- Omaha High - Players and Cards - Deal and Betting - Showdown - Variations
- Five Card Omaha - Six-Card Omaha
Pot Limit Omaha Poker - A player can bet what is in the pot (i.e. ₹100 into a ₹100 pot). This is the most popular form of Omaha Poker. No Limit Omaha Poker - A player can bet any amount, up to all of their chips. Fixed Limit Omaha Poker - There is a specific betting limit applied in each game and on each round of. Omaha Rules Each player is dealt four cards face down, as opposed to the two cards that are dealt in Texas Hold'em. Five community cards are then dealt. The second noticeable difference from Texas Hold'em is the fact that the players must choose two of their four cards. O8 Poker is dedicated to Omaha Hi/Lo 8 or better, giving rules and advice, offering a personal coaching service, and providing brief reviews of some sites where it can be played online. Five Card Omaha. This is exactly like normal Omaha except that each player is dealt five private cards.
Omaha is a fairly recent poker variant. It seems that it was first introduced in the 1980's, but it quickly achieved great popularity among casino and tournament players. In Omaha, each player receives four private cards and there are five community cards on the table. In the showdown exactly two private cards together with three community cards must be used to make the player's best hand.
This page assumes some familiarity with the general rules and terminology of poker. See the poker rules page for an introduction to these, and the poker betting and poker hand ranking pages for further details.
Players and Cards
From two to ten players can take part. A standard international 52-card pack is used.
The Deal and Betting
Omaha is usually played with no ante, but with blinds. When there are more than two players, the player to dealer's left places a small blind, and the next player to the left a big blind. The big blind is equal to the minimum bet and the small blind is typically half that amount. When there are only two players (a 'heads-up' game), the dealer places the small blind and the non-dealer the big blind. Omaha High is often played with a pot limit betting structure, though other limits are possible - see betting limits for details. 'Pot Limit Omaha' is often abbreviated to PLO.
The cards are shuffled and cut, the dealer 'burns' one card and then deals the cards one at a time face down until each player has four cards. These are known as the player's hole cards or pocket cards. Players may look at their four hole cards and must not show them to any other player.
The first betting round is begun by the player to the left of the big blind. The blinds count as bets, so the small blind need only pay the difference between the blinds to call. The big blind player acts last and is allowed to raise, even if the other active players have all called.
After the first betting round the dealer burns one card and deals three cards face up to the table. These three cards are known as the flop. There is then a second betting round begun by the first active player to the left of the dealer seat.
When the second betting round is complete, the dealer burns a card and then deals one card face up to the table. This card is known as the turn or fourth street. There is then a third betting round, again begun by the first active player to the left of the dealer seat.
After the third betting round the dealer burns another card and deals one more card face up - the river or fifth street. There is fourth and final round of betting before the showdown, again begun by the first active player to the left of the dealer seat.
Active players show all four of their cards in clockwise order, beginning with the who was the last to bet or raise in the final betting round. If everyone checked in the final betting round, the first active player to the left of the dealer seat is the first to show. See the betting and showdown page for further details.
Each player makes the highest possible five-card poker hand using exactly two of their own cards with exactly three of the face-up table cards, which are known as the board.
Omaha Rules Poker
- For a hand to be considered for winning the pot, the player must show all four hole cards, even though only two of them are used to make the best hand.
- The cards speak for themselves: the best hand is entitled to win the pot if shown, even if the owner does not realise that it is the best hand.
- As always, poker hands consist of just five cards. The two unused hole cards and two unused board cards have no bearing on whether one hand is better than another.
The Swedish variant Sviten Special is described on a separate page.
Omaha High-Low 8 or Better
Omaha is very often played in such a way that the pot is split between the players with the highest and lowest hands. Since a low hand has to have no card higher than 8 to win its share of the pot, the game is called Omaha High-Low Eight or Better or Omaha/8 for short. This is commonly played as a fixed limit game. The deal is the same as in Omaha High, described above, but with fixed limits the size of the bet doubles after the turn card is dealt, so that the third and fourth betting rounds are played with big bets.
