Omaha Poker (or Omaha Holdem) is very closely associated to its Texan relative. The major difference between the two variants is that four hole cards are dealt to each player, rather than two, and the winning hand is created by combining two of the hole cards with three of the five community cards. It may sound complicated, but many players prefer this online poker games due to the number of hand combinations which are still alive at later stages of each hand.
Omaha Poker Hand Hierarchy
There are two formats of Omaha Poker – Omaha Hi and Omaha Hi-Lo (for a more comprehensive explanation go to our Omaha Hi-Lo page here). Omaha Hi follows the standard poker hand hierarchy, where a royal flush beats four of a kind beats a full house and so on. When playing Omaha Hi, high value hands are seen more often because the increased number of cards in play provides players with more options, and also because more players tend to see the flop, and one (or more) will connect with the community cards.
Starting a Omaha Poker Game
At the beginning of a hand the two players to the left of the dealer pay a “blind” to insure there are some funds in the pot when the hand starts. Each player is then dealt four cards which only they can see and, starting with the player to the left of the “big blind”, players take it in turn to call the amount of the big blind, raise the bet or fold their cards. Action continues in a clockwise direction (usually capped at four raises) until the pre-flop betting is complete.
Omaha Starting Hands
Knowing when to fold your cards is very important in Omaha Poker. Because of the higher number of cards in play, and the number of players who want to see the first three community cards (the “flop”), there are fewer opportunities to successfully bluff. Pre-flop betting in most versions of Omaha Hi tends to be subdued because even the best Omaha starting hands can easily be derailed on an unfavourable flop. Getting committed to the pot at an early stage of the hand can be expensive when you may only be holding a Broadway Pair post-flop against a player who has multiple outs or the nut hand.
Omaha Poker Post Flop Action
Once the flop has been seen, a further round of betting commences with the first player seated to the left of the dealer button. This is usually the player who paid the “small blind” at the beginning of the game, unless he chose to fold his cards during the pre-flop action. This player, and every subsequent player – working in a clockwise direction again -, has the option to check his hand, make a bet or fold his cards. The same process occurs after the fourth community card (“turn”) except the amount of the minimum bet is doubled, and again after the fifth community card (“river”) until two or more players reach showdown.
Omaha Poker Showdown
Once all the betting actions have concluded, the player who made the last raise is the first to show his hand. Moving in a clockwise direction, other players still in the game must show their hands if they have a better combination of cards, or can chose to return them to the dealer face down if they have lost. It is important that players only use two cards from the four they were originally dealt, and three of the five community cards to create their hand. If a player has four diamonds in their pocket cards, and only one has appeared on the board, they have not got a diamond flush. Once the winner(s) is determined, that player(s) collects the pot, the button moves one seat to the left and the next hand is dealt.
Omaha Poker Betting Formats
Flop Limit Omaha
Omaha Hi Poker can be played “Flop Limit”, where limits are placed on the amount a player can bet according to the value of the big blind. For example, in a $1.00/$2.00 game of fixed limit Omaha Poker, the small blind would be $0.50 and big blind $1.00. The maximum raise in the pre-flop and post-flop betting rounds would be $1.00, although this would increase to $2.00 in the rounds of betting following the turn and the river.
Pot Limit Omaha
Pot Limit Omaha (often abbreviated to PLO Poker) is the most popular form of betting in Omaha Poker. Players can increase their bets by up to the value of the pot, with the blind value acting only as a minimum raise. This form of Omaha Holdem Poker enables players to manipulate pots in the early rounds of betting in case they hit a monster hand, or bluff in the later rounds of betting that they have connected with the board – often a dangerous strategy, but it largely depends on the calibre of your opponents and the table persona you have presented during previous hands.
No Limit Omaha
This betting format of Omaha Poker is rarely played, and difficult to find on even the most popular poker websites. As the name suggests, there is no limit to the maximum amount that can be bet during any round of betting (up to the value of a player´s chip stack) and, because of the nature of the betting, No Limit Omaha poker is typically a game played for coin flips – where players shove all their chips into the middle or fold their cards. There is very little skill involved in No Limit Omaha Poker as the games frequently deteriorates into a game of bingo.
Online Poker Sites Offering Omaha Poker
Omaha Poker is rapidly gaining in popularity through most online poker sites due to the potential a player has for rapidly increasing the value of their hand during the game. Experienced online poker players prefer the Pot Limit Omaha betting version, but there are some very loose games of flop limit Omaha to be found during the European evening.
Irrespective of your level of experience, there are still some Omaha Poker sites for a good selection of Omaha Poker choices.
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