The Prettiest Omaha Hand I Ever Saw

Having Way The Best Of It, Except Timing

Mike CaroI am a lucky player; a powerful winning force surrounds me. -- Mike Caro

In Texas Hold'em and 7-Card Stud, you make the best hand you can using seven cards. In Omaha, you have nine cards to work with to make a five card hand. So in Omaha you can have situations where a hand like KKQQ gets a board of KQ772, where you flop an "extra" hand that beats everybody else, but is useless because you have an even better hand.

In casinos that offer bad beat jackpots, you can even have situations where you uselessly beat yourself in what would be a jackpot situation if another person held the hand, like holding KKQQ on a KQ7KQ board. Your four of a kind loses to your other four of a kind, which gets you the pot, but no jackpot.

Sometimes though, you can get an Omaha hand that can't lose, but is constructed in such a way that you get an obscene amount of freeroll action.

The best looking Omaha hand I ever saw took place around 1990 during the Diamond Jim Brady tournament series at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles. I folded my hand and watched as the five-way action was capped before the flop. Mike "The Mad Genuis" Caro held A♠T♠K♡K♢. The flop hit his hand very nicely by coming down Q♣J♠T♡. He bet, and got four callers.

But when the miraculous K♠ came on the turn, all hell broke loose.

So now the board was KQJT, with two spades, meaning anyone with an ace and another Broadway card would have an ace-high straight. Mike bet, three people called, then it came to the last player, who also had the ace high straight, and he shrugged at seeing four people putting in money in front of him (meaning one of the players did not have the ace high straight) and then he raises. Mike reraises, three callers, then this last player caps the betting.

Five players for capped betting before the flop and on the turn, and look at Mike's hand: he has the ace high straight... but he also has the top set of KKK for the best full house draw... and he also also has the nut spade flush draw! On top of that, he holds the T♠ which gives him the Royal Flush draw, and prevents any player from having a smaller straight flush draw. On top of that, no one can make four tens since Mike has one of them.

So, with the action capped five ways, the only way Mike can possibly lose is if someone makes four jacks or four queens -- but if it comes the Q♠ to make four queens, Mike still wins with a Royal Flush.

Of course there are many offsuit small cards that could come where Mike would have to split the pot four ways, but even then he'd still turn a profit because of the one lunatic in the pot who was either drawing dead to a flush or to two pair or to the possible one-outers of QQQ or JJJ.

When the river card came the 5♠, three of his opponents literally groaned as Mike bet. But they all still called, except for the one player, who presumably did have some sort of full house draw.

Mike raked in a gigantic pot... of $5 chips. Unfortunately for him, Mike got the best Omaha hand of all time at the worst possible time, the first or second round of the tournament!

See also Mike Caro's 52nd birthday and The Only Limit Five Card Draw Poker Tournament in the Past 25 Years