Although Omaha may look like Texas Hold’em considering that it is played with five community cards, the game in reality is quite different. In Omaha, the players have to use their hole cards and community cards to make a winning combination. The game has two versions, namely Omaha High and Omaha Hi/Lo. Also, the game can be a limit game, a pot limit game or a no-limit game.
Basic guide to playing Omaha covers the Limit Omaha High game.
In Omaha, just like in Texas Hold’em, blind bets are placed in the beginning to start a pot. The person who is seated on the immediate left of the dealer places or posts a small blind bet, which is around half of the minimum bet. For instance, for $2/4 game, the small blind bet will be $1. The next player then posts a minimum bet. However, the remaining players do not post any bets to start the hand. In this example, each player will get a turn to be the dealer, and post a small blind bet and big blind bet.
Thereafter, each player is dealt four cards, which are dealt face down. These cards are referred to as the hole cards or personal cards. Once the cards are dealt, the player seated to the left of the player, who posted the big blind, will post his bet to either call the blind bet or to raise the blind bet. The last option is to fold the hand. The betting continues around the table until it reaches the player who put the small blind bet. So, taking the example once again of $2/4, this player will post just $1 because he had place a dollar to start the pot. In case no raised was made, the dealer will give the players the option. The last player to act is the blind bet, and he has the option either to raise or check.
Then three cards are dealt face up. These cards are community cards and can be used by all players. This is known as the flop. Then the next round of betting starts. Once the betting completed, the dealer will deal a fourth community card. This is known as the turn. Then the next round of betting starts which is the second last round. Once this round is over, the dealer will dealt the fifth community card on the table. This is the river. This leads to the last round of betting.
The second last and the last rounds of betting, the stakes are increased. The final round of betting leads to the showdown. Here the winner is determined. The players have to use their two hole cards and three community cards to form a high five card combination. The player with the highest combination is the winner. In Omaha Hi/Lo, it can happen that two players have the same high combination. In this case, the pot will be split between the two players. It is a tie and it is not broken using a sixth card.
It has been seen that in Omaha, big pairs do not win. While that strategy is okay for Texas Hold’em, it rarely works in Omaha. If you want to win in this game, you should be looking for straight, full house or Flush. Also, in Omaha, it is quite common for a player to have an absolute Nuts after the river round. If a player does not draw Nuts after the flop, he can end up with a second-best hand or even worse. Omaha requires the player to have 16 outs or 20 outs after the flop to stay in the fray.
The general tendency of players playing Omaha is to stick around to see the flop. This works to build up the pot. Therefore, the game sees a lot of bad bets being placed. If you are serious about Omaha, you should not let emotions get in your way. Instead, you should take the time to learn the game correctly. That is why it is important to know the basics of Omaha. Never use Texas Hold’em strategy to play Omaha as you will not win.
The best way to practice Omaha is playing at home or using free games online at poker websites. Make sure you learn to read your own hand first before trying to read other players’ hands. Once you master this technique and you know the basic rules of Omaha, you will be able to play with other players confidently.