Omaha is a lot like Texas Holdem in using a three-card flop on the board, a fourth and fifth board card. Each player is dealt 4 hole cards (instead of 2) at the start. In order to make a hand a player must use exactly two hole cards with three board cards. The betting is the same as in Texas Holdem. At the showdown, the entire four-card hand must be shown to receive the pot.
Omaha rules are exactly like Texas Holdem except the rule on playing the board, it is not permitted in Omaha (you must use two cards from your hand and three cards from the board).
The play of the game is simple and misleading at the same time. Each player is dealt four cards face down. There is then a round of betting. The dealer then deals three cards face up to the center of the table. These cards are common to each players hand. There is then another round of betting. These three cards are referred to as the Flop. The dealer then deals one card to the center face up. This card is referred to as the Turn card. There is another round of betting.
The four cards in the center are common to each players hand. A final card is dealt face up to the center of the table and makes up the five common cards for each player. This card is referred to as the River card. At this point in the hand there is a final round of betting. The player with the best five card poker hand made up of two cards from the four dealt to each player and three from the common cards is the winner of the pot. The rule that you must use two from your hand and three from the Flop to make the hand confuses some new players and they learn the hard way about this absolute Omaha rule. The fact that each player has nine cards from which to make the winning poker hand accounts for the fact that in Omaha there are many of the higher poker hands dealt. This means there will be a great many trip hands, many straights, flushes or full houses and some four of kind hands. Single pairs and two pairs are not very strong hands in Omaha.
There are some basic strategies in Omaha that a new player should be aware of before betting a lot of money. If you are dealt a straight or a flush in the first seven cards, do not go crazy with your betting as another player could still make a higher hand like a full house. If a pair shows up on the board, there is a very good chance that someone will have a full house. If three suited cards show up on the board there is a very good chance that someone will have a flush. If there are no pairs or three suited cards, there is still the chance that someone will have trips as the highest hand possible. The point of this is that experienced players know this and new players learn this the hard way.
When you have a very good hand thru the Turn card, they next round of betting should always be raised so that the other players have to pay a price to see the next card. Never let a round go by without a bet or a raise if you have a very good hand. Aggressive play is the key to winning in Omaha just like it is in Holdem.
Always remind yourself that you have to play two cards out of your hand. It is not unusual to see experienced players make this mistake when they are tired or have played a long time.
Good starting hands in Omaha are two ace suited cards connected or not. Aces are always good, but not as valuable as you would think. Pot limit Omaha or NL Omaha reward aggressive play as making the other players pay to see cards is the way to win if your hands are holding up. Be careful of early flushes if the board pairs as the only reason a player would be calling are if they have trips already. If the board has three suited cards, unless you have the ace in the suit, do not go crazy with your bets.
Omaha High Low
Omaha is often played high-low split, 8-or-better. The player has to use a combination of two holecards and three boardcards for the high hand and another (or the same) combination of two holecards and three boardcards for the low hand.
In Omaha High Low, a qualifier of 8-or-better for low applies to all high-low split games, unless a posting to the contrary is displayed. If there is no qualifying hand for low, the best high hand wins the whole pot.
I’m Jason Rockwell. When I’m not winning playing online poker, I enjoy writing about my love of the game. Thanks for visiting!