Introduction to Omaha Poker


Omaha poker, otherwise known as “Omaha,” is very similar to Texas Hold ‘em. This version of the game of poker is becoming more and more popular online, with new players continuing to discover the game each day. But what is Omaha poker? And how is it different from the standard game of poker? By understanding the basics of the game, you can be on your way to becoming a successful Omaha poker player.

A Brief History of Omaha Poker

Being very close to Texas Hold’em, this game wasn’t necessarily “invented,” like many other casino games were. Instead, it slowly evolved from one poker variant to another, until it eventually became Omaha poker. This is what makes it so hard to determine a clear lineage of the game. As for the name “Omaha,” it was said to have been chosen as a compromise, considering how various names for the game featured locations which were scattered across the South and West.

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Omaha poker uses four hole cards instead of two.

What is Omaha Poker?

In this game, players are required to make the best possible five-card hand they can out of the cards dealt to them. This is a community game, with a flop, turn and river, and betting rounds organized in the same way as in the better known Texas Hold ‘em. However, there is one subtle, yet major difference. Each player is dealt four “hole cards” rather than two. When making a hand at showdown, every player must adhere to the same golden rule: To make a poker hand, you must use exactly two cards from your hand and exactly three cards from the board. This affects your starting hand selection. There are then five community cards dealt face-up on the “board.” Using a combination of cards from both sets, players are required to make the best five-card hand that they can. Players use exactly three of the community cards together with exactly two of their hole cards to make their hand.

Omaha Poker Variations:

Much like a standard game of poker, there are several versions of Omaha poker:

  • Pot Limit Omaha Poker: A player can bet what is in the pot and the highest hand wins. Your minimum bet is equal to the size of the big blind.
  • No Limit Omaha Poker: A player can bet any amount, up to all of their chips.
  • Fixed Limit Omaha Poker: There is a set betting limit applied in each game and on each round of betting. The limit betting structure puts a cap on the number of raises.
  • Omaha Hi/Lo: Each player (nine or 10 players is customary) in Omaha Hi/Lo, also known as Omaha/8 or Omaha-8, is dealt four hole cards. Five community cards are dealt face-up on the board. All players use exactly two cards from their four hole cards in conjunction with exactly three cards from the board to make the best five-card hand possible. The pot is then divided between the best hand for high and the best for low – hence the name. Players are allowed to use different combinations of two cards from your hand to make your high hand and your low hand, but in each hand, you have to use precisely two from your hand and three from the board.
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An Omaha hand will still only have five cards. Two cards chosen from the four personal cards, and three cards from the five community cards.

General Terms Used in Omaha Poker

In order to fully understand the game, it’s important to start with the basics.

  • Pre-Flop: After seeing his or her hole cards, each player now has the option to play his or her hand by calling or raising the big blind. That player has the option to fold, call or raise. Action proceeds clockwise around the poker table. Betting continues on each round until all active players who have not folded have placed equal bets in the pot.
  • The Flop: The flop is comprised of the first three community cards available to all active players. Play begins with the active player immediately clockwise from the button.
  • The Turn: After betting is completed during the “flop” round, the turn is dealt face-up on the board. It’s the fourth community card in an Omaha game.
  • The River: The river is dealt face-up on the board when betting action is completed for the turn round. It’s the fifth and final community card in Omaha poker.
  • The Showdown: Just like in a standard game of poker, there is a showdown. The player with the best five-card hand wins the pot. In the event of a tie, or identical hands, the pot will be equally divided between those players who have the best hands.

Benefits of Playing Omaha Poker

So why would someone choose to play a game of Omaha poker over Texas Hold ‘em? Here are some of the key reasons why this game is becoming increasingly popular

  • Profit: Because few are extremely familiar with this game, it presents a great opportunity to make big profits if you know a lot about the game.
  • Strategy: There are no “big favorites” when it comes to starting hands before the flop in Omaha poker. Big draws can easily be favorite over made hands on the flop.
  • Bonuses: This is one of the best online games for clearing poker bonuses. The average pot size at any one level will generally be much bigger than another poker game.
  • A Change of Pace: Texas Hold ‘em and other variants of Poker have been played for years, but Omaha provides a change and a challenge for any poker players that are tired of the typical games.

Tips for Playing Omaha Poker:

  • It’s all about position: Position is very important, as this game is a drawing game and it’s much easier to play when you’re in position. This way, you can most accurately bet your strong hands and you are also able to bluff, if you choose to do so. Players out of position are usually unable to bluff.
  • Stay in the hand: Starting with four cards gives players more reason to stay in the hand than to see the flop. This tends to increase the size of the pot and make it extremely worthwhile for you when you’re in position.
  • Avoid slow play: Even the weakest hands can increase in value as the game goes on, which is why strong hands should always make large bets. Early raises can be a big risk unless you know you have a good chance at winning.