Omaha Poker – Learn How to Play, Rules, Tips & Strategies of Omaha Poker
In this article, I am going to teach you how to play Omaha poker. This is one of the most popular card games around, and you’ll learn why once you play a round or two.
Omaha is very similar to Texas Hold’em so, if you know how to play the latter, you’ll be able to catch up on Omaha rules with ease.
However, I am going to assume that you don’t know how to play Omaha or Texas Hold’em and give you an explanation of the rules from scratch.
I hope that, by reading this guide, you will be able to learn how to play Omaha like a pro and become competitive on online platforms.
In short, here are some of the things that my Omaha beginners guide will cover:
Let’s get started, shall we?
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Omaha is the second most popular poker variant after Texas Hold’em. Almost every poker website out there offers Omaha tables, including sit ‘n’ go’s, free-rolls, and real-money tournaments.
However, some poker sites are better than others, and I decided to help you narrow down your choice by including top Omaha poker operators on the list above.
General Rules of Omaha PokerOmaha is a community poker game, meaning that players are able to use the cards they’ve been dealt (hole cards) in combination with the face-up cards in the middle of the table (community cards).
The main difference between Texas Hold’em and Omaha is that the players of Omaha are dealt a total of four cards instead of two. Also, they can’t use all community cards or all hole cards, as there are specific hand-making rules they must follow.
The goal of the game is to create the best five-card combination possible, but using exactly two out of four cards from your hand, and exactly three out of five community cards.
You can win a round of Omaha poker in two different ways:
- You have the best hand at the showdown;
- You’re the only player who hasn’t folded prior to the showdown.
An Omaha poker table can seat two to ten players, and it is played with a regular 52-card deck.
How to Play Omaha Poker — Step-by-Step Guide
Most Omaha poker rounds end before reaching the showdown, but I am going to talk about all phases of a hand, starting from antes and blinds.
The Dealer Button and the Blinds
Before the dealer starts dealing the cards, a dealer button is placed in front of one of the players, indicating from where the action will start and which players need to make forced bets. After each round, the dealer button moves one position in a clockwise direction.
Two players sitting immediately left of the dealer are called the small blind and the big blind, respectively.
The big blind is usually worth twice as much as the small blind. For example, if the small blind is $1, the big blind would be $2. These forced bets are necessary to get the action going.
Dealing the Cards and Pre-Flop BettingOnce the forced bets are in place, the initial pot has been created. The dealer will then give four cards to each player and the pre-flop betting round can begin.
The first player to act is called Under the Gun, and they are seated one position left of the big blind. That first player can choose to:
- Fold — surrender their cards;
- Call — match the big blind bet;
- Raise — make a new bet that’s at least twice the size of the big blind bet.
The betting moves in a clockwise direction, and all remaining players have the same options at their disposal. Once everybody has had a chance to act and has contributed the same amount of chips to the pot, the game can continue.
The FlopDuring the flop, the dealer will put three cards face-up in the middle of the table. These are community cards, meaning that all players can use them in combination with their hole cards.
A new betting round begins, starting from the first active player seated to the left of the dealer. Players now also have an option to check and pass the action to the next player, but only if no new bets have been made before them.
The betting continues around the table and ends in the same way the pre-flop betting round does.
The TurnDuring the turn, the dealer will place another card face-up on the table. A new betting round begins, but this time it uses a higher betting limit.
That means that the minimum bet a player can make during this round is usually twice the size of the big blind. Players make bets, and if there’s still more than one player left, the dealer will place the fifth and final card on the table.
Once the last community card has been shown, players will engage in the last betting round.
The betting limits are the same as on the turn.
The ShowdownIf the winner is still not decided after the final betting round, all remaining players must show their cards to decide who wins.
Remember that each player can use only three community cards and two hole cards to make their five-card combination. The player with the best hand takes the entire pot, unless two or more players tie (have the same hand rank), in which case the pot is split in equal ways.
Omaha Hand Rankings
Hand rankings in Omaha poker are the same as in other popular variations of the game like Texas Hold’em or Five-Card Draw.