At the showdown, each active player makes their highest hand and their lowest hand. Each of these hands must use exactly two hole cards (but not necessarily the same two cards for high and for low) and exactly three board cards (but not necessarily the same three). When making a low hand, the five cards must all be of different ranks, the aces count as low, straights and flushes do not count, and no card can be higher than an 8. So the best low hand is A-2-3-4-5 and the worst is 8-7-6-5-4. Cards are compared from the top down, so 7-5-4-3-2 is better than 7-6-3-2-A because the 5 is lower than the 6.
In this game the cards speak for themselves. This is important because some hands can be quite confusing to read. In a formal game the non-playing dealer will read the hands and tell the players what they have, but in any case it is the duty of all players to try to ensure that the the highest and lowest hands are correctly identified, and to speak up if any hand is wrongly evaluated.
This player has a club flush A-8-6-4-2 for high (not a full house, which would use three hole cards). The low hand is 6-4-3-2-A using the 2 and either a 6 or the 4 from the the player's hand.
The pot is split equally between the highest hand and the lowest hand. If players tie for highest or for lowest, that half of the pot is divided equally between them. If none of the active players qualifies for low (which will automatically be the case if there are not three different cards lower than 9 on the board), then the player with the highest hand wins the whole pot.
O8 Poker is dedicated to Omaha Hi/Lo 8 or better, giving rules and advice, offering a personal coaching service, and providing brief reviews of some sites where it can be played online.
Five Card Omaha
This is exactly like normal Omaha except that each player is dealt five private cards. As in four-card Omaha, hands are formed of exactly two private cards with exactly three board cards. There are five-card versions of Omaha High and of Omaha/8. These games, and the six-card game below, are sometimes known as Big O.
Six Card Omaha
This is the same as normal Omaha except that each player is dealt six private cards. As usual, hands must use exactly two private cards and three board cards.
This variant is popular in France and has spread to other parts of Europe, including the UK. Five hole cards are dealt to each player and in addition, one card is dealt face up to the table before the first betting round. After the first betting round a card is burned and two more are dealt face up to the table to complete the three-card flop, and there is a second betting round. Then as in normal Omaha a fourth table card (the turn) is dealt face up followed by a third betting round, and a fifth table card (the river) is dealt, followed by a final betting round. In the showdown, players must use exactly two of their five hole cards together with exactly three of the five table cards to make their hand, and the best hand wins the pot.
This is a Pot Limit Omaha (PLO) variant that has been played several times in the Norwegian Poker Championship week in Dublin, Ireland. Before each deal the player holding the dealer button rolls a 6-sided die. The result of the roll determines how many private cards will be dealt to each player and whether the game will be High or High-Low 8 or Better.
|Die Roll||Cards per player||Game type|
In tournamentsthe game is often listed as 'Binglao 6 max' which probably means that not more than 6 players are allowed at a table, though it would in fact be possible for 7 people to play without running out of cards.
Introduction to Omaha
In Omaha, each player recieves 4 hole cards and everyone shares 5 community cards, similar to Texas Hold'em. The catch is that you must use exactly 2 cards from your hand and 3 cards from the board to make your 5-card poker hand. In general the winning hands in Omaha are much better than the winning hands in Texas Hold'em.
When you are first playing Omaha, you should make sure you are actually using 2 cards from your hand, and not 3 or 1.
Omaha is similar to Texas Hold'em. The difference is that the hands in Omaha are usually much better, since you get to choose from 9 cards total.
The five cards on the table are community cards. Your hand is formed by taking exactly two hole cards and exactly three community cards, and forming the best poker hand possible. But remember, all the players have access to the community cards. When played for money, there is a round of betting after a round of cards is dealt (so four rounds of betting in total).
In this example, you have a straight flush, because you can use the Q 9 8 on the board with the J 10 in your hand.
In this example, you have two pairs, Kings over Tens. Note that you cannot use all three Kings in your hand, since you must use exactly two hole cards.
In this example, you have trip Tens. You cannot use your Ace with the Ace on the board to make a full house, because you must use exactly three community cards. (You would pick the three tens). Your final poker hand is TTTAK.
Why Play Omaha?
Omaha is not as popular as Texas Hold'em but the games are there if you look for them. Many good Hold'em players want to try out Omaha and are unfamiliar with the game, but they may still play at high limits because they are good at Hold'em. These players generally play too loose after the flop. In hold'em, two pair is usually a very strong hand. In Omaha, it can often cost you a fortune. This is because you'll rarely get paid off big when holding two pair but will often wind up paying off someone else with a higher two pair, set, straight or flush.
