Draws in Omaha Poker
written by: John
In my opinion, many players tend to misconstrue the phrase "Omaha is a game of draws." Don't get me wrong, Omaha is a game of draws but the phrase really should be that 'Omaha is a game of re-draws; the more you have the better."
The reason I say that is that technically any hand, if not all hands, can be turned into a draw of some kind on the flop. In fact, it would be odd to have 4 hole cards that didn't connect with the flop in some way; that's what would be strange. But just because any hand can be turned into a draw, doesn't mean that it is profitable.
So what do I mean by re-draws? Well, re-draws are exactly what they sound like they are. They are simply a re-draw to a better hand. To better illustrate this point, we have provided some examples for you below.
How to Play Draws in Omaha
I am going to provide a few different examples below which I hope will drive several points home. One, without getting too much into starting hand requirements I would like these examples to show everyone the reason why solid starting hands are key and why being choosey is a good thing. Secondly, when playing draws in Omaha there is a lot of analyzing the flop going on. It is important to understand where your hand stands currently and what can possibly beat it. Lastly, players need to understand what re-draws are and how much boost they can give to a hand.
Your Hand: Ks-Qd-10h-9h | Board: Kh-Qd-Js
Ok, so as you can see here we have made a K high straight which is a good hand, but can easily be dominated by any player who is holding A-10. So of course, this player would be in a dilemma; do they raise, check-call or check-fold? This would be a difficult spot and to be quite honest, it would be quite difficult to let go.
Could this have been avoided? Uh, yea I think it could have been avoided by choosing something slightly better pre-flop. This is where the power of 're-draws' come in. If this hand were double suited, then this hand would have another hand to (re)draw to, which is exactly what re-draws mean. By starting with hands that have plenty of outs, you give yourself multiple hands to draw to all of which would be preferably to the nuts.
Now, I am not saying that was a terrible hand and that making sure it was double suited would avoid being dominated on the flop. Not at all; but what it would do is give the player who is dominated to make his hand that much better in hopes to stand up by showdown.
Let's look at an example of a good re-draw-y hand in Hi/Lo.
Your Hand: As-Kd-2s-3d | Board: Ad-Ks-5s
Now, this is an excellent hand. You have what is probably the best Hi hand here. But the best part is all the re-draws you have. By starting with a hand that is double suited and connected in so many ways such as this you have given yourself a chance to draw to hands such as a boat, nut flush, backdoor nut flush and the nut low for a wheel which would probably get you a scooped pot. It is safe to assume that the two pair will not hold up because they generally don't but because you have all of these other hands to draw to, that should definitely not stop you from putting your chips in the middle and going all the way with this hand.
To really get all of these points across, let's look at the same hand but this time your starting hand will be all rainbow.
Your Hand: As-Kc-2d-3h | Board: Ad-Ks-5s
Do you see what a huge difference this makes? Now, you have top two pair with a draw to the nut low. This is still a strong hand but the problem now lies with the fact that the scooping possibilities are pretty skim. You may make a nut lo but that will be countered for a Hi if someone completes that flush draw. That means your two pair will also be countered which means that the best you can probably manage to do in this pot is split it.
Splitting the pot is pretty common in Omaha Hi/Lo and is better than being second best and missing our completely, but hopefully you can see the difference that your starting hands can have in terms of giving you plenty of outs and re-draws to draw to.
Draws in Omaha
Although this article was specifically on how to play draws in Omaha, it is important to note that many of the draws that you play in Omaha are a result of what you choose to play pre-flop and what you set yourself up with. It is so important for players to play solely for the best hand in Omaha because Omaha is truly a 'nuts' game. And the best way to ensure that you get the nuts as often as possible is by starting with hands that give you tons of outs and re-draws to better your hand with.