Games You Can Play – P5: Omaha High Practice Hands

Omaha High Practice Hands

Work through the following three practice hands to form the best five-card Omaha hand from the board and the assigned hole cards. Once you’ve determined the best hand you can create using your hole cards, try to figure out the best possible hand you could create using any two hole cards. The first hand appears in Figure 4.8.

There are three spades on the board, but you only have one spade in the hole, so you can’t make a straight flush or a flush. There is a pair of Tens on board, but you only have one Ten and can’t make four of a kind. You can, however, combine your T♥9♣ with the T♦T♠9♠ to create a full house. Is your full house the best pos- sible hand? You have the T♥, so three of the four Tens are accounted for, which means that no one can have TT in their hand to create four of a kind. There is no card higher than a Ten on the board, so no one can have a bigger full house than yours, but one other player could have the T♣ and either the 9♥ or the 9♦ and tie you. Anyone with 99, 88, or 44 can also create a full house, but you beat those hands as well as any straights made possible by the Eight, Nine, and Ten on the board.

The second practice hand appears in Figure 4.9.

If it weren’t required to use exactly two of your hole cards, you would have a straight flush: A♣2♣3♣4♣5♣. You
do, however, have an Ace-high flush with A♣K♣5♣4♣3♣. There is no pair on the board, so no one can have four of a kind or a full house. You have the best flush possible, so you can stop worrying about anyone who also has a flush, straight, or worse. What you do need to worry about is whether any of your opponents might have the 7♣6♣, which would give them a Seven-high straight flush (3♣4♣5♣6♣7♣). Given the impossibility of four of a kind or a full house, 7♣6♣ is the only hand that can beat you. You may need to show some restraint if an opponent raises or re-raises after the last card comes out, but overall you’re in very good shape.

The third practice hand appears in Figure 4.10.

There aren’t three cards of one suit on board, so you can’t create a straight flush or flush. You don’t have the pair of Eights you would need to make four of a kind, but you do have the 4♦4♥, which you can use to create a full house, 4♦4♥4♣8♥8♦. That’s the best hand you can create, but is it the best hand overall? Nope. In fact, there are quite a few hole card combinations that beat yours. Any player with the 8♠8♣ will have four of a kind. In addition, any player with a pair of Tens, a pair of Nines, T8, 98, or 84 has a bigger full house than yours. You have to hone your judgment to perform well in hands such as this one. It’s no exag- geration to say that knowing when to lay down your small full houses is a key to playing winning Omaha high.

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