that at least two of a player's starting cards be used), such a hand is essentially useless.
It does not matter which online poker sites you visit, then; when it comes to Omaha Poker, you must be patient. Other online poker games such as Video Poker and Omaha/Hi-Lo have their own strategic intricacies, but there are never more mistakes made than when a player makes the transition from Hold‘em to Omaha.