How to play Omaha poker
What is Omaha poker?
Omaha poker is a poker variant that plays similar to Texas Hold’em. Players are dealt four hole cards in a game of Omaha and must make the best possible five-card hand using exactly two hole cards and three community cards. Pot-Limit Omaha is the second-most popular poker game in the world, behind Texas Hold’em, and is played in the World Series of Poker.
Rules for Omaha poker
Like Texas Hold’em, Omaha is a card poker game where players try to make the best hand out of their hole cards and five community cards. Omaha poker rules require players to use exactly two of their four hole cards and three community cards to make the best hand.
This differs from Texas Hold’em, in which players get two hole cards and can use any combination of hole cards and community cards.
How to play Omaha poker
A game of Omaha starts with the dealer button administering a starting hand of four hole cards to each player. These cards are dealt face down. After that, the first round of betting (pre-flop) begins with the first player to the left of the dealer, with all players getting the chance to call, raise, or fold.
After the pre-flop betting round is complete, the dealer puts the first three of five community cards on the board, known as the flop. These cards face up. After the flop is dealt, all players still in the hand engage in a second round of betting.
The flop betting round is followed by the dealer putting a fourth community card on the board. This card is known as the turn, or fourth street, and another betting round commences after that, with each player either pursuing a better hand or a bluff.
The fifth and final community card (river card) hits the board next. This card, known as the river (or fifth street) completes dealer action, and then the final betting round takes place. The winner of the showdown is the player with the best five-card hand.
Omaha games often use a pot-limit betting structure, with the maximum allowed raise limited to the size of the pot. Omaha Hi-Lo (aka Omaha 8, High-Low, or Omaha Eight or Better) splits each pot between the high hand and the lowest hand (according to the poker hand rankings) if the low hand is eight-high or lower.
Unlike Texas Hold’em, Omaha is rarely played using a no-limit betting structure.
Differences between Omaha poker and Texas Hold’em
Omaha games deal four hole cards to each player, while Texas Hold’em gives poker players two hole cards. In Texas Hold’em, players can use any combination of hole cards and community cards to make the best possible hand.
The most critical difference to understand in Omaha is that you must use exactly two hole cards and three community cards to make the best hand. As with Texas Hold-em, the best hand wins.
For example, if you hold A♥K♣Q♦J♠ and the board comes out T♥5♥4♥3♥2♠, you only have ace high. You would need at least two hearts among your hole cards to make a flush. You would also need a combination of two hole cards and three community cards to make any straight.
Where To Play Omaha Poker Online
Most online poker rooms offer real money Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO) cash games at a variety of stakes. Sites like PokerStars, partypoker, WSOP.com, and many others offer Pot-Limit Omaha games around the clock.
PLO tournaments are harder to find online, but the major poker sites do run multi-table tournaments for PLO somewhat regularly.
PokerStars runs a wide variety of other Omaha variants in cash game format, including Limit Omaha and Omaha Hi-Lo. While seats are open for these games at all times on PokerStars, it’s often tough to find enough players to start a game.
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