Omaha Hold’em is very similar to the far more widely played and better-known Texas Hold’em. However, there are a couple of massive differences.

A Hold’em game is one where all players share community cards. This is in contrast to ‘draw’ games, where players don’t share any cards at all.

Omaha refers to several variations of poker games which all share a few similarities. The most popular version is Omaha Hold’em, sometimes also known as Omaha High.

We’ll go through some of the different versions of Omaha below but to explain the game in detail, it’s Omaha Hold’em we’ll be focusing on.

The key difference between Omaha Hold’em and Texas Hold’em is the number of hole cards you’re dealt, and how you use them.

Omaha Poker four hole cards

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How to Play Omaha Poker

In this game, players receive four cards, known as ‘hole cards’, rather than the two they’re dealt in Texas Hold’em Poker.

The most important thing to remember about the game is that you can only use two of your four hole cards to form a hand. And not only that but you must use exactly two of your cards. You must also use exactly three of the community cards and not more, or less.

This rule changes the strategy of the game as compared to Texas Hold’em. So just as an example, if you were going for a straight. You’d need to have two of the cards making up the straight yourself. It wouldn’t be enough to just have a Jack and then use the Ace, King, Queen and Ten from the table to complete your straight.

Similarly, to have a Full House you’d need to have a pair in hand to make a Full House. If there were three 9s on the table and you had two Jacks, you’d have a Full House. But if you had only one Jack in your hand and there was another on the table alongside the three 9s, you couldn’t make a Full House because you’d be using four community cards rather than the permitted three.

Blinds

Forced bets at the start of a hand are generally known as Blinds. They’re there to make sure that on any given hand, there’s always money in the pot. Rather than players not having to risk anything at all and waiting until they get a hand that they like.

Players take turns being the Dealer (in some live poker tournaments players don’t deal at all) and a button rotates around the table after hands. The button makes it clear who the Dealer is.

The player to the left of the Dealer needs to place a bet which is known as the Small Blind. The player to the left of the Small Blind is known as the Big Blind and needs to place a bet worth twice the value of the Small Blind. If the Small Blind wants to see the flop, they’ll have to match the amount of the Big Blind.

However, every player will also have to match the value of the Big Blind to see the flop. And if someone raises to more than the value of the Big Blind, that’s what you have to pay to see the flop and stay in the hand.

Flop

Different Omaha Hold’em games at a particular online casinos or poker site will have very different levels for the Small and Big Blinds, and in tournaments. The value of the Small and Big Blind increases after a particular period, to make sure the game progresses at a decent pace.

Once players have paid up to stay in the game, the Dealer reveals the flop, the first three community cards.

This is where things become more complicated in Omaha Hold’em than in Texas Hold’em. Players will need to work out what they have taken into account they have seven cards going for them at this stage. Whereas there are only five in Texas Hold’em.

After the Flop, players go through the usual round of betting.

Turn

Players still left in the hand at this stage will have the opportunity to see the turn card, the fourth community card. By this stage players will know eight of the cards- their own two plus four of the community cards.

After the revealing of the fourth community card, we go through the same process yet again. The first player to the left of the Dealer who’s still in the hand gets the chance to call or raise. And the others need to decide if they’re calling any raises, re-raising or folding.

There’s generally more betting activity going on at this stage than if it were a game of Texas Hold’em Poker. That’s because of the flexibility and excessive options players have, courtesy of having four hole cards, not two.

Players will normally be keen to stay in the game at this stage because the final card could bring all sorts of extra possibilities.

River

After the River card is turned, the fifth and final community card, players should take a minute to work out exactly what it is that they’re holding.

They’ll need to make sure that they’re not using more than two of their cards or more than three of the community cards.

Now is also a good time to take a second to think about what everyone else might be holding as well, now that all five community cards are known. This, of course, is trickier because each player has four hole cards, not two.

A final round of betting gets underway post-River card. A winner is declared (or split winners if that’s the case) and winning players receive their winnings.

Hand Ranking for Omaha Poker

Royal flush

A royal flush is an ace-high straight flush.

Straight flush

A straight flush is a five-card straight, all in the same suit.

Four of a kind

Quads, or four of a kind, are four cards of equal rank.

Full house

A full house, or full boat, contains a set (three) of cards of one rank and a pair of another rank.

Flush

A flush is any five cards, all of the same suit.

red and gold poker chips

White dealer button on a poker table

Straight

Five cards of sequential rank. Every possible straight will contain either a 5 or a 10.

Three of a kind

Three cards of the same rank.

Two pairs

A two pair is two cards of one rank and another two cards of another rank.

Pair

One pair is two cards of the same rank.

High card

The hand with the highest card(s) wins.

What are the Advantages of Online Omaha Poker?

Whereas some players will carry on craving the experience of ‘live’ games. And all the emotional side of things including ‘player tells’ where individual habits can give away what you’re holding. There is a slew of advantages behind playing online poker, instead. Here are a few:

Convenience

Omaha Hold’em poker players can play from the comfort of their home, without any of the possible distractions you might get playing at a live table. They can also play from literally anywhere with WiFi as long as the Casino or card site has a mobile casino, which most do.

Bonus Offers

Playing at an online casino or poker room gets players access to generous casino bonuses. Most real money sites will offer a welcome bonus when you first sign up. And further bonuses such as being able to enter freerolls or other rewards such as Rakeback. Where you receive a percentage back of what you’ve paid in rake.

Banking Methods

Big wins are paid out to your bank account, E-wallet or anywhere else you want to receive your money. Which is safer and more practical than walking around with a fortune in banknotes. And when making deposits players have plenty of convenient options such as Visa, Mastercard and increasingly more common Bitcoin.

Free Games

To reward loyal players and keep them engaged, poker companies offer players entry into freerolls from time to time. In freerolls, players don’t have to pay to enter with the Casino/Poker site doing that for them. You may, however, have to enter a special bonus code to take part.

Which Variations of Omaha are Available at Online Poker Rooms?

Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or better/Omaha 8

Half of the game works in the same way as we described above. Players trying to use two hole cards, plus three community cards, to get the best hand they can.

But in this case, the pot is split in two. Half of it going to the player holding the highest high (hi) hand and the other half to the player with the highest low (lo) hand. It could be the same player winning both hands if they can form two very different hands with the four cards they have available.

Except you have to have a certain hand to have a qualifying low hand. A player must be able to play an 8-7-6-5-4 hand to qualify (why it’s called eight or better). If there are no qualifying low hands and therefore no winner of it, the player with the highest (high) hand wins the whole pot.

There can be split hands just like in Omaha Hold’em or Texas Hold’em and in this case on both the high hand and the low hand.

Courchevel Omaha

Named after the exclusive ski resort in the French Alps, it’s similar to Omaha Hold’em, with two major differences.

The first is that players are dealt five hole cards, rather than four. But at the same time that they’re dealt those, the first community card is also revealed. A round of betting takes place at this stage in the normal way before the next two community cards are dealt. In this variation, the flop comes in two stages, rather than one.

The game then continues in the normal way to Omaha Hold’em, with several rounds of betting until the final community card (the river card) is revealed.

Just like with Omaha Hold’em, you must use both your hole cards and three of the community cards.

It’s mostly played in France, sometimes in the UK, and isn’t as available as the Hold’em version online but recently there’s been more of a demand for it.

Frequently Asked Questions about Omaha Poker

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