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Texas V's Omaha

I would like to share my experience about the difference between Texas Holdem & Omaha and the progression from tournament play into the cash game scene.

The rewards of adapting to this different style of game can be very rewarding both financially if you're successful and also in adding a new face to your all round poker skills. Indeed the cash game knowledge you may pickup can compliment your tournament play.

Playing comps and the cash game are two totally different animals, it's like playing golf and cricket. Tournament skills include chip accumulation, protecting your stack, changing gears, positional play, speeding up/slowing down and getting all your decisions to mold perfectly into playing the ideal tournament. Of course things can depend on if it's a rebuy event, a freezeout, pot limit or no limit etc.etc.

In a cash game you can effectively "re buy" or pull more money up depending on the depth of your pocket. But the first thing to a good cash game player is money management and discipline. I learned at a very early stage of my poker career that the most successful cash game players would be able to recognise when "it's not their night" and walk away before their mood changes and go on what we call "On Tilt" and lose an amount that is too high for the size of the game.

Let me give you an example:
At the Grosvenor in Blackpool our cash game is usually 50 dealers choice with a 2 ante or a 100 Omaha game with a 5 ante. Now in the 50 game a very good night may be a profit of around 500 - 800. Now there is no point in this game to be in for say 3000/4000 when on average you can only usually win 500. The more disciplined players like Dave Gardner would not let himself get that deep, but others sometimes fall into the "Tilt" category.

I have a policy of pulling the minimum buy in and not get in too deep but I'm not convinced that is always the best strategy because others may argue they like to have the table covered and if you don't have a good stack in front of you, you don't always get paid enough for your best hands. That's a very fair comment.

My policy that seems to have worked in recent years is damage limitation because if your not in too deep your overall profit/loss strategy should be healthier. I marginally prefer to be in for as little as possible so I don't have big reverse swings. It also allows you to make slightly more marginal calls because you have very few hundred in front of you. Our game in Blackpool does involve a lot of open play.

Your technical approach, for holdem good starting hands is the key and four card Omaha double suited aces is considered the best hand. If you can check raise to narrow the field down to two players very often the aces will win the pot.

The subtle difference in Omaha is you get 4 cards (more if you play multi-card Omaha 5/8 cards, which is my particular favourite) so you get more chances but you must only use 2 cards out of your hand & three from the 5 card flop.

If four clubs come on the board and you have the bare ace of clubs, unlike holdem you need the ace of clubs along with another club in your hand to have an ace high flush. What is important in Omaha is to have four "working" cards e.g. A 10 hearts & K Q diamonds will allow the possibility for straights, flushes etc. So now say the flop comes Kh Qh 9d you have top two pair, nut flush draw and need a J for the nut straight. Not a bad hand.

What you don't want is K 8 4 all different suits as it eliminates the possibility for a flush and your straight draws are minimal. Now to learn the merits of raising pre flop, on the flop, turn and river, well that's another 20 chapters.

Like Holdem if you know or think you have the best hand you should bet to try and protect your hand and make the people who are on a draw pay to catch what they need.

I hope this gives you all an insight into Omaha, but remember please don't come to Blackpool and use this advice on me in the cash games to take all my money.

Good Luck

Gareth "The Nugget" Jones


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