The poker game of Omaha is very well known for its complex dynamics and numerous possible outs across all boards. Unlike Texas Hold’em, Omaha offers all players four different hole cards, opening up a broader array of drawing possibilities.
Whether you are a newcomer eager to grasp the basics or an experienced player looking to sharpen your game, understanding how to count outs in PLO is a critical skill that can improve your game.
Learning to calculate these outs accurately can be the difference between winning and losing a hand. Join us as we unravel the secrets to mastering this essential aspect of Omaha strategy!
What’s the meaning of an “out” in Poker?
As in every other poker variant, in Omaha, the term “outs” refers to the number of unseen cards in the deck that can improve your current hand in future streets.
For instance, let’s consider a scenario where you are holding:
And the flop reveals the following three cards:
If a heart comes on the turn, you would have made a strong hand, holding the nut flush. To determine the total number of outs you have on the flop, we can break them down by counting the remaining cards in the deck for this suit.
The standard 52-card deck used for Omaha contains 13 cards of each suit. To calculate the total number of outs in this situation, we have to subtract the hearts in our hand (A, K) and on the board (J, 2) from the total number of hearts in the deck.
13 – 4 = 9
Therefore, there are 9 more hearts left in the deck, which means we have nine outs that will give us the nut flush and a strong hand.
How to count outs In Omaha: Step-By-Step
As you can see, while counting outs is a crucial skill that can boost your winrate in Omaha, the concept is quite straightforward.
To help you master this essential poker technique, here’s a breakdown of the process we used in the previous example:
- Identify the winning hand: Begin by determining the type of hand that can surpass your opponent’s hand in the current scenario. In the provided example, we concluded that a flush would give us the best hand.
- Identify the cards that will complete your winning hand: Once you’ve pinpointed the desired hand, analyze which specific cards need to be drawn to complete your combination. In the previous illustration, we identified four different card ranks that would result in the best hand.
- Exclude all known cards from the calculation: Remember to eliminate from the equation the cards already known: the ones on the board, in your hand or in some cases from another player’s hand. In the example, we removed our holecards, the Ace and King of hearts, and the Jack and 2 of hearts on the table.
By following these steps, you can easily determine the number of cards that can shift the odds in your favor.
Wraps in Omaha
In Omaha, the concept of ‘wraps’ plays a pivotal role and sets this game apart from other poker variants, such as Texas Hold’em, where players have fewer hole cards and consequently they have fewer draws combinations.
A “wrap” in Omaha refers to a straight draw containing 9 or more outs, which is impossible in Hold’em, where the open-ended straight draw is limited to a maximum of 8 outs.
Consider the following example, where you are holding:
And the flop reveals:
Any 5, 6, 7, T, J, or Q will give you a straight.
In this situation, you have a total of 20 outs (four 5s, four 6s, three 7s, three Ts, three Js, and three Qs).
The significance of wraps in Omaha cannot be overstated as these draws are very powerful even without having a made hand. This is due to the high probability of hitting one of the outs. Wraps can often be played aggressively for stacks, particularly when complemented by a flush draw or a backdoor flush draw. Unlike in Texas Hold’em where straight draws usually offer only 4 to 8 outs, resulting in less than ⅓ of the time chance of hitting the straight.
The sheer quantity of outs in certain combo wrap draws allow them as equity favorites, even against the strongest made hands. Understanding these combinations and knowing the correct probabilities with wraps is indispensable to excel playing Omaha.
Common probabilities scenarios
Navigating the world of Omaha is made easier with a clear understanding of the most common probabilities for all possible draws that you could hold.
Below, you will find a handy table outlining the most common wrap draws, detailing the number of outs and the likelihood of hitting them at the next street. Additionally if you decide to go allin on the flop, the chances of hitting these draws by the end of the hand with 2 cards to come.
|Drawing to||Outs||Make on Turn||Make on River||Turn or River|
|Four of a Kind||1||2,13%||2,17||4,26%|
|Three of a kind||2||4,26%||4,35%||8,42%|
|Top pair with 1 card||3||6,38%||6,52%||12,49%|
|Three of a kind or Two Pair||5||10,64%||10,87%||20,3%|
|Top pair with 2 cards||6||12,77%||13,04%||24,14%|
|Gutshot + Top Pair||7||14,89%||15,22%||28,84%|
|Flush or Inside wrap||9||1915%||19,57%||34,97%|
|GutShot + Top pair with 2 cards||10||21,28%||21,74%||38,39%|
|Open-ended + Top Pair||11||23,4%||23,91%||41,72%|
|Flush + Gutshot or Flush + Pair||12||25,53%||26,09%||44,96%|
|Open-ended + Top pair with 2 cards||14||29,79%||30,43%||51,16%|
|Open-ended + Flush||15||31,91%||32,61%||54,12%|
|Open-ended + Flush + Top Pair||18||38,3%||39,13%||62,44%|
|Wrap with 4 cards||20||42,55%||43,48%||67,53%|
|Open-ended + Flush + Pair||21||44,68%||45,65%||69,94%|
As illustrated above, if you have more than 14 outs to a draw, you are the favorite on the flop with a 51,16% chance of winning the hand, assuming you get to the showdown. This table is designed to improve your strategy and to offer you a quick route to mastering some of the most prevalent draws in Omaha.
