Omaha Poker Starting Hands

Omaha Poker has become one of the most popular high stakes poker games in the world and is now played at all of the top online poker sites by thousands of players on a daily basis.  Compared with Texas Hold’em, Omaha offers substantially more action and betting making it preferable for loose players who enjoy constant pot stuffing and excitement.  The primary difference between Texas Hold’em and Omaha Poker is that while playing Omaha, the player receives 4 hole cards instead of 2 to make their hand in conjunction with the flop (which is still 3 cards similar to hold’em). 

The catch with Omaha Poker is that you must use 2 of your 4 hole cards to make a hand but because of the extra cards dealt to players pre-flop, the range of hand possibilities in Omaha is greatly increased.  This obviously amounts to much more betting during the game as the draws and outs for all players at the table grow exponentially during play.  Although Omaha can be very fun and profitable to play, most players unfortunately do not possess the correct knowledge and strategy for selecting good starting hands and avoiding the bad ones.  This article will focus on what sort of hands you should be looking for while playing Omaha Poker and which ones you should avoid to minimize your chance for losing chips.

Hands You Should Play in Omaha

Some of the best hands you can get pre-flop in Omaha Poker are connecting cards and suited pairs of cards, as this will greatly increase you chances of hitting a hand or draw on the flop.  The idea when playing Omaha pre-flop is to maximize all of your possible hand combinations by only playing cards that have a number of options to hit throughout the hand.  Below are some examples of what would be consider great hands to play in Omaha that should be played with raises or should be raised with depending on the previous action by players at the table.

A,A,K,K (Range of High Pair Cards)

Q,Q,9,10 (Pair & Suited Connectors)

9,10,J,Q (Suited or Unsuited)

5,7,8,9 (Suited or Unsuited)

Hands You Should Avoid In Omaha

Now that you know the good hands to play, it’s time to learn which starting hands should be avoided in Omaha.  One of the major problems that exists for new players learning to play Omaha is that they don’t recognize the value of Omaha hands in comparison to those of Texas Hold’em.  For example, in Omaha Poker trips over trips, higher pocket pairs, flushes and straights are very common so as a player you need to be extra careful on what hands you play.  Below are some hands that should always be avoided in Omaha Poker no matter how tempting they may look to the player pre-flop.

A,A,A,A (Four of a Kind, Very Bad)

2,2,3,3 (Low Pockets, Avoid Unless Suited & Connected & No Raise)

J,2,7,4 (Unsuited, Avoid As You Can Easily Be Out-Paired)

3,7,10,4 (Suited, Avoid As Flush Would be Very Low)


By following the guide to Omaha hands listed above, you will already put yourself one step ahead of the competition who doesn’t understand how to properly evaluate and select starting hands in Omaha Poker.  As a player, it is important to be vigilantly selective in Omaha as the risk of ruin is very high if you play loosely and recklessly on a regular basis.  By sticking with only the best starting hands, you will drastically improve your chances of profiting while playing Omaha and can avoid some unpleasant situations at the tables.