Although Omaha and Texas Hold'em are cut from the same cloth, but if you think that learning to play one will naturally teach you to play the other then rethink, amigo. With slight variations in rules and strategies, grasping the theoretical part of Omaha is a cakewalk alike Texas, but practice is what will really make a difference between a veteran and an average Poker player. So to begin with, take a note of the following pointers:
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Poker is all about forming the best ‘Poker Hand’. In Omaha Hi/Lo, the regular Poker Hand Ranking is followed to make the High Hand whereas a set of rules need to be taken into account whilst forming the Low Hand. Ranking of both High Hands and Low Hands are discussed in detail below:
A Royal Flush is a straight flush from a ten to an ace.
A Straight Flush is a set of five cards in numerical order of the same suit.
Out of five cards, four are of same rank/denomination.
Three of a kind and a Pair together forms a Full House.
A set of five cards from the same suit and which are not consecutive.
A set of five cards in consecutive numerical order.
Any three cards of the same rank/denomination.
Any two cards of the equal rank along with another two cards of the equal rank.
Any two cards of the same rank.
When none of the above mentioned hands are formed then the hand with the highest value card wins.
Combination of five cards with each of value equal to or less than 8 contributes towards forming a 5-Card Low Hand. In layman’s language; any of A, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 forms the Low Hand, wherein A is taken as of value 1. Following is the list of some of the Low Hands, from best to worst:
A set of five cards with 5 as the highest value forms the Five High Low Hand. Since none of the cards in Low Hands can be paired, the best possible Low Hand is a combination of 5, 4, 3, 2 and A regardless of suits.
Player 02 Wins
A set of five cards with 6 as the highest value forms the Low Hand called as Six High. In case where high cards of two sets of Low Hand are matching, next two high cards should be compared and so on.
For example, Player 1 forms a Six High Low Hand with a card combination of 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 whereas Player 2 forms a Six High Low Hand with cards 6, 4, 3, 2, A. Since the highest value card in both the sets is 6, the next highest card is compared. Player 2 has the stronger Low Hand with 4 as the second highest card in comparison to Player 1, who has 5 as the second highest card.
Player 01 Wins
A set of five cards with 7 as the highest value forms the Low Hand called as Seven High. In case where high cards of two sets of Low Hand are coinciding, next two high cards should be compared and so on.
For example, Player 1 forms a Seven High Low Hand with a card combination of 7, 5, 4, 3, 2 whereas Player 2 forms a Seven High Low Hand with cards 7, 6, 5, 2, A. Since the highest value card in both the sets is 7, the next highest card is compared. Player 1 has the stronger Low Hand with 5 as the second highest card in comparison to Player 2, who has 6 as the second highest card.
Player 02 Wins
A set of five cards with 8 as the highest value forms the Low Hand called as Eight High. In case where high cards of two sets of Low Hand are same, next two high cards should be compared and so on.
For example, Player 1 forms a Eight High Low Hand with a card combination of 8, 7, 6, 5, 4 whereas Player 2 forms a Eight High Low Hand with cards 8, 7, 6, 5, 3. Since the highest value card in both the sets is 7, the next highest card is compared. Even the next three highest cards are of same values, i.e., 7, 6 and 5; so we compare the next and the last card. Player 2 has the stronger Low Hand with 3 as the highest card in comparison to Player 1, who has 4 as the highest card.
|Basis of Difference||Omaha Poker||Texas Holdem|
|Hole Cards||Four Hole cards are dealt.||Two Hole cards are dealt.|
|Usage of Hole Cards||Two of four Hole cards should be used to form the best 5-Card Poker Hand. No more, no less!||We can either use both, one or none of the Hole cards dealt.|
|Betting Structure||The preferred betting structure is Pot-Limit.||The preferred betting structure is No-Limit.|
|Making Hands||With more options, making High Hands is easier in Omaha.||Making hands in Texas Hold’em demands a lot of brain-work.|
The second most popular Poker variant, Omaha can be played with a minimum of two players and a maximum of ten players. A 52-Card deck without joker is used to play this game. Each player is dealt with four Hole Cards, face down. In the next three betting rounds, a total of 5 Community Cards are dealt, face up. All that a player needs to do is form the best 5-Card Poker Hand using two Hole and three Community Cards.
