In games of Omaha, each player is dealt four cards pre-flop, with five community cards as in Hold´em. The object is to make the best possible combination of cards using just two from your hand and three from the community. Because of the increased number of combinations possible, pots are normally won with a straight or better – often trip aces end up in being mucked! The Hi/Lo variety of the game is very popular as it offers the chance of two winning hands, the second being the lowest combination of five different numbered cards all under 8 (meaning that straight A-5 is the best low hand you can have).
When playing Omaha Hi/Lo you need to be looking at opportunities to win with high value hands when there is no lower hand (ie there are only two or less low value cards and a low hand is not possible) or a low “wrap” where you may scoop both the higher and the lower pots.
Wraps are where the cards that are dealt to you are closely matched in number. A high wrap for example would be TJQK which offers chances of a straight, full house and, if two are suited, a high flush. The best option available should you get a hand like this dealt to you is to try to get to the flop cheaply and hope that the cards fall kindly.
A mid-wrap would consist of (say) 6789 and this hand is better left alone, as any possible straight going upwards is likely to be met by a better straight coming down, and the reverse applies looking for a low straight. Only if the table is shorthanded, or you are in the blinds position should you consider getting involved in a hand containing these cards – even suited!
The best wrap to be dealt to you would be one containing four closely connected cards between A and 8 – all the better if one of your cards is suited with the ace. This offers the potential for multiple outs and, although there is no guarantee that the three low community cards that you require to complete your low hand will appear, you have a far better chance of collecting both pots. Other good hole cards to look for are dual pairs, closely connected or suited, and any hand containing A2.
When you first start playing Omaha, the major change in structure and increased potential for high ranking hands needs to be understood. Strategies such as position, expected value and knowing when to fold, are equally valid in Omaha as they are in Texas Hold´em, and irrespective of how well your hand is shaping up, you need to be aware of the opportunities that other players have for their hole cards.