Omaha poker has a lot in common with Texas Holdem, though Omaha Hi is not as popular as the older brother from Texas. Both flop games share many rules and characteristics, but confusing the two during a game can be brutal. Just like Holdem, Omaha is typically played on tables of up to 10 players. Each round of Omaha is structured just like Texas Holdem – there are blinds, each player receives individual pocket/hole cards, there are community cards, and there are four betting rounds in total.
The Difference Between Omaha Rules and Texas Holdem Rules
- In Omaha poker, each player is dealt four hole cards (unlike the Texas two).
- Each Omaha player must use exactly two of his four hole cards (and therefore exactly 3 community cards) to create his or her best five-card hand. In Holdem poker, players are free to choose any five-card combination using their hole and community cards.
Do not take these two differences lightly! They may seem minor, but call for a completely different strategy. Since habit is the hardest thing to shake off, the most important Omaha strategy for beginners is to stay focused and always remember that you're not playing Texas Holdem. This is how a round of Pot Limit Omaha Hi is played.
A Single Round of Pot Limit Omaha Hi Poker
We will now follow one round of Pot Limit Omaha Hi poker: In Pot Limit games, any player, at his or her turn, may raise up to the amount equal to the size of the pot before the raise. Omaha Hi is commonly played as a Pot Limit game, thought the Spread Limit and No Limit variations are also popular.
Blinds: to begin the rounds, the two players sitting immediately to the left of the dealer post the ‘small blind' and the ‘big blind' in a clockwise order.
Pocket/Hole Cards: In Omaha play, each player is dealt four cards, face down.
1st betting round: Starting from the player sitting to the left of the big blind and moving clockwise, each player at his turn may chose to ‘call', ‘fold' or ‘raise'. In most Pot Limit Omaha games, players may raise up to the pot limit (the amount found in the pot before the raise), though some games limit the bet during the 1st and 2nd betting rounds to only half the amount in the pot. Just like Texas Holdem, the big blind position is the last to take action during the 1st betting round.
The Flop: Three community cards are dealt, face up.
2nd betting round: Another betting round takes place. This time the betting starts from the small blind position which is immediately to the left of the dealer. The last player to take action during this round and all subsequent rounds is the dealer.
The Turn: The fourth community card is dealt, face up.
3rd betting round: This round is similar to the 2nd in terms of betting order. In Spread Limit (or simply ‘Limit') Omaha Hi games this is the round where table stakes are raised to the higher stake amount.
The River: The fifth and final community card is placed on the table, face up.
Final Betting Round: The 4th and final betting round takes place.
The Showdown: In Omaha Hi the hand rankings are the same as Texas Holdem, and follow the classic poker hand ranking table. The important thing to remember is that your five-card hand must make use of exactly two out of four hole cards and three of the community cards. If, for example, you were dealt four aces in the hole, in Omaha Hi you're only holding a pair of aces. What's more – you also know that you won't hit another ace on the flop, since you're holding all the aces in the pack. This is one example of how Omaha Hi strategy differs from Holdem strategy.
The Dealer Button rotates clockwise, one seat to the left, indicating the beginning of a new Omaha Hi round.