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Omaha poker is a strategy game derived from Texas Hold’em which is gaining popularity in casinos and online. One of the key differences in Omaha Poker is that each player is dealt four cards face down, as opposed to two cards.
If you are new to playing Omaha, or want to know more about the rules of the game, you will find some of the most important information, below.
About Omaha Poker
The origins of Omaha poker are fairly unknown. All researchers know is that California-based professional poker player and WSOP bracelet winner, Robert Turner, was the first person to bring it to the US. He introduced the game to William “Bill” Walter Boyd, the man who, at the time, was the manager of the Las Vegas Golden Nuggets Casino card room. As a result, it was named “Nugget Hold’em” in homage to the famous casino where it all began.
— High Roller Radio (@HighRollerRadio) December 10, 2016
Omaha Poker is very similar to Texas Hold’em, except the player is dealt four cards rather than two. These are the ‘hole cards’ which belong only to that player. Five community cards are then dealt face-up on the board.
With each turned community card, there is a round of betting. This is where Omaha Poker gets much more complicated than Texas Hold’em, as the amount of possible hands for each player multiplies every time a new card is turned over.
For a player to make a hand, they must use exactly three of the community cards together with exactly two of their hole cards to make the best five-card hand. This is one of the noticeable differences from Texas Hold’em, as players must choose two of their four cards. Instead of being able to use different variations of cards (e.g. four community cards and one from your hand), Omaha Poker rules dictate that you must use two of your hole cards when forming your best hand.
Where the game gets trickier is when these card combinations come into play. For instance, if all spades are showing on the board, and you are holding an ace of spades and a king of diamonds, you would have a flush in Texas Hold’em. When playing Omaha, however, you would simply be holding an ace high hand, since both cards must be used.
Types of Betting in Omaha Poker Games
Pot Limit (known as “PLO poker”) – This is the most popular form of Omaha poker. The maximum amount that a player can bet is the total sum of the chips in the pot.
No Limit – A player can bet any amount, regardless of what is in the pot. This is thought of as the most aggressive version of Omaha.
Fixed Limit – A pot can only be raised a maximum of four times and the bet or raise must be equal to the size of the blinds.
Variations of the Game
Omaha Hi – In this version of Omaha poker, the highest five card hand takes the pot.
Omaha Hi-Lo – Sometimes called “Omaha Eight” or “Omaha 8/B”, Omaha Hi-Lo plays the same as Omaha Hi until the showdown. When the showdown does come around, two possible hands could win – both the highest and lowest hands around the table.
The player with the best high hand takes half the pot at the showdown, and the player with the best low hand takes the other half. However, to qualify as a low hand, the player must have five unpaired cards ranked 8 or below. The best possible hand is one where the same player holds both the highest and the lowest hands simultaneously, winning the entire pot.
How to Play Omaha
Once a player has seen their hole cards, they now have the option to play their hand by calling or raising the big blind. The first action begins to the left of the big blind. Once they have decided to call, raise or fold, the action proceeds clockwise around the table.
After the first round of betting, the ‘flop’ is dealt face-up on the board. The flop includes the first three community cards. The first player to play on the flop is the one sat immediately clockwise from the button.
Once a round of betting has concluded post-flop, the ‘turn’ is dealt face-up on the board. The turn is the fourth community card. Play once again begins with the active player clockwise from the button.
Once the turn is complete, the ‘river’ is dealt face-up on the board. The river is the fifth and final community card in Omaha poker. The final round of betting begins with the active player immediately clockwise from the button.
When the final betting round is complete, the remaining players must show their cards. If there is more than one remaining player, the last person to bet or raise should show their hand. If no bets take place during the final round, the player who is immediately clockwise from the button must show their hand first.
Once all the hands have been shown, the player with the best five-card hand is christened the winner. If two players have identical hands, the pot is equally divided between players with the best hands (unless Omaha Hi-Lo is being played, in which case the player with the best high hand and the best low hand split the pot).
Once a pot is awarded and the game is complete, a new Omaha poker game can begin, with the button moving clockwise to the next player.