Omaha is an exciting and engaging form of poker that rivals Hold’em in playability and potential profit. Though less strategically complex than its No-Limit Texas counterpart, Omaha poker has its own intricacies that create a uniquely challenging yet deceptively simple game for players of all levels.
Being Dealt Four Cards Instead of Two
First things first, Omaha is played with four, as opposed to two, hole cards and five community cards known respectively as the flop, the turn, and the river. Four hole cards provide players with several more possible hand combinations pre and post flop.
The catch to all these extra possibilities is that when it’s time to show down the winning hand players can, and must, use only two of their hole cards. This rule can be difficult to remember for new players and Hold’em converts where the possibilities of using only one hole card or playing the board exist.
Basic Omaha Strategy
Once the flop is dealt, Omaha is essentially played like Hold’em, just with unique strategies because the game is played in different variants. While Hold’em is played in all varieties, Fixed-Limit, Pot-Limit, and No-Limit, Omaha is played strictly with Fixed and Pot-Limits.
With players unable to bet all of their chips on one particular hand, Omaha poker rewards patience where Hold’em rewards aggression. Patiently playing strong starting hands generally result in winning sessions for capable players, and playing good cards makes you fully capable.
Bluffing is less of a strategic play in Omaha than it would be in No-Limit Hold’em, and is often ill advised. A good rule of thumb when playing Omaha is that players who stay in till the showdown often have made their hand, and bluffing with a busted draw on the river is like throwing away chips. In poker, your chips are your weapons, don’t waste your ammunition.
Omaha High/Low Split or Omaha 8
Where Omaha truly sets itself apart from Hold’em is that it can be played as a High/Low split game with an 8 qualifier. What this means is that “made” hands such as pairs, sets, straights, flushes, and full houses are used to make the winning high hand while the five lowest cards below an 8 comprise the winning low hand.
The intriguing, and often frustrating part of the Omaha 8 variant is that two, or sometimes more, players often have to split the pot. This factors in considerably when determining pot odds and potential risk in each possible situation.
Starting hand considerations for Omaha High are equivalent to strong Hold’em starting hands, big pairs, and high suited connectors. Omaha 8 opens up the selection a great deal as big pairs and suited connectors are still valuable, suited or connecting low cards are added to the equation. A-A-2-3 double-suited is considered the “holy grail” of Omaha 8 starting hands.
Strong Cards for Omaha High
A-A – 9-9
A-K – J-10 suited
Strong Cards for Omaha 8
Any suited Ace
Interesting Omaha Side Notes
Now let us have a look at some important notes on Omaha.
The World Series of Poker did not introduce Omaha until 1983
Top professionals Phil Ivey, T. J. Cloutier, Howard Lederer, and Scotty Nguyen won their first WSOP bracelet in an Omaha event
Omaha events (11) were the second most contested poker variant at the 2009 World Series of Poker
How to play Omaha Poker
Although it isn’t as well known as it’s cousin Texas Hold ’em, Omaha poker is quickly gaining fans. There are a couple of reasons for this; one is that it’s easy to learn, and the other is because there are so many cards in the hand, you will likely find a playable hand almost every time.
Rules of Omaha
It’s very easy to get into the game. There is a round of betting and then 3 community cards are dealt to the center of the board. There is another round of betting and then the turn is dealt. More betting, then the river card is dealt. There is one more round of betting and then anyone left in the hand shows their cards. The best 5 card poker hand wins.
Making a hand in Omaha
The difference between Omaha and Hold ‘Em is primarily in how you make a hand. You need to use 2 cards from your dealt cards and 3 cards from the community cards. The hands are still the same, as well as the value. Royal flush is still the top hand, there is just a greater chance of seeing it in Omaha.
Starting hands for Omaha are similar to Hold ‘Em with the exception of playing straights and flushes. Because you have more cards to use as your hole cards you have a greater chance of hitting your hand. The thing that you need to remember though is that other players may have better hands as well. For example if you have two aces in your hole cards and the flop comes up ace king king, you have a great full house, almost unbeatable. However in Omaha, it’s possible for someone to be holding two king’s.
When betting the same rules apply, as they do in Texas Hold ‘Em. It’s interesting to note that most professional online players prefer Omaha, because the pot’s are bigger and player’s can be more confident in their hand.
In Hi/Lo or as it is sometimes known 8 or better Hi/Lo you can also win the hand if you have a low hand that qualifies. All of the cards need to be lower than 8 and unpaired and the best possible low hand is Ace2345. High hand is still the same as regular poker.
It seems complex at first but Omaha is quickly becoming the poker game of the future, online and in the casino. Simply enjoy the game and make sure you don’t fold to pocket two’s. It is real fun to play and simultaneously important to gain knowledge as well as experience. Visit site for more details.