Omaha poker is the second most famous variant of poker. Its rules and basic features are similar to Texas hold’em, but this type is much more dynamic. Omaha poker hands change greatly on every street, which makes players be highly involved and apply new tactics while in the hand.
Omaha poker types
Depending on the final goal of the omaha poker game, Omaha poker has two varieties:
- Omaha High (Pot-limit Omaha)
In Omaha High the winner is the player who manages to get Omaha poker winning hands with the strongest combination.
- Omaha hi-lo
In Omaha hi-lo there can be two winners – the players who possess the strongest and the weakest hand combination. In this case, the pot is divided between both of them.
If poker is new to you and you are a beginner, Omaha High\Pot-limit Omaha is a good way to start. This type is much easier and more popular.
How to play Omaha poker?
If you don’t know how to play omaha poker, of course, it would be an asset if you have previous experience playing Texas hold’em, as the basic rules of Omaha are identical. But still Omaha poker has specific features and differences in rules, which makes it more complicated but at the same time much more intriguing. Here we will consider the main rules to help you get started.
Omaha poker hand rankings
First of all you should get acquainted with the basic combinations and their seniority to build a winning omaha poker strategy. The stronger the poker omaha hands are, the lower they are on the list of omaha poker hand rankings:
|High card||This situation when no one in the hand has even one pair. The winner is determined by the highest card.|
|One pair||A situation where you have two cards of equal value. They may be either among your private cards, or the cards lying on the board (community cards).|
|Two pair||The situation is equivalent to the one described above. The only difference is that you have two matches.|
|Three-of-a-kind||This combination includes 3 cards of the same rank. But remember that three ‘pocket cards’ of equal denomination cannot be considered a three-of-a-kind, because two of them must be your pocket cards and one of these three cards – from the board, or vice versa.|
|Straight||This hand includes five cards of sequential rank, with cards of various suits. For example, Queen-Jack-10-9-8. If you compare two ‘Straight’ combinations, the hand with the highest rank wins.|
|Flush||This combination means you have five cards of the same suit, the ranks and their sequence are not important.|
|Full house||The hand of three cards of the same rank and two other cards of the matching rank, e.g.: 9-9-9-10-10. When comparing two Full House combinations, the basis for determining the seniority of cards is the card in the three-card combination. Therefore, the combination: 9-9-9-4-4 wins the combination: 8-8-8-Ace-Ace|
|Four-of-a-kind||Four cards of the equal rank. The rank of the fifth one is unimportant.|
|Straight Flush||Five cards of the same suit in sequence.|
|Royal Flush||It contains the following cards: Ace-King-Queen-Jack-10, where all of these cards are of the same suit.|
Omaha poker rules
To start an omaha poker game, you need from 2 to 10 players.
In poker omaha each player is dealt four private cards. In the process of forming a hand there are always 2 private and 3 community cards (from the board) involved.
The main requirement is to make a hand with the usage of exactly two private cards out of four.
To compose a hand Omaha poker encompasses a number of phases – betting rounds:
The Omaha poker game starts when the Big Blind places the mandatory bet. The purpose of this bet is to build up a starting pot.
The dealer button with a letter ‘D’ on it marks the status of a player named the ‘dealer’. Such a player has a function of putting blinds. This role moves clockwise to the next player each hand.
The betting round starts when the dealer deals four hole cards to the players.
This is the first round when each participant receives four cards from the dealer, so at this moment everyone can see his cards and assess chances. Community cards have not been dealt yet. The Big Blind places a bet.
After players get their private cards, the betting round begins with the player who sits on the left hand of the Big Blind. He has three options on how to act: call, raise or fold.
- Call means to make a bet of the same amount placed by the previous player.
- Raise stands for the situation when someone decides to increase the bet.
- Fold means not to participate in the hand.
The round goes on clockwise and each player in turn makes his move (opts for one of the three options). This round ends when the turn reaches the Big Blind. He either chooses to say ‘check’ (that means to skip a move if no one has raised before him), or decides to raise the bet.
At this phase the dealer places three community cards face up on the table. These cards will be later used by the players to make a winning combination for their final poker hand. When community cards are placed, the round called ‘flop’ begins. It is all the same as the pre-flop round.
The dealer opens up the fourth community card on the table, after which the same round of trade takes place with the same procedure: players take turns deciding to check, call, raise or fold.
Now players can realize their chances to win, because the dealer opens up the last fifth card. This time the participants still act following the same procedure – Check, Call, Raise or Fold.
This is the last round when all the players open their cards and after the winner is determined, he receives the winning pot. How is he chosen? The players try to make the highest winning hand by combining two of their cards with any three community ones out of five available. The aim is to have a 5-card poker hand with the strongest combination (see omaha poker hand rankings).
Omaha and Texas Hold’em: differences and similarities
On the whole, these two versions of poker are almost identical in their basic rules. Omaha is characterized by a stronger possibility to get the highest value poker hand and the pot’s size.
|1. The same betting rounds||1. In Omaha poker the dealer deals four private cards to each player.|
|2. The purpose of both games – a five-card hand||2. In Texas Hold’em two cards are dealt to participants.|
|3. The same poker hand rankings|
Speaking about combinations, in omaha holdem a hand must include 2 private cards and three cards from the board.
While in Texas Hold’em combinations can be composed using:
- Two hole (private) cards + three community cards
- One private card and four board cards
- No private cards, just five community ones
Omaha poker tips
To avoid mistakes and form your own Omaha poker strategy, get acquainted with some omaha poker tips.
1. Those players who start playing omaha holdem and have previous experience in playing Texas holdem, forget that in omaha poker rules are much stricter and they need to focus on combinations all the time, may get lost thinking everything is under their control.
2. You should always control your moves and watch your cards, because even one unconnected card can do harm to your possible combinations. Remember that your chances to win the game increase if you have a few variants for building omaha poker winning hands.
3. Omaha poker is a very complicated and interesting game that requires constant training and knowledge of its peculiarities. If you do not have previous experience in poker, that’s not a problem, but on the contrary, you can get savvy in poker omaha from scratch.
Learn more useful gambling tips in our Guide.