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It is vital to remember that you use exactly two of your four hole cards to build the best possible five-card hand in Omaha! For example, if you are dealt A♣ A♥ A♠ A♦, you have a pair of Aces and precious few ways to improve your hand. Don’t think a situation like this will ever come up? You’re probably right, but it’s not impossible. The odds of being dealt quads is only 20,824 to 1 against, after all. A friend of ours, who was very new to poker Omaha at the time, received 6♣ 6♥ 6♠ 6♦ as his hole cards, bet all the way to the end, turned over his hand, and announced that he had four Sixes. He was shocked to learn that he only had a full house (there were three Fours on the board to go with his pair of Sixes), but he was relieved when he won the pot anyway!
The odds of being dealt three of a kind in the hole is a much more reasonable 867 to 1 against, but that’s the end of the good news. When you have three of a kind in the hole, your hand is almost as bad as if you had quads in the pocket.
Caution: The possibility of making mistakes like this one reinforces the need to play against a specialized poker program or in free online games before you risk money in a new game.
As an example, suppose you hold A♠ K♦ Q♠ J♥ and the board reads 10♠ 4♣ J♣ Q♦ 6♠. You hold two spades, but there are only two spades on the board, so you can’t create a straight flush or flush. There are no pairs on the board, so you can’t have four of a kind or a full house. The best hand you can create using exactly two of your hole cards and three of the board cards is an Ace-high straight, T♠ J♣ Q♦ K♦ A♠.
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