How to Play Omaha
Omaha Poker rules are deceptively easy to learn and once you do get the basics down, you won’t want to stop playing the game. Omaha is a variation of Hold’em played with the same number of betting rounds, however, the betting is a little different. Pot Limit Omaha (PLO for short), is the most popular Omaha game that is played, and in this format, players can bet up to the amount of the actual pot.
One of the players at the table is the dealer, which is marked by a small disk or “button” indicating the dealer for this hand. The button will move clockwise after each hand. The player on the left of this button must post the “small blind”, and the player to the left of this player must post the “big blind”. These blinds are used to build a pot before the flop so other players have something to shoot for. Any player that want to stay in the hand must at least match the big blind’s bet.
After the blinds are posted each player is dealt four cards face down. During the pre-flop betting round the player to the left of the “big blind” is first to act. He must decide whether his four cards are strong enough to stay in the hand. This player can call, fold, or raise. And so each player makes their move going clockwise until each player has either folded or called the last bet.
Once the first round betting is complete, the dealer will burn the top card of the deck. One card is also “burned” before the turn and river cards are dealt. The dealer then places three community cards face-up in the middle of the table. This is called the “flop” and more of each active player’s hands will be revealed. All players can use these cards plus their four hole cards to make their best five card poker hand.
After the flop another betting round now takes place the same as before, but this round the “small blind” is the first to act. Omaha is a post flop game and knowing the cards dealt on the flop and how they connect with your hole cards is key. If your hand isn’t looking too good by now you should consider folding so as to save your chips for another battle.
Next one more card is placed face-up in the center of the table, this is called the “turn” and again everyone can use this card. After the turn another betting round now takes place.
Now the fifth and final card is placed face-up on the table. This is known as the “river”. One more betting round takes place.
If there is more than one player still active in the hand then all the remaining players are required to show their hands to the other players to decide the winner. The player with the highest five card poker hand using two of their hole cards and three of the community cards wins the pot.
Players that have a Hold’em background will find the transition to Omaha to be a fairly easy one. Keep in mind, however, that the swings in Omaha are bigger then Hold’em since with more card combinations there will be more potential ways to win in Omaha.