Omaha, also called Omaha Hold Em, has some similarities with Texas Hold Em, however it has some stark differences as well. The game begins by using a standard 52-card deck and dealing each player four face-down (hole) cards for their initial hand. Once these cards have been received, a round of betting begins starting with the player to the left of the dealer (or to left the left of where the disc is pointing if a dealer button is being used).
Header image from Chumash Casino.
Omaha is Simple to Learn
If you are one of the majority of poker players these days who has an excellent grasp of Texas Holdem, then Omaha is not all that difficult to learn. The key difference is that the amount of hole cards is four as opposed to the two used in Holdem. You would think that as this is the only key difference to the format of the game, that it would be easy to be successful at Omaha if you are already a good Holdem player.
This is not the case however, as the four hole cards results in several other knock on effects in terms of strong starting hands, and the way the game plays out.
Strong Hands in Omaha
First of all it is important to note that hands which might usually be considered quite strong such as three of a kind, or top two pair, lose some of their comparative strength with this poker game. This is because with four hole cards it is much easier for both your opponent and yourself to make a strong hand such as a straight, a flush, or even a full house.
So be aware that hands which look strong arent always going to be winning ones. With regards to this, good things to look for with your hole cards are firstly, double suited cards. This just means that you have two cards of one suit and two of another different suit.
This immediately maximizes your chances of making a flush, and connected cards of course do the same for your chances of making a straight. High pairs are also good because of the possibilities of making a set or full house.
How to Make Hands in Omaha
It is important to be aware as a player at coral poker of the fact that when you use your own hole cards and the board cards available to make a hand in Omaha, you can only choose two of your hole cards to make a hand.
Blinds are posted by players in consecutive clockwise order from the Button. Action is initiated on the first betting round, by the player on the immediate left of the person who posted the furthest blind clockwise from the Button. On all subsequent betting rounds, the action is started by the first active player clockwise from the Button.
After the first round of betting, three cards are placed face-up on the table. This is called the flop and these are the community cards which everyone can use. Another round of betting occurs with another card being placed face-up following that, and this is repeated once more. When there are five community cards, a final round of betting takes place.
Players must then reveal their cards and declare their hand. The player must use a combination of three community cards and two cards from their own hole cards when determining their five card hand. The player with the highest hand wins the pot.
Hi/Lo Omaha Poker
Omaha can be played in high or low forms, known as Omaha Hi/Lo. In this variation, the game rules are instead changed so that the low hand wins the pot rather than the high hand.
You cannot for instance, use four diamonds if you have four diamonds in your hole cards, you can only use two of them, the same applies to cards which make you a straight. This was something I found took a little bit of adjusting to from the usual Holdem system. The only real differences in Omaha you need to be aware of, are the ones stated above.
I’m Jason Rockwell. When I’m not winning playing online poker, I enjoy writing about my love of the game. Thanks for visiting!