Poker Omaha vs Holdem: Top 5 Differences Between Omaha and Hold’em

For many No-Limit Hold’em players, as a rule, it is Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO) that logically becomes the next type of poker in which they try their hand. Let’s find out about the main differences between these games.

In general, PLO is played in the same way as Hold’em. There are also preflop, flop, turn and river, 5 community board cards, small and big blinds. Unlike the limit version of Omaha, PLO, as well as no-limit hold’em, offers “large” bets, but in PLO the size of bets is limited by the size of the pot (hence the name “pot-limit”).

However, the main and most obvious difference between these games is that in PLO you are dealt 4 hole cards instead of 2, and you need to make a 5-card poker hand using only 2 hole cards and 3 board cards . This difference dramatically changes the value and importance of drawing hands in Omaha compared to Hold’em. In fact, it is often not enough to have the nuts on the flop in PLO – it would be better to have “spare” (safety) draws for the best hand, if the action continues on the following streets.

If this became a revelation for you, we recommend that you first study the Omaha rules in detail , since all further information will imply that you know 100% of them.

In any case, these are only superficial and obvious differences between Pot Limit Omaha and No Limit Hold’em. For now, we’ll take a look at the 5 most important hidden differences between these games.

There are no big favorites in PLO preflop

If you go all-in preflop with AA in Hold’em and are called by KK, then you will be the biggest favorite to win the hand (better than 4 to 1). Basically, with pocket aces, you will be way ahead against any hand by playing preflop. And in fact, there will be many situations in Hold’em where one hand will dominate the other.

In Omaha, however, this will not happen, here even the best hand will often have only 60-65% equity against an average 4-card combination.

  1. In PLO, you must collect the best hands
    With 4 cards in hand in Omaha, each player will have 6 different 2-card combinations to choose from to make their hand. And this dramatically changes the relative value of hands, because with all these combos, opponents will potentially have many more hands that beat you than they did in Hold’em.

Making two pair or a straight in No Limit Hold’em is considered a very strong and most often the best hand, but in PLO such hands can be very, very vulnerable.
This is especially true for paired boards or boards with three cards of the same suit. On these, you will often see players have better hands than two pair or straights.

In PLO, draw hands can be in front of made hands.

For newcomers to PLO, this is probably one of the least obvious differences between Hold’em and Omaha. Sometimes some draws in Omaha can be huge favorites postflop even against made hands.

Sometimes you can even flop the nuts, but still be behind, taking into account the missed two cards on the board.

Let’s say you have T ♣ T ♠ 9 ♣ 2 ♠ and the flop comes Q ♥ J ♥ 8 ♣, giving you a Q-high straight. However, you shouldn’t be too happy about this, as a player with a flush draw and draws on a high straight will easily beat you. For example, a hand A ♠ K ♥ T ♥ 7 ♠ will have about 63% to win against you if both of you flop now!

Pot Limit Betting Format Makes It Difficult to Play Postflop

Another significant difference between Omaha and No-Limit Hold’em lies in the betting format, which in PLO is limited by the size of the pot. Preflop in Omaha, no player will be able to open all-in unless their stack is very short. In order to expose preflop, in most cases you will need a minimum raise and a re-raise.

As a result, in Omaha preflop, you will have many more opponents left in the game who will simply call the raises to see the flop. No-limit players, who are accustomed to playing only preflop and flop in most cases, in PLO will often be forced to play the turn with the river, which will require them to have more skill in playing postflop. In addition, the increased difficulty of the game due to four pocket cards makes it very difficult to determine the opponent’s ranges in PLO.

In PLO, position is more important

Due to all of the above factors, position in Pot Limit Omaha becomes even more important than in No Limit Hold’em. The presence of a position gives you additional information, namely, by acting first, you will be able to see what decision your opponent is making. Position is important in all forms of poker, and especially in PLO.

Pot-limit betting makes it difficult for the first to act (OOP) to knock opponents out of the pot, while the players in position (IP) will find it much easier to control the hand and the size of the pot.

A player in position can check after or call with a medium hand and draws. Thus, IP players will lose less and win more. Many experienced PLO players are much less likely to call raises from the blinds or enter the pot from early position, even with strong hands, which is not the case with Hold’em.

There are many other differences between PLO and Hold’em, including the general nature of the game (PLO games are looser) and the level of variance (in PLO the variance is much higher), but we have covered the most significant ones.

For those of you who play both Omaha and Hold’em, please write in the comments below what is the most important difference between these games for you?