Is Omaha Easier Than Texas Holdem? The Mathematical Answer May Surprise You


Texas holdem is the most popular poker variation. Therefore, it makes sense that many people start with this game.

But many holdem players become adventurous and want to try a new poker variation. Omaha is the logical choice, because it’s the second most popular poker game.

Players who make this transition often want to know if Omaha is the easier game. This is a difficult question to answer, because there are multiple factors to consider.

But the math behind both games gives us an indication on which poker variation is easier. I’m going to discuss which game has the simpler math along with which poker variation is easier from a strategy perspective.

But first, I want to discuss the fundamental differences between Omaha and Texas holdem for players who are new to one or the other.

Main Differences between Omaha and Texas Holdem

Omaha and holdem are similar in many respects. They both have four betting streets (preflop, flop, turn & river), use five community cards, and feature common poker hand rankings.

But the key way they differ is in terms of how many hole cards players receive. Texas holdem sees you get two hole cards, while Omaha gives you four.

The fact that you receive four hole cards in Omaha makes it easier to form bigger winning hands. But keep in mind that you can only use two of the four hole cardsalong with three community cards to make your hand.

Even with this restriction, Omaha is a game that sees bigger winning hands. You oftentimes must hold the nuts to win pots on a full-ring table.

Holdem is different in this regard, because you normally won’t have a good hand due to your limited hole cards. Therefore, skilled players like to raise preflop whenever they do get good cards.

Doing so allows you to either take down the pot preflop or isolate a single opponent that you hopefully have an advantage against.

Both games can be played in a variety of betting structures, including limit, pot-limit, and no-limit. But holdem and Omaha differ in terms of which is the most-popular betting structure.

Most Omaha players choose pot-limit tables, and most holdem players enjoy the no-limit variety. The limit betting structure isn’t very popular in either variation.


Omaha has another version called Omaha Hi-Lo, where the pot split is between the winning low and high hand. The low hand consists of cards ranging from ace to 8, while the high hand is based on normal poker rankings.

Players can win both portions of the pot if they have the top low and high hand. And you can use different hole cards among your four to make each hand.

No limit poker is an easier game to understand, versus the more complicated structures of pot-limit and Omaha Hi-Lo games. This is a big reason why no-limit Texas holdem remains the most-played poker variant across the globe.

Degree of Difficulty with Omaha and Texas Holdem Math

Some people feel that Omaha is a simpler game in terms of math, because it’s easier to make good hands with four hole cards instead of two. Straight flushes and sets are far more common in this game than in Texas holdem.

The latter is more wide-open due to only having two hole cards. Unlike Omaha, you can win more hands in Texas holdem with high pairs and two pairs.

The best starting cards in holdem are pocket aces. You’re also in a good position if you have kings, queens, jacks, or AK suited.

Having two aces in your four Omaha hole cards makes for a good starting hand too. This gives you a better chance at forming a nut flush or high straight.

Omaha Hi-Lo players also have stronger odds at forming the nut low hand with an ace.

But pocket pairs don’t carry anywhere near the preflop significance as in holdem. Therefore, Omaha players are more cautious with their preflop betting.

It’s also worth mentioning that Omaha features a ridiculous amount starting hand combinations. Omaha has 16,432 distinct starting hands, while holdem only has 169.

This alone shows that Omaha and Omaha Hi/Lo are complicated games.

Calling with Drawing Hands in Omaha

You must consider the degree of difficulty when deciding what to call with in Omaha versus holdem

Texas holdem players can figure out when to call with drawing hands based on a combo of pot odds, outs, and hand equity. Pot odds refer to how much money you’re contributing to the pot; outs are the number of remaining cards that’ll make your hand; and hand equity is the percentage of the pot that’s yours based on your odds of making the drawing hand.

Here’s an example:

  • Your opponent bets $10 into a $60 pot.
  • The pot is now worth $70.
  • You must call $10 to win $70.
  • This makes your pot odds 14.3% (10/70).
  • You have an open-ended straight draw.
  • This leaves you with 8 outs.
  • Hand equity formula is: ([outs x 2] + 1)
  • ({8 x 2] + 1) = 17
  • Your hand equity is 17%.
  • You should call, because your hand equity is better than the pot odds.

Beginners will need timeto fully grasp this concept. But using pot odds and hand equity becomes easier after a few sessions.

Omaha is different in this aspect, because you have so many outs and hand possibilities. This creates difficulty in using the sametype of formula as with Texas holdem pot odds.

The best way to figure out your chances of making hands is by using an Omaha odds calculator. You can also memorize the specific chances of forming different hands by the turn and river.