Omaha is a variant of Poker, which demands forming the best 5-Card Poker hand using two of the four Hole cards and three of the five Community cards. Every player is dealt with four Hole cards in the first betting round and a total of 5 Community cards are dealt in the remaining three betting rounds.
Let’s gander over on how the rules of Omaha looks like:
The button placed on Omaha table determines the position of the dealer. The first player seated at the table gets the dealer button and the button keeps on moving in the clockwise direction after completion of every round.
This dealer button often dictates who the first players are to begin the betting round with the Small Blind and Big Blind bets. The two players sitting to the left of the dealer button place forced bets aka the blinds. The first player to the left places the Small Blind Bet and the player next to this player is bound to place the Big Blind Bet.
The blinds, also known as forced bets come in two forms: The Small Blind Bet and the Big Blind Bet. The Small Blind Bet is equivalent to half of the full betting amount for the round and the Big Blind Bet is equivalent to the full betting amount for the round.
Before beginning every round, two players at the table are bound to place these forced bets Without these forced bets, the game of Omaha would be very boring as no one would contribute towards the money into the pot.
Following are the four rounds of betting in Omaha:
Round 1: Pre Flop Round
Pre Flop Round is the first round of betting in Omaha, in which each player has only four Hole cards, dealt face down. The player sitting left to the Big Blind begins the round, and this player has the following three options:
On choosing ‘Fold’ option, the player no longer qualifies to win the current hand.
Round 2: Flop Round
The second betting round is known as the Flop Round, in which three community cards are dealt on the table marking the beginning of a new round. In this round, the players try to couple their two Hole cards with three community cards in order to form the best 5-Card Poker hand. The player sitting left to the button is the first active player for this round, and has an option to Check along with Call, Raise and Fold.
A Check simply means calling the current bet of zero, i.e., to pass the action to the next player in the hand by betting zero amount. Players often confuse between Check and Fold. Well, Check does not lead to packing away of cards. Rather, it renders an option to wait to raise/call in the later betting rounds.
Round 3: Turn Round
The third betting round is known as the Turn Round, in which the fourth community card is dealt marking the beginning of another betting round. This round is similar to the Flop Round and offers 4 betting options to the players: Check, Call, Raise or Fold.
Round 4: River Round
Similar to Texas Hold’em, River Round is the fourth betting round followed by the final Showdown in Omaha Poker. The fifth and the final community card is dealt in this round. Even this final round of betting offers 4 betting options, which are Check, Call, Raise or Fold.
The final Showdown takes place after all the four rounds of betting are completed. In this, the remaining players expose their Hole Cards and with the dealer’s assistance the winning hand is determined. The player with the best 5-Card Poker hand wins the pot.
Omaha determines and limits the betting amounts to a fixed sum. Usually, small bets are placed for the first two betting rounds and big bets are placed for the remaining two betting rounds.
For example, In a Limit Omaha game with a $4.00 limit, all bets with an exception of the Small Blind Bet would be $4.00. The Small Blind Bet would be $2.00 and the Large Blind Bet would be $4.00. So, if players intend to bet or raise it would be by $4.00, and $4.00 only. Usually, the lower limit is for the first two betting rounds and the higher limit is for the remaining two betting rounds. In this instance, $2.00 is for the Pre-Flop and Flop round; and $4.00 for the Turn and River round.
Pot Limit Omaha limits the betting amount to the current total amount in the pot. The Big Blind Bet cannot exceed the size of the pot.
For example, if the total amount in the pot in the middle of the table is 10 the first player to act in the betting round bets 10, the second player could bet a total of 30 - 10 for his portion of the call and raise by 20, the total amount of money in the pot when the action got to him, including his call. There is no cap to the number of raises in Pot-Limit Omaha Poker games.
No Limit Omaha is played just like Limit Omaha with an exception of no pre-determined betting amount and Raise sizes. What really determines your betting limits is the size of the stack of chips in front of you.
For example, A player has a stack of chips worth $300 and he starts a hand with $300 only. The opponent raises the bet to $500. If the player wins $300 of opponent’s $500 bet then the player will stack up his chips with $300 again and the remaining $200 goes into the side pot.