Top 5 Omaha Poker Mistakes

written by: John

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In any game kind of poker game, new players are going to have to learn the rules, fundamentals and basic strategies before they can hope to become break-even players, let alone profitable. This means trying to avoid common pitfalls that can cost many player's their stacks, not to mention their bankrolls.

In my opinion, this is doubly true in Omaha poker. In fact, many new players are in for a lesson or two when first getting started in Omaha because there are so many basic fundamentals that are neglected that could definitely save a player a chip or two, or dozen. By utilizing the simplest of fundamentals, players can get themselves on the path to learning strategies that are more advanced for Omaha which in turn should lead them on the path to profitability.

So to help all of you get on that path to profitability much faster in Omaha we come up with some of the common pitfalls that many new players face. Here they are, our top 5 mistakes made by new players in Omaha poker.

Starting Hands

Not being selective enough when it comes to starting hands is the biggest mistake a beginning poker player can make in any poker game, much less Omaha or Hi/Lo.

But the difference between any other poker game and Omaha is that Omaha is a 'nut' only game, meaning players should be focusing on playing to the nuts and nothing less since anything less will often be second best at showdown.

So to make things simple, when players are first starting out they should only be playing the top 10 or 15 hands or so. In Hi games, players should stick to A-A-K-K, A-A-J-10, A-A-Q-Q and A-A-J-J and so forth. In Lo games, players need to stick to hands that are all Lo cards such as A-A-2-3, A-A-2-4, A-A-2-5 and so forth. When playing Hi/Lo players should stick to starting with Lo only hands, as this will provide the most opportunity to scoop the pot. All of the hands that we listed would be much better if they were double-suited.

The last thing to point out is that aside from avoiding trashy hands, players should also avoid hands that have more than 2 of each suit or of each value. So for example, a hand like A-A-A-2 should be avoided and a hand like Ah-Kh-9h-6h should be avoided because both of these hands will rob you of outs that you more than likely need.

Not Distinguishing Hi from Hi/Lo

I think a common mistake that is made by players is not treating Omaha and Omaha Hi/Lo as two different games when in fact, they should be approached completely different. Many players will approach Hi/Lo the same way they do Hi by playing lots of Hi hands (lots of hands in general) when they really should be focusing on low hands.
Also, players will need to be much, much tighter in Hi/Lo since there are so many other draws to be made and it is highly likely that the non-nuts will be second best here.

Lastly, another important aspect to keep in mind is that in Hi/Lo, players can split the pot. And in some cases, if a player is not careful the pot can be quartered which is negative EV. It just cannot be stressed enough that players need to be careful with the cards they play, how they play them post-flop and beyond. It is very different from one game to the other. 


When players are new to any poker game, the last thing they should be doing is bluffing because they do not tend to have the skills necessary to run it successfully. It is important to understand the true value of your hands, how to read board texture and have a good understanding of your opponents to even consider running a bluff.

Most times when new players attempt to run a bluff it is because they made a mistake earlier in the hand and are now trying to make up for it. But instead of compounding the initial problem, it would be just a better idea to fold.

In short, do not bluff until you get a little bit more experience at the tables first.

Drawing Too Much

Omaha is a terribly dangerous game because players have 4 hole cards to create all kinds of draws with. Now, some draws are good such as wrap around straight draws, nut flush draws and wheel draws. All other draws such as gut-shots and medium high straights and flushes should be avoided.

Another thing to point out is that many players cannot seem to let go of a made hand when it is more than likely that they are beaten by a better hand. For example, if a player flopped trips but there are 2 cards to a flush on the board, it is highly possible the trips will not be good by the river unless they fill up to a boat. Or if a player flops a straight and the board shows a flush; sadly, the straight should be folded if there is a lot of action because it is probable that it is no good. 

Over Valuing Hands

Over valuing hands is an easy thing for new players to run into to be honest. From personal experience, it is tempting to think you have the nuts when you are holding something like A-K-10-9 because of all the great hands that can be made. When I first got started, I would be more than happy to raise, re-raise and re-re-raise with these kinds of hands because they looked so good. But most often then not my thoughts would change when the flop came and I completely whiffed and had no draws.

The moral of the story; most hands are not as valuable as players make them out to be. And even if you happen to have the best starting hand in Omaha, that can dramatically change to 'second best' on the flop and 'drawing dead' by the turn.

It is a good idea to value the hands for what they are worth, and treat each street different, as each street will affect your hand differently. Players need to be sure to get very good at reading board texture to ensure they don't freak out and spew chips with what looks to be a great hand but is in fact dominated by a better one.  

Top Omaha Mistakes

Although these are not all the mistakes new players make by far, they are definitely the most common and more than likely the most expensive. But the upside to these is that once a player works through these mistakes they should notice a significant improvement in their game. So, players need to take these tips, learn what to avoid and practice, practice, practice so that they can get on the path as soon as possible to becoming a profitable Omaha poker player.