Strength Categories

Crucial to mastering Omaha poker is a deep understanding of hand strength categories, a concept that goes far beyond the basics of playing for big hands and flushes. In the PLO game, the strength of a single hand is not just about the individual cards but how they synergistically interact to form powerful combinations. This article delves into the breakdown of all hand strength categories that we have here in FlopHero,

We decided to categorize hands into three distinct levels or groups like pairs, two pairs, sets, straights, and more, but also into the possible draws any hand could have. Each category with its unique characteristics and potential for success at the table. Understanding these categories is not just about recognizing what you hold; it’s about foreseeing possibilities, outmaneuvering opponents, and making strategic decisions that increase your chances of winning.

In Omaha, holding 4 hole cards and the multiplicity of starting hand combinations significantly broadens the spectrum of possible hand categories you can hold with just a single hand. Unlike Texas Hold’em, where the strength of a hand can often be immediately apparent and hands doesn’t have overlapping categories, Omaha demands a more nuanced approach to hand evaluation. This game’s complexity arises from the need to use exactly two of your hole cards and three community cards, making the process of hand categorization both critical and challenging.

Join us as we embark on this comprehensive guide to hand strength categories and how we group them in three different levels.


First level: Strength.

In our app, we decided to assign the first category to a each hand based on the better made hand it currently holds at the actual street. So for example, if our hand has a made flush but also a pair, we just group it into the “Flush” category. Each hand can only be present at one individual First level category.

The following categories are based on the rules of poker and should be very well known by every poker player:


Straight flush: All five cards of the made hand are in a sequence, all of the same suit.


Poker: Holding four cards of the same rank.


Full house: Having trips or three of the same rank and also a pair, or two different cards of a rank.


Flush: All five cards of the same suit, but not in a sequence.


Straight: Five cards in a sequence, but from different suits. The ace can be the lowest card for A-2-3-4-5 or the top card for T-J-Q-K-A


Trips: Three cards of the same rank.


Two pair: Two different pairs.


Pair: Two cards of the same rank.


Draws: After this point in the list, the player doesn’t have any made hand. But if the streets are Flop or Turn, the player can hold some kind of draw. This means that he have a project to a stronger hand, when the future board cards hit favorable outs to his project. Draws are only available on flop or turn, for the river there can be only made hands or Air. All draws are then considered air, as there are no more cards to come.


Air: The combos resulting in the last category should be the ones that doesn’t belong to any made hand or any kind of draw from the list above. The highest rank in the hand gets to play. In this example, the Ace plays as the highest card (it’s called “Ace High”), and it wins against a King High.

We then breakdown the range of each player based on the above list and show all the combos on the tab “Strength”. We show the percentage of the range that each category is composed by and the number of combos inside. Plus we aggregate the strategy of all combos inside and the EV for each action and the total EV for the category.

So our list of hand categories for the first level should look something like this, for example on a flop like JcTd9d in a SRP between Button and Big blind.



Second level: Strength breakdown

When the user expands each category from the list, he will reveal additional information giving more detail about the quality of the made hand or draw.

We have to mention that in Omaha is important to know which of the possible hands is what is called “nut”, that means the best possible hand given the board. Drawing or holding the best possible hand is a key concept in this game, as dominating all the other hands is crucial to win more money from your opponents but also to be aware when you could be dominated.

For example, if there are 3 clubs on the flop JcTc9c and you are holding the Ace of clubs plus any other club, you have the nut flush or the strongest flush possible. If you have the King of clubs, you have the second nuts, and so on for the Queen (third nuts), etc.

So we always divide the strength into holding the nuts or not, giving more detail for Flushes and Straights like the 2nd or 3rd nuts.

When holding a single pair or trips, we name it having the nut Kicker or not. This means that you hold the highest possible card as a companion of the made hand (that is not the part of a made hand): For example, with AK54 in hand a AT2 flop, you have a pair of aces with a King kicker, or AA+KT2.

