(Credit: Migg, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Omaha_hi_showdown1.jpg, CC BY-SA 3.0 license)
Omaha (also called Omaha Hold’em or Omaha Holdem) is a variation of poker community cards, comprising, like Texas hold’em, five community cards, but four hole cards to each player instead of two. In addition, each player must make the best hand possible with exactly two of his hole cards and three community cards. The origin of Omaha is unknown, but it is the player Robert Turner who introduced it the first in gaming circles. Later, Bill Boyd has taught and introduced the game at the Golden Nugget Casino (where this game was called the ‘Nugget Hold’em’). It uses a set of French cards to play Omaha. The Omaha Hi-Lo in its limit poker variant is present in HORSE (shown by the letter “O”). The limit variant of Omaha Hi-Lo and Pot Limit Hi are present in the 8-game (THORSEHA respectively the letter “O” and “A”).
In North American casinos, the term “Omaha” means several types of poker. The original game is also called “Omaha High”. A high-low version called “Omaha hi-lo”, or sometimes “Omaha eight-or-better” or Omaha/8, is also played. In Europe, the term “Omaha” also corresponds to the high version played in its version of pot limit (PLO). The pot limit and no limit Omaha eight-or-better is played in casinos and online casinos, although the no-limit version is more rare.
It is often said that Omaha is the poker of “the nuts” (the best hand possible in relation to the community cards), because it is common to win the showdown with nuts. It is also a game where the player can play several different outputs simultaneously. For example, a player may end up playing both a color and a full draw, using different combinations of his cards. Thus, even an experienced player can sometimes take a little time before determining all the outputs he can play.
Each player is dealt before the Flop, 4 cards, distributed one by one.
The player left of the dealer is the small blind and the next big blind.
It takes place then a first round of classic auction.
The person distributing reveals, like Texas Hold’em the flop.
It takes place a second round of bidding.
The person distributing reveals, then the turn.
It takes place a third round of betting.
The person distributing reveals, then the river.
It takes place a fourth and final round of betting.
Each player still in play must evidence the best combination of five cards, using exactly two cards from his hand and exactly three cards from the board.
It is showdown.
The basic differences between Omaha and Texas Hold’em are the following:
- Each player is dealt four hole cards instead of two.
- Showdown, the final hand of a player, is the best five-card hand made by exactly three of the five community cards, and exactly two hole cards. So, unlike Texas Hold’em, a player cannot use four or five community cards, or use three or four hole cards, to form his hand.
The rounds are played as in Texas hold’em. Omaha (also called Omaha High) is practiced either fixed limit or pot limit, no limit being rare, because it greatly reduces the technical value of the variant. The pot-limit is by far the most common, the game then named PLO (Pot-Limit Omaha). This structure should put the game especially as it avoids to go down before the flop. This will play more flops and thus give a rule for players who value the better their chances based on their cards, the flop, their position, the depth of their stack and the opponents type.
- While, as in Texas hold’em, when three cards of the same color, a flush is possible, a player must always have in his hand two cards of the same color to possibly make a flush. For example, on the board
, a player with can not make a flush using the ace, as would be possible in Texas Hold’em; the player must use two cards from his hand and only three of the board (in this example, the best player’s hand is two pair: ). A player with can play a spade flush.
- It is the same for straights. In Omaha, a player can not make a straight with a single hole card and four community cards as in Texas hold’em. For example, on the board
, a player with the hand ou can not play a straight. However, a player with can play a straight from three to seven.
- Two pairs on the board will not give a full to a player having a single hole card only that would have allowed him to have a full house in Texas Hold’em. For example, on the board
, a player with can not make a full house; this player only play with A-J and show , since he must play with three community cards. A player with can use his J-9 to play a full (or 9 ♣). Similarly, a player with can play a 5-5 to show a full .
- Similarly, with three of a kind on the board, a player must have a pair to get a full house. For example, on the board
, a player with can not have a full house. This player has only three of a kind jack with kicker ace-king, and will lose against a player with a pair of two in hand. This case is probably the most common mistake in omaha. (Of course, a player with the fourth servant obtains a square of jacks, any other card of his hand serve as “kicker” to make a five-card hand. )