How to Play Omaha Poker
Let’s take a look at your ten-step guide to playing Omaha Poker…
Hold’em Vs Omaha
Firstly, if you are familiar with Hold’em, then it is important to know the difference between the two.
1) Firstly, in Omaha you get four hole cards instead of two hole cards in Hold’em.
2) In Omaha, you need to use two of your hole cards and three community cards to make your five-card hand. In Hold’em, you can use as many hole cards as you like.
How You Can Win a Hand
The Omaha Poker game can be played with anywhere between two and ten players. Your aim is to win chips by winning the pot.
You can do so in two different ways:
1) All of the other players around the table fold and you are the only player left at the showdown. Players can drop out in any of the previous betting rounds.
2) You have the best hand in the Showdown. If your poker hand is better than the other players, you will win or split the pot.
Choose the Dealer
If you have enough players and you all have your chips, then it’s time to get started… but you need a dealer first.
Choosing the dealer is usually done as follows:
All players draw from a deck of cards and the one with the highest card (ace is high) will be the dealer and get the dealer button.
If two players both have the same high card, then you can either use the suit to choose the winner – (Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts and Spades in order from lowest to highest value). Or, you can deal them another card each to determine the winner.
When the dealer is decided, that same player will be given the dealer button and this will be used to keep track of the current dealer. The dealer will then need to shuffle the cards and deal the first hand.
Deal the Cards and Put Out the Blinds
Before the dealer dishes out the cards – on any of the four betting rounds, the two players sitting to the left of the dealer will put out the blinds.
As in Texas Hold’em, the player immediately to the left of the dealer will put out the small blind and the player to the left of the small blind will put out the big blind.
The big blind is usually double the small blind – so for example, the small blind might be $1 and the big blind would be $2.
Once both of the blinds are established, the first round of betting starts, starting with the player to their left and going around the table in a clockwise direction.
All players will be dealt their cards one by one, face down until every player has four hole cards.
The First Round of Betting Starts
As soon as every player has four hole cards, the first betting round begins – the preflop. During this round, after the big and small blind, the rest of the bettors have three different options:
1) Fold: They decide they don’t want to play the hand and throw it in. They are out for that hand and need to wait for the next hand to start again.
2) Call: The bet matches the amount of the Big Blind (which is the minimum that can be bet)
3) Raise: You might choose to raise the bet by doubling the big blind. Depending on the game you are playing, you might be able to raise the bet even more… or even go all-in.
Betting Action Continues Clockwise
After the first player of the big blind has placed his or her bet, the betting round will move clockwise around the table.
Every player will have the same options as above – Fold, Call or Raise.
Again, the amount you need to call or raise will depend on the size of the previous bet made in that round of betting. So, for example, the first bettor will need to match the big blind and if they raise, it should be double that amount.
If they do opt to bet or raise it, then the player betting after will need to match the blind plus the raise – and so on.
The betting action will get all the way back to the blinds and they will have the same options… they can call, raise or fold.
When every player has had the chance to place their bets then that pre-flop round of betting is over… and it’s time to move to the flop.
Deal the Flop and Start The Next Round of Betting
Next, it’s time to deal the flop.
Omaha Poker is a community card game, and, in total, there will be five community cards face up by the end of the game before the showdown.
However, in the flop, only three of the five cards are dealt. The dealer will discard the top card on the deck face down (the burn card) and then deal three cards in the middle of the table, face-up.
Then, the player that still has a hand (known as one of the live players), sitting to the left of the dealer will start the betting.
The betting will be similar to the preflop. The first player will have the choice of whether to bet or ‘check’.
If that first player doesn’t want to bet on the hand, they won’t need to fold, they simply need to check – in which case the bet goes on to the next player.
Bets in this round are usually the same as the Big Blind.
Again, the action moves around the table clockwise. They have the same options – check (but only if the previous player checks), call (matching the previous bet), raise (add another bet) and fold.
Deal the Turn and Start the Fourth Round of Betting
Next, the dealer needs to deal the turn.
Again, the card on the top of the deck will be turned face down – and the dealer deals one more face-up card next to the three community cards of the flop.
Another betting round begins the same as before- but with one difference. A bet on ‘The Turn’ will use a larger betting limit.
This is normally double the big blind or slightly bigger than double the blind. This is usually more common in $2 to $5 Omaha limit games.
The River is Dealt, the Final Betting Begins and the Showdown…
The next deal is the River – and the fifth and final community card is dealt. Again, the top card will be the burn card and the next card will be dealt face-up next to The Turn card.
Once this is done, the final betting round begins.
Again, this is the same as the Turn betting round.
After this has been completed, it’s time for the showdown…
Whoever has the best poker hand will win the pot.
Find the Winning Hand
Determining the winning hand in Omaha Poker is slightly different to finding the winning hand in Texas Hold’em. Although the card rankings are the same, the hands have to be made up more specifically.
In Omaha Poker, players will need to use two of their four hole cards plus three community cards to make up the best possible hand.
There is some flexibility as they can use any two of their four hole cards and any three of the five community cards.
So, for example:
The community cards are:
The first player has hole cards:
The second player has hole cards:
In this game, player one has a straight – 9, 10, J, Q and K when using the community cards
However, the best that player two can get is a pair of 5s
However, if every player has nothing that can make up a pair or better, the hand that wins will be the hand with the highest-value card.
Once you have figured out which is the winning hand, that player wins the pot. After the pot has been won, that hand is completed.
When that hand is complete, the dealer button will be passed to the left. The whole process starts again and the two blinds will be those to the left of the new dealer.