The rule of 4 and 2
While the mathematics of poker odds might seem intricate at first and the above table of probabilities might seem impossible to remember, there is a simple yet powerful approach that makes this process much easier.
The Rule of 4 and 2 is a streamlined method that allows you to quickly estimate your probabilities on the flop or the turn. Here is how it works:
- If you are on the Flop and there are 2 cards to come (the Turn and the River), multiply your outs by 4.
- If you are on the Flop or the Turn and you just want to see the next street card, multiply your outs by 2.
This simple rule of thumb provides you with a relatively close approximation of your chances to win the pot. While not exact, it is generally accurate within a couple of percentage points.
- With 10 outs on the flop, you have around a 40% to hit your hand
- With 10 outs on the turn, you have around a 20% to hit your hand
While acknowledging that the 4 and 2 rule is not 100% precise, it offers a practical and efficient way to guide your decisions during a poker game. So, the next time you find yourself pondering the odds, remember this handy rule. It just might tip the scales in your favor.
By utilizing shortcuts like this, alongside our FlopHero Pot Limit Omaha Solver, you will be well-equipped to elevate your game to the next level.
Using Flop Hero to make decisions
When it comes to Omaha Poker, the count of outs can significantly sharpen your strategy at any given moment. The number of outs stands as one of the main factors that our Omaha solver app, Flop Hero, takes into account when recommending certain strategies and actions.
Whether you are dealing with straight, flush draws or wraps, Flop Hero can analyze the number of outs for you and suggest the optimal strategies to match your specific situation. Let’s explore a few examples of how Flop Hero utilizes the concept of “outs” to offer various strategies based on your hole cards and action.
Single Raised Pot
Let’s say that we are playing a 6-handed PLO game, with no rake and no ante. The starting stack size is 20bb for all players.
The action is folded to the BTN, who raises to 3.5 bb, SB folds and we make a call in the BB with the following hand:
The flop comes:
Giving us a wrap. Any 5, 8, 9, or T gives as a straight, meaning we have 13 outs to improve. We check, and the BTN bets ½ pot.
Here is how Flop Hero approaches this spot.
You can explore this example in Flop Hero here in this link.
As you can see, in this situation, most of our range will want to call, while the frequencies and EV for calling or going all in run pretty close. However, when it comes to the exact hand we are holding in this situation, JhTh9s8s, after the BTN bets ½ pots, the optimal play is to just call.
If we take a look at the twelve possible combinations of JT98 in this situation, we can see how Flop Hero suggests different actions based on the number of possible outs. There are six JT98 combinations that give us “only” a straight draw in this situation, meaning that we have “only” 13 outs when holding them. For these six combinations, Flop Hero suggests that calling is the optimal play.
On the other hand, there are six JT98 combinations that give us a flush draw to go along with our straight draw in this situation. Giving us an additional 7 outs and increasing our total number of outs from 13 to 20. For five of these combinations, Flop Hero suggests that going-all in is the optimal play.
The only occasion when we should make an exception and call instead of going all in with a flush draw in this situation, is if we are holding Jd Td 9c 8c, because in addition to the straight draw and the flush draw, this hand also gives us a straight flush draw plus a backdoor flush draw.
So according to Flop Hero, the more outs we have in this situation, the more aggressive our actions should be. And the opposite also stands true, the fewer the outs, we should call or just fold.
Let’s say that we are playing in a 6-handed PLO game, no rake and no ante. The starting stack is 30bb.
This time we are on the BTN and the action is folded to us, we raise it to 3.5 bb with the same hand as the above example.
SB folds and the BB 3-bets to a pot size or 11bb. We made a call and the Flop comes:
We are now holding a wrap where any 5, 8, 9, or T gives as a straight, meaning we have 13 outs. The BB goes all-in for the remaining 9bb and we need to take an action.
Here is how Flop Hero approaches this spot.
You can click here to analyze this example in Flop Hero
As you can see, in this situation, we should call with the majority of our range, and the same goes for the hand we are holding in this example – JhTh9s8s. In fact, in this situation we should be calling with all twelve possible JT98 combinations. The reason for this is that 13 outs in this situation are more than enough to make a profitable call with the pot odds we are getting.
- Learn to count the winning outs at any point of the hand, specially for nut hands.
- Understand probabilities for each type of draw, employing handy techniques like the Rule of 4 and 2.
- Learn how to play a draw with advanced tools like Flop Hero’s Pot Limit Omaha Solver.
These principles offer valuable insights, whether you are just starting out or aiming to refire your existing Omaha strategy. Embrace the complexity of Omaha, and let the counting of outs be your guide to a more strategic, enjoyable, and successful poker career!