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Limit Dramaha: An Introduction

by Kevin Haney |  Published: Jul 03, 2019


Dramaha is an exciting new game on the mixed-game scene offering a plethora of action, interesting decisions, and brutal beats. It is a split-pot game where the holder of the best five card draw hand splits with the best Omaha high holding.

Two different variants of Dramaha have become most prevalent; the draw side can either be the best five card draw high or the best deuce to seven low. Dramaha played for high is typically just referred to as High Dramaha or just plain Dramaha while the version played for low is specified as Deuce to Seven (2-7) Dramaha.

Many other variants are possible, what wins on the draw side is only limited to your imagination. For example, the winner in draw could also be who has the best badugi or even something completely obscure such as who has the most digits of Bob’s zip code.

Regardless of what wins for draw the strength of your holding on that side is extremely important. For example, if you are playing Bob’s Zip Code Dramaha and his zip is 19873 you have a monster holding when dealt a hand containing A987 (Aces are one). Raise and re-raise with impunity as you are almost always guaranteed half the pot and will be freerolling to win it all.

As expected Dramaha is popular in home games, however, it is now often spread in casino mixed-games, even those played at the higher limits. It is a nice addition to mixed-games because it adds at least in part another flop game to the rotation. It can be played as both limit and no-limit; however, since the limit version is much more popular that is what we discuss in this and all future articles.

Mixed-games are often dominated by draw games and while these are fun, playing them for long stretches can get monotonous. When you fold in a draw game there is nothing to look at and you have no idea what you would have caught had you stayed in the hand. Also, with only one draw, Dramaha tends to play faster than other draw games especially considering that it would be extremely rare to run out of cards and have to re-shuffle the muck.

In all variants of Dramaha the overall 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 comes another round of betting. After the flop betting round all players then have one single opportunity to draw in an attempt to improve both their draw and Omaha hands. The turn and river are dealt each followed by a round of betting, and at showdown the best draw holding splits with the best Omaha high hand.

Let’s walk through an example from High Dramaha to get a feel for what this game is about. The action folds to you in the cutoff where you look down at KHeart Suit KDiamond Suit 10Club Suit 9Diamond Suit 5Heart Suit. A pair of kings is a good hand for this position in draw. With regards to Omaha strength you have the pair of kings, two possible flush draws, and some straight potential. This is certainly a hand you want to play so you open-raise but are three-bet by the small blind who holds JSpade Suit JClub Suit 10Spade Suit 10Heart Suit 2Diamond Suit.

This is an easy re-raise for the small blind with jacks up in draw along with some decent potential in Omaha as well. He is a big favorite to have the best draw hand so his re-raise is both for value and to eliminate the big blind. As you will learn over the next several articles whoever has the best draw hand is typically a big overall favorite.

After getting re-raised it’s highly likely that your kings are not currently the best draw hand. There isn’t really an incentive for you to re-raise as a semi-bluff as your opponent may already hold a draw hand he intends to take to showdown and if you end up drawing three cards your hand is face up as a single high pair anyway. So you just call the re-raise and the flop comes down as 9Heart Suit 7Spade Suit 2Heart Suit.

From the small blind’s perspective this is a decent flop; he was hoping to flop a set but he has an overpair, a gut-shot straight draw, and a backdoor flush draw. Overpairs are not tremendously strong in five-card Omaha but there is still a decent chance he holds the best Omaha hand. From the cutoff position you could have two smaller pair (that did not make a set), one smaller pair, or some drawing hands such as AClub Suit KClub Suit 8Club Suit 3Club Suit QDiamond Suit.

The small blind bets, and he would do so regardless of the flop because with jacks up it’s so likely he currently holds the best draw hand (which if so, is a big favorite to hold up) and your Omaha holding is a complete unknown entity.

It’s a good flop for you because unless the small blind has trip aces, aces, or a set you are probably ahead in Omaha, and if not you also have a flush draw to fall back on. That said there really isn’t a reason to raise his flop bet because with the probable second-best draw hand you are still an underdog. Against a range of aces, two pair, trips, or made hands your opponent is a bigger favorite in draw than you are in Omaha. Secondly, if you improve after the draw you will almost always get a chance to raise him on the turn.

So you just call the flop bet and your opponent draws one card. His most likely holding here is two pair; however, a few other hands are possible such as 8-8-8-6 where he has trips and also decided to keep the six for an open-ended straight draw in Omaha.

With our holding we should draw two cards to the KHeart Suit KDiamond Suit 5Heart Suit. In case you are curious keeping the nine as well and only drawing one would be a mistake. We already hold an overpair and only drawing one significantly impedes our chances to overtake his probable superior draw holding.

The turn is dealt immediately after the draw and is the 3Spade Suit for a board of 9Heart Suit 7Spade Suit 2Heart Suit 3Spade Suit. We did not make a flush but were lucky to make KHeart Suit KDiamond Suit 5Heart Suit 5Club Suit 6Spade Suit for two pair. With this improvement we should raise our opponent’s turn bet as it’s more likely we will scoop our opponent than vice versa. Bad beats do happen, so if he started with aces up he is dominating us, but the river in Omaha may end up salvaging half the pot for our holding.

As it turned out our opponent did not improve in either direction and we ended up scooping the pot. When our opponent got raised on the turn he realized that he’s in a pretty bad spot. Since the Omaha board really didn’t change it’s highly likely we improved in draw to a hand that beats him. However, his call down is correct in this particular hand since he should have many outs (jacks, tens, eights, and spades) that has a good chance win in Omaha. And there was still a slim chance he still held the best draw hand.

Hopefully this month’s article gave you a good feel of what this game is about and next issue we will introduce the Golden Rule of Dramaha that is crucial to your success in all of the different variants that you play. ♠

Kevin Haney is a former actuary of MetLife but left the corporate job to focus on his passions for poker and fitness. He is co-owner of Elite Fitness Club in Oceanport, NJ and is a certified personal trainer. With regards to poker he got his start way back in 2003 and particularly enjoys taking new players interested in mixed games under his wing and quickly making them proficient in all variants. His new mixed-games website Counting Outs is a great starting resource for a plethora of games ranging from the traditional to the exotic. He can be reached at