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Omaha Poker

Firstly to clarify, Omaha poker, or Omaha Hold Em as it's sometimes called, is usually referred to simply as Omaha but it is a game which is related to Texas poker. The exact origination of the game is unknown, but casino executive Robert Turner first brought Omaha poker into a casino setting when he introduced the game to Bill Boyd who offered it as a game at the Las Vegas Golden Nugget Casino calling it "Nugget Hold Em".

Although Texas Hold Em poker is much more popular in poker circles, there are also opportunities to make money with Omaha. One point to remember however is that whilst they do have similarities, the two games are different and you would be well advised not to use the same tactics which you use at Texas poker when you're playing Omaha. The latter is a game which carries a high risk factor for the careless beginner.

How To Play Omaha Poker
Omaha is a game which should be played with between two and 10 players seated at the table.
Much the same as with Texas Hold Em, Omaha may be played with Limit, Pot- Limit or No-Limit betting rules.

The main differences between Omaha and Texas Hold Em are these:

Firstly, each player is dealt four 'hole' cards instead of two. The betting rounds and layout of community cards are however identical. At the showdown, each player's hand is the best five-card hand the player can make from exactly three of the five cards on the board, plus exactly two of his own cards. Unlike Texas Hold Em, a player is not allowed to play four or five of the cards on the table with fewer than two of his own, nor is a player player allowed to use three or four hole cards to disguise a strong hand. Like to try online poker?

A few useful things to note about Omaha hands are:

  • As is the case with Texas Hold Em, three or more suited cards on the table means it is possible to make a flush. However, unlike Texas Holde Em, a player will always need two of that suit in his hand to play a flush.
  • Two pairs on the table do not make a full house for any player with a single matching card as is the case with Texas Hold Em.
  • Similarly, with three of a kind on the table, a player must have a pair in his hand to make a full house.
pair of aces in omaha poker

Keep Ace Cool!

Having a pair of aces in your hand when starting a game of Omaha is cool. However, you need to remember how dramatically the flop can change your hand. If you have multiple opponents and a flop like 9 10 J, and your opponents are busy raising and re-raising, it’s tempting to continue in the hand, even if it’s a dangerous flop that may have helped your opponents.

Try to remember that Omaha hands really begin on the flop and to act accordingly. That way you won’t be tempted to continue with a big pair that looked strong pre-flop especially if the flop doesn't help.

Read more about Robert Turner and how he introduced Omaha poker into casinos.