The hottest fires in hell are reserved for those
who remain neutral in times of moral crisis.
-- Edmund Burke
Technically, the word "Holdem" refers to the some-cards-in-your-hand/some-cards-on-the-board, four betting rounds structure.
But it has commonly become associated with the Texas version. Texas Holdem is generally considered "Holdem", while Omaha Holdem
is merely "Omaha." Birthed of the same mother structure, Omaha and Holdem have similarities, but like siblings they also have
dramatic differences when it comes to winning strategy. Understanding these sibling differences can lead to each of us making better
game selection choices and recognizing our own
strengths as poker players.
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Some of the differences stem from logistics. When playing in a casino, approximately twice as many hands are dealt an hour in Holdem.
Omaha is usually played HiLo. Holdem players usually have a wider variety of games to choose from. Omaha games have more regulars.
Besides these things, there are many more complicated differences between Limit Texas Holdem and Limit Omaha HiLo.
If your aim is to win, Limit Holdem requires more risk-taking, more
variance. Winning Holdem is all about exploiting
tiny edges, and even more, creating tiny edges. Holdem
often comes into play in turning 55/45 edges into 60/40 ones. Obviously that is a good, profitable thing to do, but just as obviously
it takes something of a long run to make these small edges add up. Great Holdem players find nickels and dimes and dollars of value in
hand after hand -- getting free cards, protecting (or not protecting) blinds, value betting, inducing
bluffs, etc. Very good winning players don’t depend
on showing down AK against KQ on a KJ742 board. Showing the best hand is the bedrock of winning, but it is merely the tip of the iceberg.
Omaha has quite a lot of
differences. For very good players, Omaha edges are usually huge. Against weak Texas Hold'em opponents, a very good player can play a lot
more hands. This is not the case in Omaha. While 76s can sometimes become playable in Holdem, 9764 is never playable in Omaha High Low
(outside of maybe putting in one more chip in a two chip small blind) regardless of how lousy your opponents are. While the faster-paced
Holdem is all about the application of many tiny edges time and again, glacier-paced Omaha is more about waiting for rare instances of
enormous advantage. These huge advantages occur because most players simply do not "get" that when played properly Omaha has
very little gamble to it, with less playable hands than Holdem -- especially "playable hands per hour". Loose-ish Omaha games
mostly come down to simple math. A pot has so many chips in it, and you have so many outs to make the winning hand. You are either getting
the right price, the wrong price, or the very, very right price.
Omaha is tortoise poker. Holdem is for the rabbits. Generally, winning Omaha players make more money per hour (with less variance)
than their equally skilled Holdem counterparts. This occurs despite more Holdem hands being played simply because most Omaha players
play far worse than the average Holdem player. If a weak player is taking the 40/60 worst of it in Holdem many times, that player is
taking the worst of it fewer times against Omaha opponents but the worst of it now is more likely to be 10/90.
Your personal temperament might be better suited for one than the other, but one game is not "better" than the other. While Omaha
remains easier money, these days Texas Hold'em offers a much wider array of opportunities to win. Omaha tournaments are still peopled
with very weak Omaha players, but the sheer number of Holdem tournaments and the larger amount of people playing Holdem events offsets
that. Smaller edges in more events with more people simply returns us to the basic difference between Omaha and Holdem -- you get to
apply a small advantage much more often for larger bets. These days, being properly bankrolled is even more important in the past. If
you can afford to every five seconds bet $990 on a coin flip to win $1000, soon you will have an awful lot of money. But if you only
have $640 to your name, you aren't going to even be able to play, let alone play with an expectation of not going broke due to bad
luck. If you are a Holdem player, especially a Holdem tournament player, keep your powder dry... take loving care of your bankroll.
Profit comes in different ways, and you have to be capable of catching it.