Omaha vs Texas Hold’em
Omaha and Texas Hold’em are the most popular poker games in the world. Texas Hold’em is still the most popular (by some way) but as the game has got tougher, and there is far more material on Texas Hold’em – more players have been moving over to Omaha. Our site is 99% focused on Texas Hold’em but that’s not to say there isn’t any value in learning the other games. In fact, we have coaches in the mixed games as well as Texas Hold’em. In this article, we are going to look at the core differences between Omaha and Hold’em so you can decide whether to invest time and energy in one or the other, or both. Let’s begin Omaha vs Hold’em.
Number of Cards
First of all, the biggest difference between Omaha and Texas Hold’em is the number of cards you start with. Texas Holdem is played with just 2 whilst Omaha is played with 4. This is a massive difference as you’re now playing with 9 cards instead of the 7. It’s also worth noting that whilst Texas Holdem permits you to use as few or many as your starting hand, Omaha requires you to only use 2 of your 4 cards. This means a hand like A-A-A-7 goes down in value as it’s better to having 3 in your hand is of no use to you.
Having more cards significantly changes the mindset and strategy as relative hand strength in Omaha is reduced. In Texas Hold’em, a flush is a powerful hand. In Omaha, it’s far weaker as there is a much greater chance of someone having a higher flush or full house. The difference here can’t be understated – as many Omaha players are weak enough to pay off bets that they would in Texas Hold’em then moan after citing it as a cooler. In reality, this is just the game of Omaha and something you must adapt to.
What’s the Edge Differences Between Omaha and Texas Hold’em?
Texas Hold’em has bigger edges, on any given hand. If you get your money in on the flop with a set against a top pair hand, you’re virtually assured of the pot. If you’re all in before the flop in tournament poker with a higher pair than your opponent, you’re around 80-20. Edges like this do not exist in Omaha. You will have a much smaller edge with an at best maths advantage of around 60-40. These smaller edges mean you can expect bigger swings, more variance and need to exercise even stricter bankroll management rules. Otherwise, even if you have an edge, you could see yourself moving down stakes fast.
An important thing to understand is that Omaha is a drawing type game. Having more cards in your hand makes for more straights, flushes and “wraps” (multiple straight draws). This means even with a hand as strong as top set, you have to fade a lot of outs to win the pot.
On the plus side, the apparent small edge in Omaha masks the deficiencies of poor Omaha players games. This means there are lots of players thinking they play well when they are actually the fish in the games. It’s also worth highlighting that many Omaha players are playing it as they play Texas Hold’em. Remember to read a poker tutorial before playing Omaha.
Reads and Bluffing
In Texas Hold’em, you can sit with a player an hour and have a read on them. You know the types of hands they play, in what positions and their tendencies. This information is invaluable as it means you an exercise bluffs and adjust your value bets accordingly. In Omaha, you’re not going to be making soul reads. The game is too complex with the possible holdings that you can only play the game.
Bluffing is also much harder in Omaha. This can be a good thing as you want fishes to pay you off. The downside is that you need the best hand to win – something you don’t have control over. This is contrary to Texas Hold’em where you can often have a weaker hand, but a good 3 bet or flop continuation bet may see you win the pot. As a coach and mentor, I can’t stress the value of this skill enough. It is something that separates the weaker and better players. P.S check out our recently launched continuation bet course for more information.
Stakes and Competition
Another difference between the two games is the betting. Texas Holdem is almost exclusively played in the no limit format. There are some fixed limit and pot limit games around, but they are far less popular. Some sites do not even offer this function. Omaha is played in the pot limit format. This is logical to me, otherwise the games would be even more insane and people would go broke all the time! The side effect of this is the inability to over bet the pot – another reason why Texas Hold’em is the Cadillac of poker.
Competition is softer on the Omaha tables though. This is because Omaha is years behind Texas Hold’em and has not yet gained enough popularity amongst the recreational players. Its also softer. There are players that transition from Texas Hold’em that have not been properly educated on how to play Omaha well. Even the bad players at Texas Hold’em are ok at it but the bad players at Omaha are truly terrible. This is somewhat negated by the edges difference mentioned earlier but with good bankroll management, there is a lot of money to be won at Omaha if you are patient and not susceptible to tilt.
Omaha vs Texas Hold’em – The Conclusion
Omaha is a great, fun game to play. There are lots of fishes playing it and there are always games available on the major sites. There is a lack of material and training on the subject available which means you can crush low stakes games, if you put in the work.
Texas Holdem is still the most popular poker format around. The attention it draws from recreational players is what makes it the most profitable game to play. The wide array of skills necessary required to get to a high standard may seem daunting. However, when you are dealing with much bigger edges, you learn to appreciate why it’s worth investing the time to become good.
I always say that it’s better to be really good at something than average at lots. If you own a niche or dominate at one thing, you will have success. If this rings true for you, then focus one game and master it. As long as you are confident spreading yourself across multiple games and have the time too, go for it.