Reading the Board: A Basic Primer for Omaha Games
Reading the board in Omaha Poker can be a little tricky, because you must use two cards and only two cards from your hand. Holdem gives you the choice of using 0,1 or 2 cards from your hand, but in Omaha poker you must use precisely 2 of your 4 cards. To keep things simple, we'll focus on just the high hands to start with and leave suits out. Here are some examples to practice determining what your best high hand is. For each question, answer it quickly like you would at the table before reading the answer.
Key Principle: You must exactly 2 and only 2 cards from your hand, to go with exactly 3 cards from the board
Question 1: You have QQJT, the board is Q9874 What do you have for high?
Answer 1: You have a Q-hi straight. Your JT from hand combines with Q98 on the board. This one is pretty "straight"-forward.
Question 2: You have AKKT, the board is 2337T. What do you have for high?
Answer 2: You have two pair: Kings and 3's. You pick 33T from the board, and you KK goes better with that AT does.
Question 3: You have A234, the board is 33788. What do you have for high?
Answer 3: Trip 3's, not a full house. You must use exactly two cards from your hand, A3 to combine with 3 cards from the board, 338 to make A8333. Holdem lets you make 33388, but not Omaha. Anyone with 8x, 77, or 73 beats you.
Question 4: You have A357, the board is 6789T. What do you have for high? Do you like your hand?
Answer 4: You have a 9-hi straight, not a T-hi straight. You must use 57 from your hand to combine with 689 from the board. Anyone with 2 distinct cards above yours beats you, ie. JT, J9, J8, J7, T9, T8, T7, T6, etc. Your hand is horrible.
Question 5: You have A22T, the board is A3339. What do you have?
Answer 5: Full house, 3's full of 2's. If you thought your A played, you made a very common mistake. You must use exactly two cards from your hand and exactly 3 from the board. Since the best three on the board are trip 3's, you pick the pocket 2's from hand. This situation is worth remembering because it comes up a lot and is one of the most different board situations vs. holdem.