HomeThe ShuffleWant to Win at Omaha/8 Poker? See These 10 Tips

Want to Win at Omaha/8 Poker? See These 10 Tips

For years, the poker game has been all about Texas Hold’em. Now Hold’em’s got a worthy rival in Omaha/8 Poker. If you want to grow your table-game repertoire, start with these basics, courtesy of poker king Mark Tenner.

Omaha/8 Poker continues to grow in popularity. Among players today, it may be surpassed only by Texas Hold’em. Whether you’re a maverick or a fish, check out these Top 10 tips from Mark Tenner.

The author of “Mastering Omaha/8 Poker,” Tenner has been playing and winning poker for 40 years and can generally be found at the highest limit game tables. Tenner’s done particularly well playing Omaha at the World Series of Poker and finished in second place in 2009.

These days, Tenner plays Omaha/8 almost exclusively, and lectures on this game in venues like the World Poker Players’ Conference.

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Here are Tenner’s Top 10, not necessarily in order of importance:

  1. Omaha/8 is a game of flushes—not straights, not pairs, not sets. In a nine-handed game, at least seven of the players will be either single- or double- suited. On the river, if there are there flush cards on the board, someone will most likely have a flush.
  2. The most important factorin Omaha/8 is not your starting hand selection (which most people mistakenly believe), but whether you decide to keep playing after seeing the flop. On the flop, you get to see seven out of the nine possible cards to make up your hand, and there are three of the four possible bets still to come.
  3. AA is the most overrated holding in one’s starting hand. Without the two other cards “connecting,” players tend to play all AA hands in any position. It’s the No. 1 starting holding hand in Hold’em, but a “chip-burner” in Omaha/8 unless the other two cards create a suited A—at least one, preferably two wheel cards or two ten (10s, jacks, queens, and kings) value cards. When your only real value holding out of the four starting cards are AA, you want to be able to re-raise a pre-flop raiser and prefer to play the hand “heads up.”
  4. The most “expensive” starting hand—the one that loses the most money—that most players tend to play is 3, 4, 5, 6.
  5. Consider this scenario: There are three players left after the river, with a low possible (three unpaired cards A-8). The first player bets and you have both a high hand and a low hand, but not the nuts (the best possible hand) in either direction (high or low). In this situation, do not call. Either raise or fold.The third player behind you cannot call your raise without the “nuts” in one of the directions. The only exception is if you have the second-best low hand and the second-best high hand, in which case you can only call. If you’re raised by the player behind you, both players will have the “nuts” most of the time.
  6. Do not play bottom set on the flop.  It’s very hard to fold a flopped set and very few players have the discipline to do so. But calling a bet on the flop with bottom set is a money-losing proposition.
  7. Do not call a flop or turn bet when you make your drawing hand. You can only win half—or lose it all. This means you don’t have a made hand but are drawing to a hand. You don’t want to draw to a hand that if you make your draw, the best you can do is win half the pot. When drawing, you want an opportunity to “scoop” (win the whole pot).
  8. Do not call with top and bottom two pairs on the flop.
  9. As in all of poker, there are five things you have the option to do on every betting round. You can check, you can bet, you can call, you can raise, and you can fold. Four of the five are mathematically positive over time. One is negative. The worst option on a betting round is to call. That doesn’t mean you should never call; it only means that calling is the weakest of the poker betting options over time.
  10. As in all poker tips, there’s always the caveat: “It depends.”These tips are based on math, millions of computer simulations and presume a full game (at least seven players). When the game is short-handed (1/2, 3/4, 5/6), see Tenner’s chapter on short-handed play for modifications. All these tips and many more are discussed in context and detail in the book, “Mastering Omaha Poker.” Order it at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mastering-omaha-8-poker-mark-tenner/1111740394

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