How to play Omaha poker

Basic introduction to playing Omaha poker;

Omaha is a great card game and the most played poker game after Texas Holdem. There are a couple of variations of the basic Omaha poker; usually it is played as Pot-Limit, and a common variant is Omaha Hi-Lo also known as Omaha 8,  find more about Omaha 8 here. If you are familiar with Texas holdem you will have a grasp of the basic game setup, but we will go through it from the beginning so if you have never played before you will know what to do.

Best Omaha starting hands

The first thing to note is that each player, of which there are between two and ten, gets four cards in their hand, which no one else sees, and you must use two of them to make the best poker hand in combination with three of the five community cards which come down on the board.

How to play OmahaOmaha Poker; The beginning

You sit at a table with between two and ten other players, with you poker chips in front of you. Unless you are in a casino where a dealer is provided, one of you will be the dealer and this is decided by the cards being shuffled and then each player being dealt a card face up. Whoever gets the highest card (ace being the highest, then king and so on) is the dealer. If two players get the same high card, ie a jack and a jack, they get a second card each to determine the dealer. To the left of the dealer is the small blind and on his left is the big blind. Each of these players must put chips on the table before the cards are dealt. This forces anyone who wants to play a hand to put chips in the pot, straight away making it an important decision whether to play a hand or not, and making it worth fighting for the chips in the middle. Whatever the small blind value is, the big blind is generally double. So if the small is $20 then the big is $40. Some games also have an ante, an amount that each player is obliged to put into the pot at the start of each hand, usually about 10% of the big blind. In a cash game the blinds stay the same but in tournaments they go up on a regular basis, depending on the tournament anything from every twenty minutes to an hour, although these are variable.

How to play Omaha pokerOmaha poker; Preflop

The dealer now deals out the card, starting on his left the dealer gives each player one card at a time face down, including him/herself until all players have four cards. You look at your cards making sure no one else can see them. Now a round of betting begins.

The person to the left of the big blind is the first to act. This person is ‘Under the gun’, (UTG). On the basis of the cards in their hand they have to determine if they have a chance of making a winning hand by the end of the play. If they do, they ‘call’ which is to match the amount of the big blind. If they think they have a really good hand, they can raise, by a minimum of doubling the big blind. Finally if they look at their cards and see no way to win, they can fold at no cost to themselves.

After that player has acted, the next person clockwise to the left either calls, raises or folds and so on around the players. In some games they are able to re-raise if there has been a previous raise, normally the minimum for this is double the previous amount. In this way the action moves around the table.

When the action gets back to the small blind, they have the same choices but have already paid half the big blind, so it costs them less to equal the big blind amount. They have to think a bit harder about this though as they are in the worst position on the table post flop. If nobody has raised on the way around, the big blind can ‘check’ which means there is no raise or fold, and everyone gets to see the ‘flop’, which is the first of the community cards.

Omaha poker strategyOmaha poker; The flop

Now everyone has had a chance to bet, call or raise, the dealer lays the top card of the deck face down (called the ‘burn’ card), then lays three cards down, face up, called ‘the flop’. Another round of betting begins, starting with whoever is the hand to the left of the dealer, be it small blind, big blind or further around the table. Whoever is first to act can check or raise, as before, they don’t need to fold. The next player can check (if no action before), call (if there was a bet), raise or fold (if there has been a bet and they don’t want to continue).

Omaha Hi-LoOmaha poker; The Turn

The next community card is known as the Turn. The dealer places the top card off the deck face down and the next one face up, next to the previous three cards he put out. A round of betting begins again as before with the same options, check, bet, call, raise.

How to play OmahaOmaha Poker; The River

The River card is the last community card to be put out. The dealer puts one card face down and one face up. A final round of betting begins, as before. When the last player has acted, you have ‘the showdown’. If there has been no betting this round then the first person  to the left of the dealer shows their cards first, and so on clockwise around the table. If there has been a bet and one or more people have called the bet, the original better is the first to show their hand, and then the card reveal travels clockwise again. The person who wins is the one with the best hand. Remember the hand has to be made up of two of the four cards in your hand and three of the five cards on the table. It’s as simple as that. The winner takes the chips in the pot.

The dealer position moves to the left and the process begins again. And that is how to play Omaha poker.

If you want to play Omaha with other beginners at a low risk game, look up Boom poker club (Australia’s largest online club with well over 1000 players, with a poker jackpot of $4,000) on facebook here; or for instructions on how to enter the game email here;

Note; The authors of Beginners Omaha Poker have no commercial connection to Boom poker club.

And if its Texas Holdem poker you are wanting to learn about, look at this great site; How to play Texas Holdem Poker.