Omaha Poker Rules And Strategy

Tired of playing nothing but Texas Holdem, and looking for something more exciting than Seven-Card Stud? Learn how to play Omaha Poker here!

Omaha poker is a variety of Holdem poker, though a significantly less popular one than the highly televised game of Texas Holdem. Omaha is often played as a "˜pot limit' game (as opposed to a "˜limit' or "˜no-limit' game), meaning that players can only make bets that are as large as what the pot currently is. Also, a "˜hi-lo' variety of the game is favored by many players, which will be explained further on.

What sets Omaha apart from Texas Holdem is that instead of being dealt two down cards at the beginning of a hand, each player is dealt four cards. This is followed by a round of betting, and then three cards are dealt face-up which leads to more betting. Two more community cards are dealt in this fashion, with rounds of betting after each one. After the final bets are made, the players who are left in the hand have a showdown for the pot.

However, the catch is that even though each player has four down cards to choose from, they have to use two and only two cards from their hand, and three cards from the community (or "˜board'). This is different from other forms of Holdem, where if you are dealt two cards in the hole, you don't even have to use any of them, if the cards on the board end up being better. This makes for some very frustrating hands sometimes, and is something important to remember when you're playing Omaha - you don't always have the hand you think you might have. For example, if there are three hearts in your hand and only two on the board, it is impossible for you to make a heart flush. And the one that really trips players up is the fact that if there are two pairs in the board cards, and you have one of the cards that make up one of those pairs in your hand, you don't have a full house. Also, because of this, a starting hand of AK, AK, both of which are suited is a far better hand than three Aces and a King, or even four Aces.

Another important thing to think about in this game is the fact that your opponent could really have almost anything in their hand. The fact that they have to use three of the cards on the board does help out significantly, but there are four other possible cards that you cannot see, so you have to make sure your hand is strong enough to hold up, if you think that they actually have a hand, or at the very least try and represent having an even stronger hand - if they have any Omaha experience and believe you, they will probably think it is in their best interest to fold, since they know there is a chance you could have some monster of a hand, such as four-of-a-kind or a full house.

Finally, since Omaha is so often played Hi-Lo, the rules of Hi-Lo should briefly be mentioned. Omaha Hi-Lo is played just like regular Omaha, in terms of cards being dealt and betting goes, but when cards are showed down at the end of the hand, there is a "˜high hand' (the normal poker ranking of hands apply to determine the winner) and a "˜low hand' - the latter of these being made up of five un-paired cards that are ranked eight or lower. Straights and flushes don't negate a low hand, and can still count as a high hand, so a low straight or flush will sometimes scoop the entire pot. Aces can be high or low, like with straights. The best high hand and the best low hand that qualifies (there won't always be a low hand) split the pot evenly between each other.

Omaha is slightly more complicated than Texas Holdem, especially if the game is pot limit Omaha Hi-Lo, but the added strategy and challenge of keeping up with low hands and what the other players could possibly be holding behind their four cards is exactly what makes the game so appealing to many poker aficionados.

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