Here is a handy table containing all poker hand ranks, ranging from least to most powerful.
|High Card||If no player has at least a pair, the high card will decide the winner (Aces are always high)|
|Pair||Two cards of the same value|
|Two Pair||Two sets of pairs|
|Three of a Kind||Three cards of the same value|
|Straight||Five cards in the consecutive order (e.g. 8, 9, 10, J, Q)|
|Flush||Five cards with the same suit|
|Full House||Three of a kind plus a pair|
|Four of a Kind||Four cards of the same value|
|Straight Flush||Five cards of the same suit in the consecutive order|
|Royal Flush||10, J, Q, K, A, all of the same suit|
Examples of Omaha Poker HandsBecause you can’t utilize all hole cards or all community cards, making a hand in Omaha poker can be somewhat confusing to a player who’s used to playing Texas Hold’em.
That’s why I decided to give you some typical examples of how hands are formed in Omaha poker.
Player’s hole cards: 3, 3, 7, K
Community board: 2, 7, 10, K, A
Best possible hand: 7, 7, K, K, A
The player in our example has a two pair with an Ace kicker. Although the player technically has three pairs (including 3 and 3), you can only use two cards from your hand, and it’s best if you do it by pairing up 7s and Kings.
Player’s hole cards: 4, 8, 8, K
Community board: 4, 10, J, Q, A
Best possible hand: 8, 8, J, Q, A
The best you can make in this hand is a pair of 8s. You can’t make a straight because you would need to use four community cards, but you’re allowed to use only three of them. You can’t make two pairs with your 4s and 8s either, because you would then need to use three hole cards instead of two.
Betting Limits in Omaha Poker
Omaha poker is a limit game, meaning that the players’ raises are capped at a certain amount. In no-limit poker variations like Texas Hold’em, players are allowed to go all-in at all times (raise by betting all their chips).
However, Omaha poker can only be played with either a pot-limit or a fixed limit.
Pot-Limit Omaha Rules
If you’re playing Omaha poker online, the most common version of the game you can run into is pot-limit.
Here is how the betting structure works in this game:
- The minimum bet is equal to the highest bet made before your turn. If you’re Under the Gun, the minimum bet will be equal to the big blind.
- The minimum raise is equal to the amount of the previous bet so, if the last player before you wagers $5, you must raise with at least $10.
- The maximum you can bet or raise is equal to the total of the current pot, any current bets and raises, and the size of your call. It might seem confusing, but here are a few examples of how it works:— If the small blind is $1 and the big blind is $2, the Under the Gun player who wishes to make a maximum raise must make a total of the current pot ($3), the last bet (which in this case is the big blind ($2)), and the amount of chips that they would need to call ($2). This means that, if a player acting after the big blind wants to raise, they must do so with $7 ($3+$2+$2).— If the next player wants to make a maximum raise, they must do so with $24 since the current pot is $10, the last bet was $7, and the call also equals $7. The minimum raise in this case would be $14 (2x$7).
- Players can bet and raise any amount that’s in between the minimum and the maximum raise amount.
Fixed-Limit Omaha Rules
This version of Omaha poker is less frequent, but it’s easier to follow since the limits are fixed, and you don’t need to do any complicated calculations.
- If the blinds in a fixed-limit Omaha game are $1/$2, the small and big bets would be $2 and $4, respectively.
- Before the turn, bets are made according to the small bet ($2 in our case). If a player wants to raise, they can do so only with the amount of the big bet ($4).
- The turn and the river betting rounds increase the betting limit by double. Bets are now equal to $4, and the raises are $8.
- Since all bets are made in increments, players are not allowed to make bets and raises in between the small and the big bet. So, if the small bet is $2 and the big bet is $4 like in our example, a player is not allowed to bet $3.
Omaha is a very entertaining poker variant that includes plenty of action and multiple ways of developing a strategy.
I hope that my guide was helpful to you and that you are now familiar with the rules of yet another fun poker game.
If you have any questions regarding the rules or you wish to discuss Omaha poker in general, feel free to use the comment section below.
What are the differences between Omaha and Texas Hold’em?
How to win at Omaha poker?
Omaha is a skill-based card game, meaning that you will need to have a lot of practice in order to master it. Some general tips consider that you are selective with your starting hands and that you pay attention to the board at all times.
What is the best starting hand in Omaha poker?
It is generally considered that the best starting hand in Omaha is double-suited A, A, K, K.
Is Omaha harder than Texas Hold’em?
Omaha is a bit more complicated than Texas Hold’em because of the specific rules in which the hand is made. However, the two are very similar in every other aspect, so if you know how to play Texas Hold’em, the transition to Omaha will be very easy.
Who wins in Omaha when more players have two pairs?
When two or more players have two pairs, the winner is a player that has the highest-valued pair. For example, a pair of queens and 2s will always beat a pair of jacks and 10s.