Omaha 8 E-mail Advice

Carbon Poker

I was asked to give some Omaha Eight or Better advice. Since I have nothing better to do, I decided to post it.

A lot of people who play O8 don’t even know this stuff. Either all of their experience is online, or they are just too new to O8 to be aware of it. There is nothing wrong with being new!

So here, for your reading pleasure (or just to pass the time) is my re-post of our conversation:


Thank you very much for your response. I have to admit, I am very intrigued by your answer. I have been playing poker for many years. Lately, I feel like I have really come in to my own in terms of playing omaha/8. That, coupled with the fact that it has been a life goal to compete in the WSOP, has prompted me to play in one or more of the omaha/8 events this year. However, like many other players, much of this experience is online. In fact, although I have a fair amount of live ring game play, I essentially have zero live tournament experience. Thus, if you do not mind, I have several questions for you…


Okay, first off, be very choosy about your live tourney play. If one venue is offering 5% juice and another is offering 10%, don’t let pride get in the way and play the 10% instead just because of the name of the festival. Let the money do the talking! 


1. You seem quite emphatic about not relooking at one’s cards. Why is this?


There is a saying in Omaha…”You can tell the quality of the player by how many times he has to look back at his cards.”

While I don’t necessarily agree with this 100% (after 12 hours at a tourney table, sometimes it’s simply unavoidable due to fatigue), you will notice that the best players don’t often look back.

So say you raised up front with double suited aces and maybe deuce/four. You see two suits on the board. But you forgot, did you have spades or clubs? You know you had suited black, but can’t remember which suit. You look back.

Great players are going to know, if two low didn’t fall, that you have aces with a flush draw, if you stay in or bet into them. They will refuse to pay you off if you hit, and charge you the maximum to draw, while tricking you into a check-raise when they know you are bluffing. It’s a horrible situation to be in, to have your hand virtually turned over, exposed, for the best players to exploit on every street.


2. You mentioned a memorization short-cut in order to not have to look back at your cards?

I memorize from the top down in high games, and from the bottom up in split games or low games. So say I’m playing HE, I memorize: AcKd. KcJs, etc.

In Stud; AcAdTh, KcQcJd.

In Stud 8; Ad4h5c. 2h3c4d.

In Razz; 458 (suits aren’t necessary, obviously).

In Omaha 8; A46K (then whatever highest suited cards)

Ace is always high in high games, always low in split or low games (for memorization purposes only).

So I am dealt my four O8 cards. I memorize each as they come to me, then I put them in low-high order, then repeat in my head the highest suited card. So here are some examples:

“A249 ace-hearts” (doesn’t matter about sidecard, unless it can make a straight flush)

“234K king-diamonds, four-hearts” (that means I’m double suited, with the highest rank of each suited card being the one I memorize)

“A26Q queen-hearts”

It really is simple if you do all of this before the flop, repeating again and again what you have, in order, with suits that matter (rainbow obviously doesn’t matter at all in O8).

Chanting these words, several times, while watching other players who are receiving their cards, is a sure way to memorize your own cards, while at the same time getting a bead on what other players may hold.


3. Do you play tournament omaha/8? If so, can you please share any general insights that may prove helpful?


Yes, I’ve played from small, $25 buy-in tourneys up to $1500 tourneys (and the $1500 we chopped three ways, so I got really lucky there!). I’ve played in big venues and small. You can read some of my write-up’s in the 2+2 archives, in “other poker,” since we didn’t have an O8 section of 2+2 then. 


4. Because of where I am geographically, obtaining live tournament experience is not much of an option. Other than that, can you suggest anything I should be doing to prepare myself for these events?

Just deal yourself four random cards and practice memorizing them. Also make sure you put a chip on top of your cards, or some kind of protector. In today’s poker boom (with mostly new, inexperienced dealers), if you don’t protect your hand, it will get snatched away sooner or later. Don’t make this during the final table of a big tourney, when thousands of real dollars are on the line! 

Felicia :)


About Felicia Lee

Poker, Writing
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