Also, Omaha is much more of a technical game because it is easy to see what the best hand is, since usually there is a flush or a straight on board and often somebody has one. By 'technical' I don't mean that Omaha is a more complex game. On the contrary, it can be simpler, because it is more a game of straightforward probabilities, whereas the psychological element in Texas Hold'em is much stronger. Bluffing is not as big of an element in Omaha especially in long-handed games where there are several players in each pot.
Low Limit Omaha Strategy
At the low-limit Omaha games, there are a lot of opportunities if you have the patience. Many of these games are filled with players who are playing far too loose because everyone thinks that their two-pair is a great hand. The best strategy is to play hands that do well in multi-way pots and bet hard when you have the nuts. Please note: this article is intended for beginners playing low-limit Omaha games where the play tends to be loose and passive. It is not intended for more serious Omaha games.
There is another version of Omaha called Omaha hi-lo. In this game the high hand and low hand split the pot. This article will not discuss the hi-lo version; I will only talk about Omaha hi.
In longhanded Omaha there really isn't any such thing as a 'dominant hand' preflop. You could get two Aces and two Kings and still easily get beat. However, that isn't to say that you should call to the flop with just anything. You should still play good hands, although now there are many types of good hands, hands that become dominant after the flop hits. So, although some hands are better than others, the implied odds will have a huge effect on what hands you are playing in hyper-loose environment of low-limit Omaha.
In hold'em, the difference between a good starting hand and a mediocre starting hand is huge. In Omaha, starting hands are not as important. A hand like A A K 4 is only a 58% favorite against a hand like 8 6 5 4.
The best starting hands in low-limit Omaha are hands where you hit two pair and your draw, for example K Q J 10. (A great flop would be Q J 3.) Those hands are a bit rare, so another good hand in a loose game would just be a hand with a lot of drawing possibilities. If you are expecting a multi-way pot, then it is important to be drawing to the nuts. In other words, you want to draw to an Ace-high flush, not a 9-high flush. Also, you don't want to draw toward straights if you have low cards and are likely to end up at the low end of the straight.
You may wish to simply call preflop with drawing hands so as to not scare away the loose-passive players. This way you also risk less if you don't hit your draw. However, if you hold a hand which has strength in high cards, such as A A K J, then you should raise. You should also raise with several drawing possibilities to build up the pot, if you feel that people are staying in too much for big pots.
Hands with only a high pair can sometimes be played. Play AAxx, KKxx definitely; with AAxx you should raise if you think you can knock people out and get the hand heads-up or 3-way. Hands like QQxx and JJxx aren't so great in Omaha. In most cases, you'll need to make a set with your high pair in order to win the pot. With high pairs you really want to hit a high full house, and rob someone who thinks their lower full house is the high-hand. The main reason high pairs are much less valuable than in Texas Hold'em is because having an Overpair on the flop is usually worthless in Omaha. Most likely someone else flopped two-pair. The more people in the hand, the more likely it is your overpair is dominated.
In general, you want to fold any hand unless you have top 2 pair or a draw to the nuts or near-nuts (for example a King-high flush). These requirements can be relaxed a bit if the game is shorthanded: you can draw to slightly lower straights and flushes. However, you still don't want to be calling with one pair.
If there is a pair on board and you don't have trips, then do not draw. Most likely someone has the trips and you're unlikely to semi-bluff people out of the pot. If you call and hit your draw, you may be beat by a full house!
Semi-bluffs are only useful if you can think you can win outright. However, in many loose low-limit games you will get called to showdown by multiple players. In this case, you don't want to semi-bluff that much. Maybe throw in one or two for deception, but try to avoid it otherwise.
Two pair and sets are troublesome if there is a draw on board. With several people in hand, there may be so many outs against you that you will probably lose the hand! Try to go for a check-raise and punish people for drawing. However, be prepared to fold at the turn if a draw (or two!) hits and you think you are beat. If you hit your full house, you can try slowplaying (if you have the nut full house) and hope someone hits their straight or flush. However, don't overdo the slowplay, you should only do it if you really can't be hurt by the river card, and be more inclined to slowplay if the opponents fall for it often and if you have position. If you find your opponents to be call-stations then go ahead and bet on the turn anyway. If your opponents are new at Omaha and they think their Ace-flush is the nut hand when the board is paired, you don't want to slowplay. Bad players cap out against you on the turn and river despite the full house possibility showing!
