Omaha poker is one of the most popular online poker variants besides Texas Holdem poker and it’s a community card game. Just like the game named for the Lone Star State.
Telegraph Betting takes you through the key differences and similarities between Omaha and Texas Holdem poker. The objective of Omaha poker and a step-by-step guide to playing a hand.
Take a look at our curated list of the UK’s best poker bonus sign-up offers or scroll down to start learning how to play Omaha poker.
Below you’ll find our guide to playing a game of Omaha poker. If you’re an absolute poker beginner we would recommend checking out these pieces before you begin:
- How to play poker via pulsa — A quick guide to the basic concepts that unite all types of poker
- Poker hand rankings — A guide to the rankings that decide who has the best poker hand
Community cards and hole cards Both forms of poker make use of five community cards that players use along with their hole cards to make up the best possible hand.
Order of betting and community card dealing Both forms of poker include rounds of betting before and after the flop (when the first three community cards are dealt). The turn (when the fourth is dealt) and the river (when the fifth is dealt) before ending on a showdown if necessary.
Number of hole cards In most forms of Omaha poker players are dealt four hole cards. Twice as many as they receive in Texas Holdem poker.
Make-up of the best hand In Omaha poker the player’s best hand must consist of two of their hole cards and three of the community cards. In Texas Holdem a player can make up their best hand with two, one or none of their hole cards in combination with the community cards.
The ultimate goal of any player playing Omaha poker is to win as many chips as possible over the course of several hands. By making the best decisions on how to play each hand.
Although having the best hand according to poker hand rankings will decide the result of an individual hand when it comes to the showdown (when players reveal their cards at the conclusion of betting), it’s not necessary to win a hand, nor does it guarantee victory.
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Managing the impression you give other players of the quality of your hand is vital if you wish to win a hand, as maximising the potential for winnings of a good hand means convincing other players to keep betting.
Conversely, even if your hand is not a strong one. It’s possible to bluff opponents into folding (withdrawing from the hand) if they perceive you to be playing with the confidence of someone with a good hand.
When betting commences in Omaha poker players have the following options:
- Call Matching another player’s bet or raise.
- Raise Increasing the size of your existing bet in the same round of betting.
- Fold To withdraw from the hand, sacrificing any bets already made.
- Check Until the first bet in a round of betting is placed. Players can choose to check (decline to make a bet while reserving the right to bet later in the round).
- All in When players don’t have enough chips left to call a bet they can play all the chips they have left to stay involved, with the potential that they can win the entirety of the pot at this point if they win the hand in the showdown. All subsequent bets from other players are placed into a side pot.
How to play Omaha poker: the dealer
If you’re playing Omaha poker offline in private or social settings a different player takes the role of the dealer for each hand with ‘dealer’ status rotating in a clockwise direction.
Physical casinos and poker rooms or online poker rooms have a separate dealer. But a token is used to show which player is theoretically the dealer for each hand.
Two mandatory bets are required before any cards are dealt. The small blind and the big blind. The small blind is put up by the player to the left of the dealer. The big blind (usually twice the value of the small blind) is put up by the player to the left of the small blind.
Dealer deals each player four cards
After the blinds, the dealer deals four cards face down to each player. Starting with the player to their left. These are the four hole cards and aren’t revealed to opposing players until the showdown (see below) if at all.
Players use two of their four hole cards alongside three of the five community cards (dealt as the game progresses), to create the best possible poker hand.
First round of betting (pre-flop)
The player to the left of the big blind is the first to call, raise or fold. Based on their desired approach to the hand. Checking isn’t an option at this stage because the big blind is effectively a bet in the first round of betting.
The remaining participants take it in turns calling, raising or folding until the turn of the person who put up the big blind.
The big blind already counts as their first bet. So this player’s options are to fold, raise or check. Betting continues until all participants fold. Play all their chips or match the amount others have put into the pot then check.
The dealer burns a card (removes it from play), then deals the flop — three face-up cards.
Second round of betting (post-flop)
The player to the left of the dealer bets first in this and all subsequent rounds of betting. From this point all participants have the option to check, call, raise, fold or go all in.
Betting goes on until everyone who is playing folds, goes all-in, or matches. What other players have put into the pot then checks.
The turn, aka ‘Fourth Street’
Again the dealer burns a card, before adding the next card from the deck to the first three community cards.
Third round of betting (post-turn)
As after the second round, betting continues until all players fold. Go all-in or match what other players have put into the pot then check.
The river, aka ‘Fifth Street’
Now the dealer unleashes the fifth and final community card after burning the top card on the deck. This finalises the options remaining players have to make their best possible five-card poker hand.
Final round of betting (post-river)
Betting resumes until all players who are still alive in the hand fold. Go all-in or match the amount of chips other players have put into the pot before checking.
Any point in the game when there are just two players remaining after a round of betting could result in a showdown.
However, if two or more players are still alive after the last round of betting then the showdown is on, no matter what.
Each player plays the best five-card poker hand they can fashion from their exactly two of their four hole cards and exactly three of the five community cards.
Ties and kickers
In instances where more than one player has the best hand available and that best hand consists of five cards, the pot is shared equally. The player on the dealer’s left receives any odd chips left over.
The kicker only comes into play if multiple players share a best hand of fewer than five cards (a pair or three of a kind for example).
In Omaha poker the kicker is the highest one of a player’s remaining hole cards that isn’t part of the best hand. The player whose kicker has the highest rank wins the hand and all the chips in the pot.
Even when the kickers are evaluated it’s still possible for the hand to be tied when the showdown occurs after the turn (before the fifth community card is in play).
In this situation, the river card is then dealt and if it’s of higher value than remaining players’ kicker cards, they both have the right to include it in their best hand. This renders the hand a tie.