Omaha Holdem Poker Rules
Omaha Hold'em, or commonly referred to as Omaha, is not quite as popular as it's cousin, Omaha hi/lo split, but it does have many fans, especially online and in west coast card rooms. Omaha Poker has become one of the professional players' favorite games. In fact at Full Tilt Poker you are more likely to see pro players at the Omaha and Omaha hi/lo tables, than you will at the No Limit Holdem tables. Why? With so many cards dealt to each player, you will almost always have some sort of hand that in other games would be worth playing. In Omaha however, many seemingly good hands are worthless. At the Omaha tables, the fish become even fishier because they catch more hands, many of them weak, and as we all know, weak players can't throw away weak hands!
The Blinds and Dealer Button
Omaha is a fixed position game, just like Texas Hold'em. Your position is determined by who currently has the dealer chip or button in front of them. The dealer chip moves clockwise around the table after each hand is concluded. The dealer has the advantage of acting last on every round except for the first. The first money into the pot are the blinds. The first player to the left of the dealer puts in the small blind, which is usually half of the big blind. The player to the left of the small blind is required to put in the big blind, and this is generally equal to the small bet at the particular limit being played. For example, in a $10/$20 game of Omaha, the small blind would be $5 and the big blind $10. Blinds structures will vary, and they have an effect on the strategy to be used, so always make a point to know the blind structure before you sit down.
The initial deal is where we see the major difference between Omaha and Texas Hold'em. In Omaha, each player is dealt four cards face down instead of two. However, only two of these cards are allowed to be used in creating the players hand. This must be kept in mind as the hand progresses! The four down cards is the creates so much action for the Omaha variation of poker. It is not hard to find a nice hand when you are dealt four hole cards.
After everyone is dealt 4 cards face down, the player to the left of the big blind must either call the big blind, fold or raise. Each player acts in turn, folding, calling, raising or re-raising. The blinds are considered "live," meaning that when the action gets to them in the first round of betting they can also fold, bet, raise. The big blind has the option to check if nobody has put in a raise.
When betting action is completed on the first round, chips are raked into the pot and the dealer places three community cards face up in the middle of the table. Community cards are used by all players to create their best hand. Do not forget that you must use exactly two cards from your hand and three cards from the community board to create your best five card hand! A round of betting begins, starting with the player to the left of the dealer button.
After betting action has concluded on the flop, another community card is placed face up in the center of the table, called the Turn. Bets generally double on the Turn. In our game of $10/$20, while $10 bets were made before, we now have to bet or raise $20 at a time.
The final community card is placed face up in the center of the table, and the final round of betting takes place. Double bets are used on the river.
When all betting is equalized on the River, a showdown occurs and the last player to make a bet or raise must turn over his down cards, revealing his best five card hand. If there was no betting on the final round, the first player still active to the immediate left of the dealer must show his hand. Each player in turn can either turn over his cards to reveal a better (or worse) hand, or muck his cards face down if he is the loser. Again, each player has to use exactly two of his hole cards and three from the community cards on the board to build their best five card hand. The player with the highest standard five card poker hand wins and takes the pot.
Ready to get started? Take a look at our recommended Omaha Starting Hands written by poker professional and author Lou Krieger!