Have you played the game of the future yet? Pot-Limit Omaha has been growing in popularity over the past decade or so, as more No-Limit Hold’em players decide to expand their repertoire and look for more opportunities to cash in. If you want to play Omaha poker for the first time, playing a tournament is an excellent decision – your risk will be capped at the buy-in plus the entry fee, and you could end up with a nice pile of money at the end.

Here’s another great thing about Omaha: Online poker was practically made for these tournaments. You can conceal your intentions much more easily when you play anonymously at Bodog, and when you get good enough at it, you can play up to 20 tables at the same time. Try doing that at the World Series of Poker. But for now, start with one table, and start with a very basic template for your Omaha poker tournament strategy.

Every Poker Tournament Has Stages

The best way to approach these tournaments is to divide them up into several stages. You could make it very simple and think about them in terms of the beginning, the middle and the end, but the way tournaments are structured, the end stage should also be divided into three: the bubble, the final table, and heads-up. Each stage requires a different strategy if you want to go as deep as possible in your Omaha tournament.

In the beginning stage, when everyone has a healthy stack of chips, you’re pretty much free to play as you see fit – but caution is usually the best approach. Survival is more important in general than accumulating chips when you play a poker tournament. Once you reach the middle stages and the stacks get shorter relative to the blinds, you’ll have more incentive to take risks and scoop up those chips, with the aim to have a usable stack for the later stages.

Become an Omaha Bubble Boss

Everything changes again once you get close to the money bubble. It’s no fun being the last person not to cash in; unless you have a mountain of chips, don’t risk busting out when there are smaller stacks than yours. Let them get eliminated first, then you can get back to business when the bubble bursts.

Once you’ve reached the final table, you have to start opening with wider ranges as more people get eliminated, and you have to start open-shoving your hands once your stack gets small enough. By the time you’re heads-up in an Omaha tournament, you’ll be opening almost all your hands from the button, and calling pre-flop with almost all your hands from the big blind. You’ll also bet out with hands you wouldn’t even dream about betting heavily in the early stage, like baby flushes. Once you’ve learned how to change gears like this from one stage to the next, you’ll be ready to take your Omaha tournament play to the next level – which we’ll get to in Part 2.