This second level is only available for all made hands, the Draws and Air sections doesn’t have any second level so we show just the third level for them as they just consist only on its different types of draws.


Third level: Type of draw

In the last level we categorize each combo into the best draw it has at the current street, based on the number of outs to complete the project. So if a hand has a straight draw but also a backdoor flush draw, we only show it in the straight draw section.

The more outs a project have on flop or turn, the stronger the draw it is as is more probable to be completed on future streets. That means we order those draws based on the number of outs, from most outs or stronger draw top to weaker draws on bottom. To know more about the outs, please check this article:


Combo draw: This is a hand that has multiple draw possibilities as it contains all flush draws with aditional outs for at straight with least an insided straight or gutshot, so it should have at least the 9 outs for the flush + 3 outs to a straight. For example, a hand might have both a straight and a flush draw. Combo draws are powerful because they offer several outs to improve the hand, even if it’s not currently having a made hand, as it is very likely to hit on future streets. We show if the draw is to the nut card or not.

Wrap: A wrap draw in Omaha is a straight draw with more outs than the usual open-ended straight draw that has 8 outs. For example, if the board is 6-7-8 and you have 4-5-9-10, you have a wrap draw because any 4, 5, 9, or 10 will complete your straight.. We also give the nut category to the best possible draw that makes the nut straight.

Flush draw: This draw occurs when you have four cards of the same suit and need one more to complete a flush. In Omaha, since you must use exactly two cards from your hand, you need two of your hole cards to be of the same suit for a legitimate flush draw. We are then showing here all flush draw with no additional draws, or just 9 plain outs. Having the nut flush draw is a key element in Omaha so we show if it’s holded or not.

OESD Draw: An Open-Ended Straight Draw happens when you are one card away from completing a straight. This happens when any card at either end of the sequence will complete the straight, for example holding AcTc9d2d in a board with 8c7d3h, where any 6 or any J gives you a made straight.

Gutshot Draw: This is a type of straight draw where you need one specific card to complete the straight. It’s often referred to as an “inside” straight draw. For example, if you have 5-6-8-9, you need a 7 to complete the nut straight.

Backdoor Flush Draw: A backdoor is a draw only available on the flop, that requires two specific cards on both the turn and the river to complete. These are generally weaker draws because of the lower probability of hitting the needed cards consecutively. We show double backdoors, only possible when you have a double suited hand, and backdoors to the nuts or not.

This is an example of all the possible draws that are available for the Button in a SRP versus the Big Blind, on a heavy draw board like 9c8c8d


After all the Draw section is finished, we have the last category that is Air. The hands that belongs here are the ones that doesn’t have any possible project, but we still can get more strategic information from them, as they could be blocking some of the important cards from the range of their opponents.

Flush Blocker: If we don’t have any made flush but we hold one the suit cards of the flush, it effectively removes the probability that your opponent has compleated it. This is specially important if we hold the nut blocker. For example, we have the Ace of spades with AsKdTc9c and the board has a possible flush 3 spades like Ks8s2s, so we block the nut flush but we don’t have it. This is will only be shown at any street that contains 3 cards of the same suit.

Flush Draw Blocker: This is only shown when there are two cards of the same suit on the board, and we don’t have any flush draw on our own but we hold 1 of the cards of that suit, so that removes 1 card of the possible flush draws. For example, we have the Ace of spades in AsKdTc9c and the board has a possible flush draw with 2 spades, so we block the nut flush draw.

Straight Blocker: This is only shown at a street that has at least 3 connected cards that can make a straight and you hold any of the other 2 cards that can make that straight. Example, you hold AK92 and the board is T86, there is a possible straight with any combo that has 97 inside. You block the 9

Straight Draw Blocker: This is only shown at street that has at least 2 connected cards where an Open-Ended straight draw is possible. We block 1 of the cards from the possible OESD straight draws. Example, we Hold AK92 in a T87 board.