Here’s an example using your odds of making drawing hands in Omaha Hi/Lo:

  • 1 out = 2.3% chance to make hand by turn; 4.4% chance by river
  • 2 outs = 4.5% by turn; 8.8% by river
  • 3 outs = 6.8% by turn; 13.0% by river
  • 4 outs = 9.1% by turn; 17.2% by river
  • 5 outs = 11.4% by turn; 21.2% by river
  • 6 outs = 13.6% by turn; 25.2% by river
  • 7 outs = 15.6% by turn; 29.0% by river
  • 8 outs = 18.2% by turn; 32.7% by river
  • 9 outs = 20.5% by turn; 36.7% by river
  • 10 outs = 22.7% by turn; 39.9% by river
  • 11 outs = 25.0% by turn; 43.3% by river
  • 12 outs = 27.3% by turn; 46.7% by river
  • 13 outs = 29.6% by turn; 49.9% by river
  • 14 outs = 31.8% by turn; 53.0% by river
  • 15 outs = 34.1% by turn; 56.1% by river
  • 16 outs = 36.7% by turn; 59.0% by river
  • 17 outs = 38.6% by turn; 61.8% by river
  • 18 outs = 40.1% by turn; 64.5% by river
  • 19 outs = 43.2% by turn; 67.2% by river
  • 20 outs = 45.5% by turn; 69.7% by river
  • 21 outs = 47.7% by turn; 72.1% by river
  • 22 outs = 50.0% by turn; 74.4% by river
  • 23 outs = 52.3% by turn; 76.7% by river
  • 24 outs = 54.5% by turn; 78.8% by river
  • 25 outs = 56.8% by turn; 80.8% by river

Omaha Involves More Luck

I’ve established that Omaha is a tougher game in terms of wading through starting hands and calling with draws. But one way that it’s easier on beginners is the luck factor.

New players can expect to win more hands in Omaha, because hands run closer in value. Marginal Omaha cards aren’t as far off the leader as they are in Texas holdem.

A holdem player can go all-in with a high pocket pair and have an 80% chance to win if their opponent calls with a lesser pair. This means that the high-pair holder is going to win the vast majority of the time.

But if two Omaha players go all-in with non-made hands, odds are that the leader will only have around a 60% chance to win. Although this isn’t quite a coin flip, it closes the gap for the trailer.

Considering that beginners usually aren’t skilled as their opponents, they often call in spots where they’re behind.

This means that many players will have a better chance to win hands in Omaha

Meanwhile, skilled players often get sucked out when the player behind forms a better hand on a later street. This creates more swings for skilled grinders than normal.

But if you’re good at bankroll management and can control your emotions, then you’ll be able to handle the suckouts and bankroll swings.

Texas Holdem or Omaha Strategy – Which Is Easier?

Many players are split when it comes to whether Omaha or Texas holdem strategy is easier.

Difficulties in holdem strategy include dealing with high preflop betting action and determining when it’s profitable to call bets and raises. Many holdem hands are won before the flop, because there are plenty of raises on the first street.

Omaha is tough when trying to figure out where your non-made hands rank versus an opponent who could have a made hand. Sometimes you’ll have such a good draw that you’rein the lead against made cards.

You also must be able to deal with a high degree of Omaha variance without tilting. This sounds easy in theory, but it’s much tougher when you keep getting sucked out in a session.

One more difficult thing about playing Omaha is being able to track your drawing hands. The extra two hole cards make a difference when figuring out your odds and hand possibilities.

I still have times where I misjudge how my four hole cards interact with the board. This is still a possibility for me in Texas holdem but on a less-frequent basis.

New players will especially have difficulty in tracking multiple draws while also figuring out their opponent’s range. All players struggle with this in the beginning, notably when they come from holdem.


It’s easier to keep track of your hand possibilities and outs in Texas holdem. And while both games involve a high degree of strategy, holdem is easier for beginners to pick up.

Which Game Is Easier to Beat?

Whether it’s easier to win in Omaha or Texas holdem is yet another debatable matter.

I’ve already covered that the Omaha math and strategy are harder to pickup. This makes it seem like Omaha is also the tougher game to beat.

But Texas holdem is by far the most-popular poker variation available. Many players get their start here and continue building their skills.

This simple strategy also makes holdem player’s abilities run closer together. It’s sometimes hard to identify the weakest player at the table, because there are so many good holdem players today.

Omaha and Omaha Hi/Lo are also popular poker variations. But you can still find more soft games as an experienced grinder.

Plenty of Texas holdem players become curious and cross over to Omaha at some point. And while the higher variance gives them a chance to win more hands, they’re still going to lose more on average than skilled players.

The only problem is that you’ll find fewer Omaha tournaments and full cash game tables. This is especially a dilemma at smaller online poker sites and land-based casinos.

If you’re going to take advantage of new Omaha players, then I suggest playing at popular poker sites and/or living in big casino destinations


Omaha doesn’t feature as much preflop betting and raising action as Texas holdem. Nor is it as difficult to figure out where you’re at in hands, because the nuts win many pots.

But this certainly isn’t to say that Omaha is the easier game. It has more difficult math involved and tougher strategy.

Those who play a lot of Texas holdem especially struggle to adjust to having four hole cards. This forces you to keep track of more outs and potential hand combinations.

The good news, though, is that learning Omaha can pay off. I find that the overall player skill level is a bit worse than holdem.

Omaha isn’t so popular that everybody knows how to play and has worked on their strategy. Instead, plenty of new players filter into this game on a regular basis.

The only catch is that you must make sure your favorite online and land-based poker room has enough action. If this is the case, then I recommend learning the math and strategy for this game so that you can boost your poker profits.

Petko Stoyanov
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About Petko Stoyanov
My name is Petko Stoyanov, and I've been a gambling writer for more than ten years. I guess that was the natural path for me since I've loved soccer and card games for as long as I can remember! I have a long and fairly successful history with English Premier League betting and online poker, but I follow many other sports. I watch all big European soccer leagues, basketball, football, and tennis regularly, and I keep an eye on snooker, volleyball, and major UFC events.