In this column we’ll look at the kinds of cards that make good starting hands in Omaha high-low split, eight-or-better for low, commonly known as Omaha/8. By way of review, let’s remember that Omaha/8 features four cards in each player’s hand, with five common board cards dealt exactly as in hold ’em: three on the flop, one on the turn and one on the river. Since it’s a high-low split game, the best high and low hands share the pot, assuming that the low is a made low, consisting of five different cards ranked eight or lower. And always remember that in Omaha/8, you must use two cards from your hand and three from the board.
Two from the hand, three from the board. This fact controls absolutely how you evaluate your Omaha hands. To take one obvious example, you could be dealt four of a kind – and have to throw that hand away! What good are four of a kind when you can only use two of them? You know you can’t improve to trips because you already hold the cards you need in your hand. Your only hope is to have three of a kind turn up on the board, thus giving you a full house – but maybe giving someone else the dreaded quads!
Likewise, you have to throw away hands that contain four, or even three, of the same suit. You like to have two suited cards in your hand in Omaha/8, but if you have more than two, they start to work against you because the cards in your hand can’t turn up on the board where you need them.
While we’re on the subject of suited cards, it’s important to remember that the only really valuable flush draws are nut flush draws. If …