Omaha Poker

Omaha is actually fully named Omaha Holdem. Contrary to popular belief, Holdem is actually a term used to describe a method of poker play rather than being the name only assigned to Texas Holdem. Holdem implies the similarity between Omaha Holdem and Texas Holdem in that the game uses community cards. This is the same concept as in Stud where players have both face up and face down cards but they are all only in control of the single player. Of course, Draw implies the process of drawing cards to make a better hand at a certain point of the game and there are no face up cards. It is unknown when the game of Omaha Holdem first appeared but a game simply called Omaha was played before the popular Omaha Holdem first made its appearance at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas.

Omaha Rules

Like Texas Holdem but unlike 7 Card Stud, there is no flat ante that is required of all players in the game before the first cards can be dealt. Instead, there is a big and small blind that must be posted by the two players to the left of the player assigned the dealer chip. The big blind is the minimum bet at the table while the small blind is half. Like the ante, these wagers are not optional. However, the small blind player can choose to not post the remaining half of their wager and fold out of the hand before having to wager any additional money. By doing so, however, they will lose their original small blind wager.

One major rule difference between Omaha and Texas Holdem is the way in which you must use your hole cards, or the cards that you receive face down. In Omaha Holdem, you are required to use at least two of your hole cards to form any hand. For example, you might have a 10 of Hearts and a Queen of Spades in your hole cards and there are 4 Hearts present in the community cards and a Queen of Clubs. While you would have a Flush in Texas Holdem, you merely have a pair of Queens in Omaha Holdem - assuming that there are no better hands available by using any other 2 card combination in your hole cards.

How to Play Omaha

Following the posting of the blinds, Omaha Holdem play continues much like that of Texas Holdem. One exception is that, immediately following the blinds, each player is dealt 4 hole cards rather than the 2 dealt in Texas Holdem. After the face down cards have been distributed, there is a first betting round in the hand. After this betting round, 3 community cards - or face up cards available to every player at the table - are placed in the middle of the playing field. This is followed by a second betting round. During each betting round, players have the option to check, raise, fold or bet, depending on the actions of players before them.

After the second betting round has concluded, a fourth community card is dealt and players participate in a third betting round. Following this, the final community card is dealt and the final betting round begins. Just like in Texas Holdem, the 4th and 5th community cards can be referred to as the Turn and River. When the final betting round has been completed, the showdown between the remaining players begins. The player with the most valuable hand wins the pot. In a variety of Omaha where both the highest and lowest hands each take a half of the pot, these hands are also determined and awarded at this time.

Omaha Strategy

One of the most frequent strategy mistakes that beginning Omaha players make is not folding their starting hand often enough. It can be very easy to create a seemingly good hand from almost any set of 4 cards. Statistically, nuts tend to win hands in Omaha more often than other combinations. However, low pairs very seldom win pots in Omaha. It is a much better idea to look out for big hands like Flush/Straight Draws and Full Houses.