Drawmaha Rules and Basic Strategy

Rules of the Game

Drawmaha is a poker variant where the best Five Card Draw hand splits the pot with the best Omaha High Hand.  Two different variants of Drawmaha are prevalent; the draw side can either be the best Five Card Draw High or the best Deuce to Seven Low.  Deuce to Seven Drawmaha is becoming more popular; however, both versions are often spread in Las Vegas especially when the WSOP is in town.

In both cases the structure is the same.  Everyone is dealt five cards followed by an initial round of betting.  The flop is then dealt and along with it another round of betting.  After the flop betting all players then have one opportunity to make discards and draw to try and improve both their Five Card Draw and Omaha hands.  Then the turn and river are dealt followed by a betting round after each of them. At showdown the best Five Card Draw holding splits with the best Omaha High hand.

Basic Strategy

In the Five Card Draw High variant it is very important to try and start with the best high draw hand the majority of the time.  This is because there is only one draw and hand values do not fluctuate greatly; in other words if you started with the best hand you will end up with the best hand the majority of the time.  When you have the best high draw hand you are able to reap this benefit for four rounds of betting.   So how do we gauge how often we have the best high draw hand?  This concept is also very important in Archie and covered extensively in this article covering the high hands.

Archie Introduction Part 2 – High Hands

When playing Deuce to Seven Drawmaha the focus should also be on playing hands that are competing for the low half but for a slightly different reason.  The equities in 2-7 hands run much closer; however, the best Omaha High hands have virtually no chance at all to win the low half unless it is some double suited middle rundown hand with a gap.

For example, the 9 8 7♣ 4♣ draw is a not a premium low draw but it can make a nine low as well as make a very strong Omaha hand.  But if you play A K A♣ Q♣ J♠ you are only playing for half which is typically not a good strategy.  If it’s a multi-way pot and you can get in for a single bet it’s worth seeing a flop but you have to crush the flop or you need to get out.  Your chances are also dubious if you start out with three card hands such as 2 3 7♣.  With this hand you are an underdog to king high on the low side and it goes without saying that you require quite a bit of help to win the Omaha half.

Further Learning

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02/18/2024 04:57 am GMT

Dramaha by Jim Donahue,  (Rating 8/10) – This book covers the variant of Drawmaha where the best Five Card Draw High hand splits with the best Omaha holding.  It is well written, entertaining, has lots of examples, and hits some important concepts very well.

However, a few things prevent me from rating it higher.  He correctly indicates that starting with the best Five Card Draw hand is very important yet he does not give any guidance at all on how to gauge mathematically on how often this is this case based on your holding and position.  Also, many of his examples center on a pot limit version of the game.  I assume this is prevalent in his home games but in a casino it’s spread as a limit game.