How To Use Your Omaha Poker Strategy for Victory in Texas Holdem

Poker StrategyIf you play Omaha poker you most likely already know how to play Texas Holdem.

Almost all Omaha players start off playing Holdem and switch over to the Omaha variations due to wanting a new challenge or the potentially higher earnings potential some believe Omaha to have.

If you have found that you are a good Omaha poker player but not so good at Texas Holdem then you can use the successful strategies you have developed for Omaha and apply it to achieve victory at Texas Holdem.

I can hear your thoughts now…. “Surely they are different games?”….. Well they are, and there is no doubt that each game requires a different approach to be successful, but there are ways that you can take elements from one winning strategy and apply it to the other games and that is what I am going to try and explain to you in this article.

What do you mean my “Omaha Strategy”?

If you are an experienced Omaha poker player and you do well at the tables you most likely know of and have developed many proven betting strategies that work for you. Here is an example:

  • Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo
  • Your cards: As 2h 10d Jd
  • Opponent’s cards: XXXX (unknown)
  • Flop: 4h 5h 6c

You opponent bets the full pot amount. Now you have an excellent low hand (A-2-4-5-6) and a straight draw. A rookie Omaha player may raise in this situation to try and take the pot down but an experienced player would simply call. Why put all your chips in when your almost sure to get a call. You can strategically use your chip stack to help you win more pots. Lets see what happens if you just called.

  • Turn: Kd

Your opponent bets the pot again, you can be pretty certain that he has a straight. You have the nut low hand with no real chance of winning the high hand. Once again, many newbies would re-raise here getting carried away with their low hand but it is best just to call.

  • River: Jh

Wow, that didn’t help you at all…or did it?

Your opponent makes a medium sized bet and you are weighing up your options. You want to just call and consider it a split pot or he could have the straight or flush with A-2 which also gives him the nut low, meaning you would lose money. At this point the pot is very large and your opponent has indicated that he doesn’t have a flush because he didn’t bet the full pot. There is always a chance you will lose money but the odds are unlikely.

Your instincts tell you that your opponent flopped the nut straight and he could have a low hand also. Lets say the pot is up to $600 and you each have around $500 left on the table.

I would consider raising all-in in this situation because If your opponent does have the straight he will think you caught your flush on the river. If you don’t raise your opponent will win at least half the pot. There are many solid hands that he might fold, for instance Ad 3c 7s 8h. In this case he doesn’t even have the nut low or the nut high and he might just fold.

This is a great example of how you can use your betting strategy as a weapon to win more pots. Had you re-raised on the flop and he re-raised all in you would have had no chance to win the whole pot, but since you waited for the right moment you scared him away.

So… How do I apply Omaha Strategy to Texas Holdem?

Ok, you understand what I mean now by your “Omaha Strategy”, but how are those kind of tactics usable in Texas Holdem since it’s not a split pot game.

You are partially correct, but there are similar situations that you can use these strategies. The only difference is you will not have a made hand and you could easily use your chip stack to push the other player out.

You might be thinking that bluffing is very common in every game and it has nothing to do with your Omaha strategies but it does. Omaha is a game of draws and you are usually betting on draws. A draw is just a chance to catch a hand, most players have no problem betting big when they have a very nice draw, you can use that thinking to bet when you have nothing as well.

If your playing Pot Limit Omaha and you flop the nut flush draw and a straight draw you are most likely going to bet big all the way to the river and if you don’t catch anything, probably bluff. The concept is very different because when you bet with a draw or a busted hand, its still bluffing. Lets take a look at this common situation at the Texas Holdem tables:

  • Texas Holdem
  • Your cards: Ks Js
  • Opponent’s cards: XX (unknown)
  • Flop: 7h 10d Qh

Your opponent bets 3 times the big blind and you call hoping to catch your straight. You are assuming that your opponent has at least top pair with a pair of queens.

  • Turn: Jd

Your opponent checks, do you bet now? It’s kind of a tricky spot and you could easily get re-raised but Texas Holdem is a game of bluffing. If your opponent does have top pair and you bet a good amount he may fold depending on his other hole card, but he will probably call you.

  • The River: 9d

The board now has a straight draw and a flush draw and your pretty sure your opponent just has top pair. You will need to use the your previous playing experience with this player to make your decisions but lets assume your opponent does not bluff often and is pretty aggressive with hands like top pair or two pair.

Lets say you each have around $200 in your chip stacks, if you bet around $100 it puts your opponent to a very difficult decision. There are now flush and straight possibilities on the board which look very scary to him. A good timed and sized bet here on the river will most probably get your opponent to lay his hand down if he is only holding top pair, or even if he has two pair.

Recognising the Synergy

Most Omaha players will recognize these situations as they happen quite frequently because knowing all the possible draws that people are on is a key skill in Omaha.

When you have a good idea of what your opponent is holding and a straight or a flush draw come up at the end and you are holding nothing, sometimes it is very profitable to risk a large chunk of your chip stack to pull in the pot. This works as well in Texas Holdem as it does in Omaha.

That is just one example of using a skill or strategy you have developed in Omaha to good effect in Texas Holdem. Now you can think of other situations that may also have a synergy between the two games.

The main point of this article is to help you to use your Omaha poker skills in games other than Omaha . If you are a great Omaha player then you have it in you to be a great, if not better Texas Holdem player.

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