However, please note that full house is not even guaranteed to be high-hand. It is quite common to see one full house beat by another at an Omaha game. Generally, you have a low full house if your set is lower than the board pair, and you are probably safe to win if your set is higher than the board pair. The best way to tell if your full house is the best hand is by paying attention to your opponents betting sequence. With a low full house, you may consider trying to encourage a bluff by checking and calling instead of betting out.
If you hit your flush or straight by the turn you definitely should bet hard, and even check-raise if you are certain someone will bet (but just bet outright if you have any doubt). There could easily be a set or two pair out against you and they could make their full house on the river. Make sure they don't get a free card here.
Often times the board will have no straight or flush showing and you think your two pair or set is the high hand. Then a scare card will hit on the river. Bingo questions for students. If this happens, you may want to check down the river. After all, if you get check-raised, you are doubling the amount of money you have put into the hand. It depends on how many opponents are still in the hand and how they played it, but in a multi-way pot, checking is usually the right move. However, if your opponent rarely check-raises, or if he has played the hand like he had two pair, then you may consider betting.
If you are on the other side of the coin, and you hit your hand on the river, you may want to bet out instead of check-raising, because your opponent may check it down. I usually mix-up whether I bet or check-raise in that situation, depending on what I think my opponent has, but also to add deception and uncertainty. It is important to make your opponents fear the check-raise so that they are afraid to bet on the river, letting you see some showdowns more cheaply.
Introduction to Pot Limit Omaha Hi
Pot-Limit Omaha is a unique game. It is one of the few poker games that is much more widely played in Europe than in North America. Pot-Limit Omaha also is a game that tends to have huge swings. Even a poor player can be lucky one night and win almost all of the chips at the table in a game of Pot-Limit Omaha. It is also one of the few games that tends to be associated with higher stakes. While there are many low- and mid-stakes Pot-Limit Omaha games it is a very popular game in the high stakes arena.
This article is intended to help beginners learn Pot-Limit Omaha. This is NOT intended for people planning on playing the higher-stakes games where psychological factors are in play a lot more than they are at lower stakes.
Pot-Limit Omaha is very different from Hold'em. In Hold'em, people commonly call down with second best hands. This is because people rarely hold the nuts in Hold'em. If someone always folded their non-nut hands in Texas Hold'em, they would be a guaranteed loser in the long run. One must call or bet with imperfect hands such as top pair or bottom set.
However, frequently calling with fragile holdings is a recipe for disaster in Pot-Limit Omaha. Players often hold the nuts when playing Omaha. Thus, a dream for any Omaha player is to be able to sell their nut hands to players who will call them down with hands that have little chance at improving. If five people see a flop that is Q 10 9, a player with A A Q J should fold their hand to a strong bet. There's little to no chance their aces are the best hand or will hold even if they were the best hand. Their chances of hitting the nut straight are slim and is vulnerable to a flush or full house re-draw.
Pot-Limit Omaha centers on two things: building the nut hand, and position. The first point is obvious. The hands are strong in Pot-Limit Omaha, so you want to be able to hold the best hand. Most Pot-Limit Omaha games do not go to a showdown. When they do, more than likely one player has the nuts or was drawing to the nuts. When two players have strong made hands against each other, generally one has the nut hand or second-nut and the other player also has a near nut hand. An example would be a board with AQ554. One player could have AAxx and the other player might have QQxx. If a player called a huge bet on this board with 23xx, they would be a fool. While this straight would be a strong hand in Hold'em, it would be a very weak hand for this board in Omaha.
