While Texas Holdem is the most popular form of poker in the world, the game that is right behind Holdem in popularity is Omaha. Omaha poker, especially pot-limit Omaha, is considered the most popular game in Europe and many times eclipses Holdem in pot size. In fact, if you watch high stakes online cash games, you will notice that the biggest game are very Omaha heavy. Today, let’s take a look at how to play Omaha poker.
Omaha is very similar to Texas Holdem with two major exceptions. First, each player is dealt two cards. Next, the object of the game is to make the best five card hand using two cards in your hand and three on the board. It is a requirement that you use two cards from your hand. This differs from Texas Holdem where you are not required to play your hole cards. In some cases, the board will play in Holdem. That will never happen in Omaha.
To start the game, players put up blinds in the same fashion as players do in Texas Holdem. The two players to the left of the dealer button put up a blind. The first player puts up a small blind, and the 2nd player the big blind. Next, each player is dealt four cards face down. A round of betting is commenced with the players having to at least call the big blind to stay in the hand. If a pot is not raised by the time action is to the big blind, they have the option to raise.
After the first round of betting is completed, a flop of three community cards in the center of the table is dealt. This is just like Texas Holdem. A round of betting commences and once completed, the turn is dealt. A third round of betting kicks off and when completed, the river card is dealt. One last round of betting takes place and the remaining plays show their hands. The player with the best five card hand wins the pot. Again, the player must use two cards from his hand and three on the table to make their hand.
Omaha Poker tends to be much more action packed than Texas Holdem. The obvious reason is due to the additional possibilities given by the two additional hole cards. With so many cards out amongst players, the number of hands that can be made goes up. In Holdem, many players will miss the flop. This isn’t the case in Omaha. If someone hasn’t flopped a hand, they have at least flopped some type of a draw.
Omaha Poker is a game where high cards and big draws are key. When you are playing Omaha, drawing hands tend to play stronger than big pairs. A hand such as Q-J-10-9 will play a lot better than A-A-6-6 since it has so many possibilities. In fact, there are scenarios that can occur where a player can flop the nut set but be an underdog to win the hand.
The best hands in Omaha are four cards that work well together. Four straight cards, four straight cards with two of the same suit. Two large pairs, such as A-A-K-K are also very strong. You also need to pay close attention to the board in this game. If the board pairs, the possibility of a full house increases. When there are three of one suit on the board, there will be a higher chance of a flush than in Holdem.
The main version of Omaha Poker that you will find in most casinos is Pot Limit Omaha. This is considered the most popular game in Europe. In PLO, a player may bet up to the size of the pot at any time. While this does not sound as exciting as being able to push all-in in Holdem, when you add in the fact that many players will push and call with big drawing hands, the amount of money in the pot can easily eclipse Holdem games.
Omaha games are easy to find online as well. Every poker site you can think of will spread Omaha and at various limits. While you are learning how to play Omaha poker, you will want to stick with the lower limits, or even with limit Omaha while you are learning the game. Limit Omaha will lessen the cost of big drawing hands. (Of course, it will also limit your winning when you hit those big hands.)
If you are an action junkie, then you may want to take a look at Omaha Poker. With numerous possibilities each hand, this game is made for the gambler that likes to see flops and chase draws. The game also rewards the patient player who likes to play a tight aggressive game. Take the time to learn how to play Omaha and you might just find yourself you new favorite poker game.