Mutual of Omaha Poker: A Variation on Traditional Omaha Poker

What is with poker all of a sudden becoming so prevalent in America? I’ll never understand how poker has become a wildly popular spectator sport on television. Aside from that, the game has wormed its way into every nook and cranny of American society. It’s not enough that you can actually buy tiny little poker deck keychains from a fifty cent gumball machine, but they’re actually marketing the game to kids as well. Oh well, when you spot a trend as a writer, you’ve got no choice but to dive in headfirst. And so I offer you an article on one of the few poker topics that as far as I can see hasn’t been thoroughly flogged to death. The poker variation known as Mutual of Omaha poker.

The traditional form of Omaha poker has become wildly popular in recent years, but there’s a variation on this form of poker that can serve to make it even more interesting. Mutual of Omaha is a spit poker variation that earned its moniker courtesy of the venerable insurance company that used to sponsor the late, lamented television show Wild Kingdom. The game is played virtually identically to the way regular Omaha poker is played, but with one important exception. In this version, there is the added benefit of getting insurance.

In Mutual of Omaha poker, a player is allowed to draw an extra card in addition to his two regular downcards. This extra card is dealt down. The player can then use all his downcards in an attempt to match the mutual upcards that are available to all hands. Of course, as with real life insurance, you will have to pay for the privilege. Often the insurance costs as much as half of what lies in the pot. That may seem like far too stiff a price to pay, but in many cases it can be well worth the cost. For instance, if the raising hasn’t been wild and woolly, that would indicate that no one at the table has unbeatable hand. In this situation, buying the insurance might make sense.

Let’s say that you’re holding a queen and jack in the hole and the common upcards include both a queen and jack. Buying the insurance in this case would make sense since the player has a queen and jack paired, plus an additional four opportunities of drawing another to complete a full house. Depending on the other cards at play among the common upcards, he might also have a chance at drawing a straight. In addition, if the suits are in favor, there’s a chance for drawing a flush. All of these chances for improving the hand depends upon what you’ve got, of course, but when playing Mutual of Omaha poker you have to keep in mind that with the insurance card, you increase your chances of drawing a better hand significantly.

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