How to Play Five Card Omaha
If you are completely new to Omaha then your first step should be to visit our How to Play Omaha guide. That will teach you how to play the regular version of Omaha, of which Five Card Poker is a variant. When you've familiarized yourself with the game, hop back here and continue.
Those of you who already know how to play Omaha (or have just learned to do so by reading the other guide just mentioned) will be pleased to hear that Five Card Omaha is almost identical as far as its format is concerned. As in regular Omaha, the aim is to make the best five-card poker hand possible using exactly two hole cards and exactly three community cards. The poker hand rankings used are also identical. The key difference in format is that five hole cards are dealt pre-flop instead of the usual four.
All dealing of community cards (the Flop, Turn, and River) are as normal, and so are the betting rounds. In other words, if you can play Omaha you can play Five Card Omaha. What you really need to focus on, therefore, is how you approach the game.
Top Five Tips for Five Card Omaha
Everything that was said in How to Play Omaha Poker also applies to Five Card Omaha. And that includes the tips and strategies previously provided. You should study the game in-depth with a few books, practice as much as you can at the tables, watch experts play Omaha, and manage your bankroll. However, in addition to all of that, we will now give you our top five tips for Five Card Omaha. Add these to your poker-playing toolbox and you'll have a much better chance of winning than you would simply by relying on Lady Luck!
Understand Starting Hand Equity and Strength
In this game, you can expect to have AA and KK dealt nearly 8.3 percent of the time. As compared to other poker games, the top 90 percent of starting hands in Five Card Omaha, the equity of those hands do not go below 38 percent in strength.
There are a few things to bear in mind in light of those stats:
- Unless the opening raise is a tight one, the Big Blind should defend close to 90 percent of starting hands in a heads up pot.
- Since there are no possible ways of stealing the blinds against a competent opponent, your starting hand value from the first three seats are predominantly determined by the value of hands in multiway pots.
- The hands that appear strong heads-up, even having a significant number of pocket AA, will be played most likely as folds from an early position.
Watch Out for Pocket Pairs
Pocket pairs will diminish in value for this game as compared to regular Omaha. And even more significantly from Texas Hold'em. This is because there is an extra card being dealt to everyone’s hands. They are still good cards, just not as potentially strong as they use to be in other games.
Your evaluation of the pre-flop needs to take into account this change. In a typical Omaha, a pair of aces is in the top two percent of cards dealt to you. But Five Card Omaha, that number drops to the top five percent. The numbers change significantly as you move down the rankings. In effect, each hand is of less value than it would be in a regular Omaha game.
Kings Have Potential in Five Card Omaha
You have to keep your eye on a pair of kings when they are dealt to you. Being dealt three or four of a kind is one of the worst things you can have in this game. That's because you can only use two of the five cards in the hole.
For example, let’s say you have A-A-A-4-7 on one hand and K-K-10-8-7 on the other hand. Comparing these two hands, you can see that the second one is better. This is because you personally have just two kings. There is therefore potential for two more could come up on the board.
With the aces, you are now limited because you are holding three aces, but you can only use two. So there is only one ace left out there to make your hand better. This example could also be used for queens (in the place of the king hand) as those also have the potential to beat the ace hand.
Leave Your Bluffing At Home
With the increasing number of draws and outs in this game, you honestly have no reason to bluff. When you see your opponent raising or betting, keep in mind what is on the table and what is in your hand.
Chances are, multiple people are going to have good hands. Everyone at some point will be playing good enough hands to win the pot, so bluffing would ultimately be little more than a waste of time and money.
Watch Your Stack
This game requires a little more attention to your chip count than other poker variants. Because the pots are going to be won by very strong hands, it is easy for a player to play somewhat decent hands often and to lose to better hands than he is used to seeing.
Limping along is potentially a bad bet as well since you are just throwing the minimum in to keep going. If you do not have a good hand and are not willing to bet it, the chances are good that you probably need to fold.
We have already advised against bluffing, and that bears repeating if you want to hold onto your chips. The players who bluff in this game are going to be the first ones out. For that reason, don't be that player. Bet according to the strength of your hand and watch your stack at all times.