How to play Omaha Poker: Step-by-step Guide

  • Written by David Bet
How to play Omaha Poker: Step-by-step Guide

Omaha Poker is often compared to Texas Hold’em as the structure of the game is very similar, You have hole cards, a flop, turn and river with the same betting sequence. An Omaha poker game is, however, played with 4 hole cards rather than the two downcards in the Hold’em rules. A player is still trying to make the best 5-card poker hand from the 9 available to them BUT in this variation of the game two hole cards MUST be used - no more, no less.

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With so many more combinations within an Omaha Poker starting hand, Omaha poker strategy is often a very different animal to that of hold’em. Drawing hands are extremely highly valued, so much so that it is not uncommon to have such a big draw that it can be the favourite against three of a kind.

Don’t let this scare you though: this game may take a little more time to master, but the rewards available playing Omaha poker online can be very worthwhile. With lots more players seeing a flop and so many more combinations available to those who do, this is certainly the game to be in if you want to win big!

Learn The Game:In this guide we will detail all the necessary steps to help you feel at home on the tables. We have even enlisted the sage advice of some proven and accomplished players whose results and experience here at Ladbrokes Poker speaks for itself, and they have generously given their time to provide some helpful strategy, hints and tips.

If you wish to practice what you will learn below, but want to feel your way a bit further into the game, then we have a vast selection of free money poker tables available for you on the site.

The Blinds and the Button:At the start if every Omaha poker hand there are two things that are a constant: The button and the blinds.

The button is a disc placed in front of a player, and signifies who is the dealer for that hand.

The blinds are forced bets (so called because the players have to post them ‘blind’ before they see any cards) placed by the two players to the immediate left of the button. The first player posts the small blind and the second player posts the big blind. The small blind is generally half the number of chips of the big blind. After each hand the button progresses one place to the left, and so do both the blinds.

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Pre-Flop Action:In Omaha, unlike Texas holdem poker, a player is dealt 4 down or hole cards. Once a player has received their pocket cards (hole cards) cards, they are faced with their first decision to play or not to play. Simply a player must decide if they are in or out and do this by matching the bet that stands when the action reaches them (or indeed raising that amount if the feeling so takes them) Betting will go in sequence starting from the first player to the left of the dealer and continue round the table sequentially in a clockwise fashion until all bets have been matched.

The possible actions available to any player are Fold, Call or Raise.

As the action moves around the table preflop players wishing to remain in the hand will have to at least call (match) the big blind bet, OR if a previous player has raised (increased the bet) then that bet will have to be at least called to remain in the hand. A player always has the option to fold anytime the action is on them (it is their turn).

If there has been no raise when the action (betting round) returns to the big blind player, that player will still have the option to raise if they so desire. Any money put into the pot by a player before any cards are dealt counts as part of their overall bet. So if the blinds are $1 (sb) and $2 (bb) and there is no raise before the action gets to the small blind, then he or she will only have to put an extra $1 into the pot to match the $2 as they already have $1 invested prior to the dealing of the cards.

Once all bets are matched the flop is dealt

The Flop:The flop consists of three cards being dealt face up in the middle of the table. These are community cards, meaning that they are shared by all the players and may form part of anyone’s hand.

A round of betting will now follow, starting from the player to the immediate left of the button and continuing clockwise around the table.

Once again any player will have the option to Fold, Check, Call or Raise.

A check is a situation where there is currently no bet that stands which a player would have to match, so a player may decide to continue that by checking (essentially calling a bet of zero). Betting will continue as detailed above until all bets are matched.

Once this happens the next card is dealt

The Turn:The turn card (or fourth street) is dealt face up in the middle of the table and becomes another community card. A round of betting then ensues in the same fashion as detailed above. The players who remain after this round of betting will then see the final card.

The River:The final card is the river (or fifth street); this is dealt face up in the middle of the table and is also a community card. Players now have all the cards they can. The idea is to make the best five-card poker hand from the seven available (the two pocket or hole cards and the five community cards).

The final round of betting now follows in the same fashion as previous rounds. Those players that still remain after the completion of the betting then go to the showdown.

The Showdown:Once all betting has been completed the players who remain show their cards.

If there was betting on the last round then the player who made the last positive action (last player to make a bet – not to call one) will show first, if the last round of betting involved all players ‘checking’ then it will be the player to the immediate left of the button who will show first then clockwise from there.

The player with the best five-card hand wins the pot. In the event of player’s hands being the same, the poker pot will be equally divided between the players.

Omaha poker rules give no differentiation between suits so split pots can be common.

Unlike in Hold’em where a player can use any combination of hole cards and board cards, In Omaha a player must use two cards from their hand, no more and no less to form their 5 card poker hand.

The button now moves clockwise to the next player and a new hand begins.


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