Omaha (or Omaha high or Omaha Holdem) is a poker game that’s similar in structure to Texas Holdem poker. The main difference between the games is that in Texas Holdem each player is dealt two cards, while in Omaha they are dealt four. Players have to make the best possible hand using two cards from the four they were dealt (no more, no less) and three from the community cards.
In Omaha (high), the best possible starting hand that you can have is A A K K, where both pairs of A K are of the same suit – for example Ah Kh As Ks. The reason that this is better than four aces for example, is that a player can only use two of his starting hand. This combination of cards gives possibilities for Aces, Kings, full houses, straights and flushes as well as starting with the best pair.
After that, A A K Q would be the next best possible Omaha starting hand. You would still have the pair of aces to start with and the queen would give you other straight opportunities. Again it is best if the hand is double suited like in the previous example.
The most common version of Omaha is Omaha Hi-Lo, also known as Omaha 8. In this highly complex version, players can win either the whole pot or a 50-50 split of the pot. The pot is split when there is a winning “low” hand, consisting of all five cards being 8 or less and different in value. Ace counts low for this purpose so the best low hand is A 2 3 4 5.
Because a player has to use two of his own cards in the five, a low hand can only occur if there are three or more cards on the table with a value of 8 or less. If there is no low hand among the players, the winning high hand takes the pot.
The best starting hand in Omaha hi-lo is A A 2 3. This is made even better if one of the Aces is the same suit as the 2, and the other Ace the same suit as the 3, for example Ad 2d Ac 3c. This ideal combination gives opportunities for flush hands, straights, the best low hand as well as the best high starting hand in the pair of aces.
The second best hand is A A 2 K. This gives the combination of A 2 for the best possible low hand along with A A and A K for the best high hand. Again the best hand is suited pairs with the A K being one suit and A 2 being the worst.
After these two hands the next best hands are those with a pair of Aces along with a 2; followed by hands containing a pair of Aces along with a 3. The Aces are for the best high hand and A 3 is the next best starting low hand after A 2.
The best common two-card combination to be dealt is generally accepted as being A 2 suited, that gives possibilities for the best low hand as well as a flush or straight for best high hand possibilities.