Beginners Fixed Limit Omaha Strategy – Two Key Decision Points

The fact that hand values before the flop in Omaha Poker are close often lead to players entering pots with many hands. In all forms of Omaha this is a mistake – in Fixed Limit Omaha it will become very difficult indeed to over come the inherent disadvantage of playing ‘too loose’ before the flop.

Whether to enter a pot in the first place seems like an easy decision, however it is the single most important decision you will make in Fixed Limit Omaha Poker. Choose starting hands with the potential to hit the ‘nuts’ (strongest possible hand) on a variety of flops. These hands should ideally have 4 cards which work together – giving you 6 combinations of hands with which to hit the board.

Suited Aces and hands with cards close in rank will give you the ability to hit a nut hand on the flop in the form of a flush or straight – or at least a draw to one. A high-pair hand with no ‘backup’ in the form of suited or connected cards is dangerous (unless you have aces!). These hands will not hit many flops, and in Omaha poker an unimproved over pair such as queens is more likely to see you lose a big pot than to win one.

Position is critical in Fixed Limit Omaha, allowing you to see your opponent’s reactions to the flop before you act. This can save you bets when there is a raise and a re-raise ahead – and also allow you to build a pot when you flop a great hand. Tighten up your range from early position and avoid hands which require very specific flops from all positions. Against many lower limit games simply choosing better starting hands will give you a profitable advantage over your opponents.

The second critical decision point in Fixed Limit Omaha Poker is whether to continue with your hand on the flop. On the turn and river the pot will often be large enough that you are ‘priced in’ to continue with many hands. On the flop the pot will still be small, allowing you to get away cheaply when you miss or begin to build a pot which will keep your opponents in the hand when you are strong.

Several factors go into making good decisions after the flop. When holding a drawing hand there are 2 questions you should ask yourself. First, is your draw to the best possible hand (for example drawing to the lower end of a straight in Omaha is usually a very expensive error). Secondly, what are the tendencies of my opponents who are still in the hand? If you are facing aggressive opponents who are likely to raise and re-raise behind you then your reaction may be different from facing a single timid opponent.

Fixed Limit Omaha High is an great poker variation – and one where a thinking opponent will make a profit over time by making sound decisions. The key decisions in this game are whether to enter the pot in the first place and how to play the flop, ensuring you play well on these streets will usually make decisions on the turn and river a formality!

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