Omaha Poker is sometimes seen as the little brother of Texas Hold’Em. It’s similar to the most popular card game in the world, but also has stark differences that make it unique and fun in its own way.
Omaha Poker has grown a faithful following in the casino world over decades and it is now a staple of the online poker playing community.
Fans love playing Omaha Poker for the increased control you have over your hand, in comparison with Texas Hold’Em.
It is a game full of action and involving many skill sets, such as bluffing, timing and knowing when the fold.
What’s great about Omaha Poker is once you understand the basics, you can play higher value games and really become a master of the discipline. While Texas Hold’Em is more known for its strategy, Omaha Poker is popular with players who enjoy mathematical calculations. But don’t let this put you off!
Omaha Poker is not a complicated game by any means. If you already know the rules to Texas Hold’Em then Omaha Poker will be easy to pick up. But if you’re a newcomer to poker in general then don’t worry. This guide will take you through the steps of an Omaha Poker game so you know exactly how Omaha works.
How to play Omaha Poker
Omaha Poker, like all poker games, is one of luck, skill and judgement. You need all three to master the game as you cannot rely on strong cards alone. The aim of the game is to stake wagers based on the strength of your cards — or make others believe you have a strong hand! If you force your opponents to fold or you prove to have the strongest hand, you win the money in the pot.
You will receive four ‘hole’ cards, two of which you must combine with the three of the five community cards to produce the strongest hand of five.
We will now take you through a simulated game so you can really get to grips with how it is played. In this instance, you’re sat at a table with four other players.
The dealer button moves between each player at the start of a new game. Don’t worry, here at Unibet we do the dealing automatically, so you don’t have to! Just like in Texas Hold’Em poker, the person left of the dealer pays a small blind, and the person left of them the big blind. These are bets to get some cash in the pot and so there is something to play for.
EXAMPLE: You are the dealer. The small blind is 5 chips, the big blind 10 chips. There are therefore 10 + 5 = 15 chips in the pot as you deal the cards.
First round of betting
Each player is dealt four cards. These are their own private ‘hole’ cards and are not to be shared with other players. You will combine two of these four cards with three of the five public cards later in the game, to create a ‘best of five’ hand for yourself. This differs from Texas Hold’Em as in that game there are only two private cards each. Once everyone has been dealt their cards, the first round of betting gets underway. Players must at least match the big blind, which is a ‘call’, if they want to continue in the game. They can also withdraw from the game and ‘fold’, or ‘raise’ the bet by betting more chips. The player who paid the big blind can ‘check’ on this go, so long as no player raises.
EXAMPLE: You receive a 4D, KH, QH, 6S in your hand. Two players fold immediately and you call the big blind. The player who paid the small blind calls too, and the player who paid the big blind checks. The pot is now 15 + 10 + 5 = 30 chips.
Once everyone who still wants to play has matched the bets, the first three community cards are placed face upwards on the table. This is called the ‘flop’ and you can now make a hand of five with the seven cards available. Remember though, you can only use two of your hole cards to make that hand of five. Another round of betting commences at this stage.
EXAMPLE: JH, 10S, 6D appear in the flop. You potentially have a straight emerging but currently your strongest hand is a 6 pair. One player stakes the maximum bet allowed in the game, 20 chips. You and the other player call. The pot is now 30 + 20 + 20 + 20 = 90 chips.
A fourth community card is placed on the table. This is called the ‘turn’. You now have eight cards to play with. Another round of betting commences.
EXAMPLE: 3H emerges from the turn. You’re now just one card away from a straight and one card away from a flush, but your hand is still weak at the moment. The player to your left checks, the next bets 20 chips and you call. The first player folds. There is now two players remaining and 90 + 20 + 20 = 130 chips in the pot.
The fifth card, called the ‘river’, in revealed. All nine cards are now at your disposal. But you must remember that you can only use a maximum of two of your four hold cards to make the strongest hand.
EXAMPLE: The river hits 4H. You now have a flush of 3H, 4H, JH, QH, KH. This is a strong hand. You bet 40 chips and your opponent calls. There is now 130 + 40 + 40 = 210 chips on the table. You show your hand and your opponent reveals two pairs of 3H, 3C, JH, JS, AD. It’s a strong hand but not as good as yours. You win the game!
Playing with a Pot Limit
One of the big differences between Omaha Poker and other forms of poker is there is usually a pot limit. This means you cannot simply go all in whenever you like. This might sound restrictive but it aids good gameplay. Players cannot crash out on a whim, while more shrewd players cannot simply intimidate opponents with big bluffs.
Yet as the game goes on the pot limit will raise, and very suddenly you can be confronted with two or three players being all in.
Four cards in your hand
It is imperative for Omaha Poker players to remember that they must use two cards from the four they have in the hole. Not one or none, but two. Even experienced poker players can forget this and make hands that use three or four hole cards. They can accidentally bet believing they have a strong hand, whereas actually they possess a weak one.
Omaha Poker Strategy
Having four cards in your hand gives a new dimension to the game. It changes the value of hands at showdown dramatically and can cause major shocks. Strong combinations such as full houses and flushes happen more often. Drawing for straights and flushes is also very common.
Hands like 7-8-9-10 (especially across two suits) are great starting hands for Omaha. It means you have the chance of nailing straights and flushes when the community cards are revealed.
If you have a hand like K-K-9-4 you might be delighted by the pair of kings. But in order for this hand to win at the end, it will likely need to improve with another king.
Play Omaha Poker with Unibet
Here at Unibet we’ve developed an excellent poker suite so you can bet online and play Omaha Poker wherever and whenever suits you. Our poker suite offers a wide range of games so you can pick the one that suits you.
Most poker players in the online betting community compete on tables against other players. Here, you select the table you want to join, which is usually the one with a maximum stake you are comfortable with. If you’re new to the game, choose a low maximum bet in order to get to grips with the game more easily.
We also offer Omaha Poker tournaments, where you can compete with hundreds of players online. There is often a buy in for these tournaments as the cash prize pots can be huge. In Omaha Poker tournaments, you will be seated on a table and will have to win the table — or earn a high amount of chips — in order to move into other rounds.