Omaha is a poker variation of Texas Hold’em. There are a few differences between the two games however. One of the main differences is that players receive four cards in Omaha vs the two card dealt in Texas Hold’em. The other main difference is that players must use two cards from their four hole cards and three from the community board.
There are no exceptions to these rules. Read on to learn more about how to play Omaha using proper strategy.
The game starts by determining the dealer button. In a casino, one card is dealt to each player. The highest card receives the dealer button. The player to the left of the button posts a small blind. The next player posts the big blind. The big blind is usually the amount of the smallest bet with the small blind being half that amount. In a $2/$4 Omaha game, the small blind would be $1, while the big blind is $2.
Omaha Betting Action
Players are all dealt four cards. The first card is dealt to the left and players receive cards one at a time in a clockwise order. The action starts to the left of the big blind. This position is called “under the gun”. This player must call the big blind and any raises made in front of him, fold, or raise. This same decision is available to all players.
The blinds can include the amount posted as a part of the final bet. When all players have acted and called raises, the dealer will burn a card and place three consecutive cards on the board.
The action starts with the first player still in clockwise from the dealer button. This player has two options; check or bet. A check means that a player does not wish to put any chips in the pot at that time and passes the action to the next player. This decision moves around the table to all players with cards until a player bets. Once this happens, a player may fold, call, or raise. Players can raise, even if they previously checked or called.
When players with cards have called all bets, a card is burned and a fourth card, called the turn, is placed in the window. The same action starts from the left of the button. Once all players have called, a fifth card referred to as the river is placed in the board. A final betting round occurs.
The last player to bet or raise shows his four cards. If all players checked on the last round, the first player with cards to the left of the button shows first.
The next player in the hand clockwise from him either throws his cards to the dealer or shows if he can beat the displayed hand. The winner is then declared, using two cards from a player’s hand and three cards from the board.
Different Types of Omaha Poker
There are three popular versions of Omaha. The game described above is Omaha High. That is not the most popular version of Omaha.
The most popular is Omaha High/Low. This is a game where there is always a high hand. In some instances, the low hand will take half of the pot. A low hand must contain five cards 8 or below that do not pair. An ace is considered low. The best low hand is A2345, which is called a wheel. The second best low is A2346, as a hand is determined by the highest card among the five.
“Big O” Omaha
Another variation is called Big O. This game may be played high or high/low. The difference is that players receive five cards instead of four. Big O cannot be played with more than eight players as the deck would otherwise not have enough cards.
Omaha Poker Limits
The most popular version of Omaha live is limit. This means that there is only one amount that may be wagered. In a $2/$4 game, the blinds would be $1 and $2. The bet after the flop would be $2, while it would be $4 on the turn and river. All raises must be in increments of the allowed bet amount. This is most often found in high/low. Boulder Station in Las Vegas spreads this game high in the limit format.
The most popular online version of Omaha is pot limit. It is spread in both high and high/low versions. A player may bet or raise the amount in the pot at any time. This game is tough to deal live due to the need to count the pot regularly and very problematic in high/low games. Most Omaha tournaments are pot limit, especially over the Internet.
Some online poker sites offer Omaha High and High/Low in no limit formats. This means that a player may bet or raise any number of chips that are in front of him at any given time.
Cash Games vs Tournaments
A cash game is where players receive chips equal to their buy-in and can leave at any time. A tournament gives players a starting stack. Tournament players must stay until they either lose all of their chips or win every chip in the tournament and get declared the winner.
Most live poker rooms rake Omaha at 10% up to $5. Las Vegas is the exception, where most games have a $4 cap. California card clubs that spread Omaha take a drop before and after the flop, as well as after the river, regardless of pot size. Some higher limit California games will charge a set amount per half hour instead of the standard drop.
Omaha Poker Promotions
Many poker rooms that spread Omaha offer jackpots. The house takes $1 out of the pot to fund it. The promotion is usually a bad beat jackpot. The house will often make four of a kind deuces the qualifier for the losing hand in a bad beat jackpot. This can sometimes be quad jacks for houses that prefer bigger jackpots. Some poker rooms also pay a small jackpot for steel wheels, which is a five-high straight flush. The Silverado poker room in Deadwood got very creative and pays 10% of the bad beat jackpot to a player that gets dealt four of a kind in his hand.