Omaha Poker Overview

Omaha, or Omaha Holdem, is the second most popular poker game after Texas Holdem. Thanks to its similarity to Texas Holdem, Omaha Poker is easy for experienced Holdem players to pick up. In fact, it’s similarity to Holdem is probably the single biggest factor behind Omaha’s widespread popularity.

Omaha closely resembles Texas Holdem, with the most obvious difference being that each player receives four hole cards instead of two. In addition to that, players in Omaha poker must use exactly two of their hole cards and three of the community cards to make their hands. That is not the case in Texas Holdem.

Action junkies flock to Omaha poker because it’s a game in which more starting hands are viable and in which big hands on the river are common. If you like to see big pots and powerhouse hands on a regular basis, Omaha is the game to play.

How to Play Omaha

If you’ve ever played Texas Holdem, these rules will look very familiar. The biggest thing recent Texas Holdem converts will want to keep in mind is that in Omaha, exactly two hole cards must be used when creating your final poker hand.

This means that if you have a single spade in your hand and the board is showing four spades, you do not have a flush. It wouldn’t work because you have to use exactly two of your hole cards. If only one of your hole cards is a spade, your final hand would be missing a spade.

Here’s how a typical hand of Omaha Holdem is played:

1. Two players to the left of the dealer post the blinds. These are small, forced bets that are used to start each pot with a little money in the middle. The player to the immediate left of the dealer pays the small blind and the player to the left of the small blind pays the big blind. As the position of the dealer changes each hand, every player at the table pays the blinds once per orbit.

2. Each player is dealt four cards face down.

3. There is a round of betting that begins with the first player to the left of the big blind. This player may call the minimum bet to stay in, raise the bet or fold his hand without paying anything.

After that player acts, each player at the table may call, raise or fold. The betting goes clockwise around the table until each player has had a chance to act.

4. The dealer places three cards face up in the middle of the table. This round of cards and betting is called “The Flop.”

5. There is another round of betting. This round begins with the first remaining player to the left of the dealer.

6. The dealer places one card face up in the middle of the table. This round is called “The Turn.”

7. There is another round of betting, beginning with the first player to the left of the dealer. In fixed limit games, all bets would now be made in increments of the upper betting limit.

8. The dealer places one card face up in the middle of the table. This round is called “The River.”

9. There is one last round of betting.

10. Any remaining players now have a showdown. The player with the strongest poker hand using any two of his hole cards and three of the community cards wins the pot.