Omaha Poker Introduction
The game of Omaha is similar in many respects to the game of Texas Hold’em, except that four hole cards (face down) are initially dealt to each player rather than two. All of the rules of Hold’em apply to Omaha with the exception that a player cannot “play the board,” the player must use two hi-hole cards in combination with any three of the five exposed community cards, to contrast a five-card hand. A popular variation of this game is Omaha High-Low Split.
With the exception of No Limit Omaha, the rules of the game rather than the players, determines the size of the bets and raises. In the first two rounds of play all bets and raises are equal to the minimum bet and during the last two rounds bets and raises are limited to the maximum bet, typically double the minimum. For example: a $2-$4 table, $5-$10 table, etc. Betting is also limited to a maximum of three raises per round.
Order of Play
- Play starts with the player to the dealer’s left anteing one half of the minimum bet. The next player to the left then antes an amount equal to the minimum. With each following game antes proceeds clockwise around the table, thus ensuring there is always money in the pot.
- After players have received their initial four cards the round of betting begins. Starting clockwise from the player who made the first ante. Players may bet the minimum, fold, check or raise the minimum bet. Of course checked players must then meet the bets placed in order to continue in the game.
- After this round of betting is completed the dealer buries or discards the top card from the remainder of the deck and deals three cards face up on the table. This is known as the flop. These are community cards used by all players. A second round of betting then begins.
- When the second round of betting is completed the dealer again buries the top card and deals a fourth community card face up known as 4 th street. The remaining players bet, raise, check or fold; with bets and raises limited to the maximum for the table.
- The final round of betting begins when the last card, 5 th street, is dealt face up. The winner of the game is the player with the highest five-card hand constructed with two of his four hole cards in combination with any three of the five community cards.
Omaha High-Low Split
This game is usually played hi-low eight-or-better. Players use any two of their hole cards in combination with three community cards to create a high hand and another or the same, combination to create a low hand of eight-high or less. The best low hand is A,2,3,4,5 regardless of suit, a combination that could well qualify for both high and low pots; a straight for high and a 5-high for low.
The same rules apply to Omaha High-Low as to Omaha except for the eight-or-better qualification. This rule generally applies unless otherwise posted. If there are no qualifying low hands in the game the high hand takes the entire pot.