Once you have a basic grasp of poker, it is relatively simple to learn how to play Omaha, but like all poker versions, the challenge is to master the game. For players familiar with Texas Hold’em, it is important to remember that, even though it is a similar game, slightly different tactics are needed when playing Omaha Poker.
Aim of Omaha Poker
To produce the best five card poker hand using exactly two hole cards in a combination with any three community cards for the showdown.
Omaha – Number of Players
There can be from two to nine players plus one dealer. If there is no dealer the players take turn in dealing the cards rotating clockwise. Players also play in turn clockwise.
Omaha – The Cards
There are four hole cards (face down) per player and five community cards, which are used by all the active players.
Each round in Omaha
1. The Hole cards. Each player is dealt four cards face down.
2. The first round of betting takes place.
3. The Flop. Three community cards are dealt face up.
4. The second round of betting takes place.
5. The Turn. A fourth community card is dealt to the table.
6. The third round of betting takes place.
7. The River. The fifth and final community card is dealt to the table.
8. The fourth and final round of betting takes place.
9. The Showdown and the winner is declared.
How to play Omaha
InOmaha, also known as Omaha Hold’em, the dealer gives four hole cards face down to each player, followed by the first round of betting.
The dealer burns one card and deals three community cards face up. The second round of betting starts.
The dealer then burns another card and turns over one more community card followed by the third round of betting.
Again the dealer burns a card and then turns over the final community card to the table.
The last round of betting takes place and after that comes the Showdown. All active players reveal their cards with the last person who bet showing first.
In the first two rounds of betting all bets must be equal to the size of the low limit bet. On the last two rounds of betting, all bets must be equal to the high limit bet. A maximum of three raises are allowed per betting round.
There are two main types of betting structure in Omaha Poker:
- LimitOmaha – a specific betting limit is applied in each game and on each round of betting.
- Pot LimitOmaha – a player can bet what is in the pot.
Playing Omaha High-Low
Omaha High-Low, which is also known as Omaha 8-or-better and Omaha hi-lo, is played just like regular Omaha except that in High-Low, players use any combination of two hole-cards and three community cards for the high hand and the other two or the same two hole cards combined with three community cards for the low hand.
To win on a low hand, the five cards must have a total of eight or lower. Ace is low for this purpose and a ‘wheel’ (5-4-3-2-A) is the best possible low. A low hand cannot have any pairs but straights or flushes are okay.
If there is no low, the best high hand will get the entire pot (prize). If the is a qualifying low hand the pot is split between the winning high and the winning low. In the event of ties, the pot will be split.
Omaha Poker Rules
If the first hole card is exposed, the dealer has to reshuffle and re-deal hole cards. If one of the other hole cards is exposed, the dealing continues and the card shown mistakenly can be changed to the deck’s top card and can later be used as a burn card.
Cards must be re-dealt if: the Flop contains too many cards; the dealer exposed more than one card when dealing; or the dealer mistakenly deals an extra card.
If cards were unintentionally dealt before betting was complete or the Flop contained too many cards, the board cards are mixed with the rest of the deck cards and re-shuffled. The burn card stays on the table so dealer the deals a new flop but without burning a card.
Again, if either the Turn or River cards were unintentionally dealt before the betting was complete, the card is taken out of play and returned to the deck for betting to be completed. The deck is reshuffled and the Turn or River is dealt without the dealer burning a card.
If you want to learn more about Omaha then visit our Omaha – Hints and Tips page