Omaha's emphasis on building the nut hand greatly changes starting hand selection. In order to hit the nuts or near nuts, you need hands that coordinate well with themselves. When the board comes, you want to be able to build the nuts in multiple ways. You want to be able to build nut straights, nut flushes, and big full houses. This way, even if your straight is now vulnerable to a flush, you might also have a full house draw. You do not want hands that will be vulnerable to becoming the second best hand. If a hand is ill-coordinated, there is a good chance it will hit the flop decently. However, it could easily be outdrawn on further streets, and you will have little chance of redrawing again to the best hand. So when evaluating your preflop Omaha hand, here are some tips:
Another central concept to Pot-Limit Omaha is position. Omaha is all about position. There are several reasons for this. First, free cards are death in Omaha. If you are in early position, you will almost always have to bet your hand when you flop the nuts. For example, if the board is 7 6 5 and you hold A 9 9 8, you definitely have to bet. Someone could too easily draw to a full house, flush, or perhaps even a higher straight. Because of this, people in early positions tend to give away their hands. People in late position can much more easily bluff at pots because they can be fairly certain that people in early posiitons do not have a hand, and people in late position can sometimes earn themselves extremely valuable free cards.
Omaha Hi/Lo Strategy
Omaha Hi/Lo (8 or better) is currently the most popular split-pot poker game in the world. It is important to understand the rules of Omaha before playing Omaha Hi/Lo. While Omaha is very similar to Texas Hold'em, many new Omaha players get confused by the 'must use two hole cards and only two hole cards' rule.
The rules for Omaha Hi/Lo are the same as the rules for Omaha Hi, except that the pot is split between the high and and the low hand. The low hand cannot have a card higher than 8. If there is no legal low hand, the entire pot goes to the highest hand. So the only way a low hand is possible is if the board contains unique cards 8 or lower (Ace counts as low). If the board is K 4 8 9 10, no low hand is possible. If the board is Q 2 7 6 9, a low hand is possible and Ace-Three would be the 'nut low'.
The goal in Omaha Hi/Lo is to scoop the entire pot. Although winning half of the pot is better than nothing, large profits at this game come from winning the entire pot. Effectively scooping pots requires understanding how to win the low side of the pot, as well as what hands work as quality starting hands.
For many new players, the most confusing part of Omaha Hi/Lo is determining the nut-low. In this game, straights and flushes do not affect the low. Thus, the best possible low hand is a wheel (5432A). Furthermore, it is important to remember that the low hands are counted from the top down. A player with 8432A (an 8 low) would lose to a player with 76543 (a 7 low). This surprises most players who instinctively think that 8432A wins due to the ace as the lowest card.
If there is no possible low hand (or if no one holds a low hand), then the person with the best high hand wins the entire pot. Let's look at a few hand examples to better understand some low situations.
This is a split pot. Player #1 wins the high side of the pot with AAA33, and Player #2 wins the low side of the pot with 6432A. In this instance, Player #2 has the nut low which means no one could possibly beat Player #2 for the low, only tie. Player #1's low is 8653A. Player #1 would use A5 from his hand and 368 from the board (he also could use 35 from his hand and A68 from the board).
The flop (754) gave Player #1 (who holds A2) the nut-low. However, on the turn, Player #1's nut-low was 'counterfeited.' This happened when an ace appeared on the turn, which gave all players the opportunity to have an ace for a low. Now, Player #2 has 5432A for a low, which beats Player #1's 7542A. So in this example, Player #2's dream comes true, and he 'scoops' the entire pot.
First, notice that the flop put Player #2 in big trouble after he flopped the second-nut straight (with his J7). Player #1 flopped the nut straight (with his QJ), which put him in position to win a nice pot off of Player #2.
However, the turn and river bail out Player #2 and allow him to win half of the pot at the showdown. In conjunction with the board's 854, Player #2 was able to make a low hand with his 72 to win half the pot. Sometimes a miracle low is what can save a player from losing a lot of money with a bad high. This example illustrates the importance of holding two cards to a low (something that Player #1 did not have with a deceitfully weak AKQJ).
Player #1 scoops the entire pot with his full house (KKQQQ). There is no low hand. There are only two low cards on the board, so it is impossible to make a low hand (remember: you must always use three cards from the board!) While it seems that Player #2 has an amazing low hand, he in fact holds no low at all.
In Omaha Hi/Lo, it is important to hold a strong starting hand. Players need to have a hand that is capable of scooping the entire pot. This means hands that work great in Omaha hi (such as AKQJ or JT98) lose a lot of value in Hi/Lo due to their inability to make a low.
In general, the tightest player at any Omaha Hi/Lo table is likely to be a winning player. Starting hand selection is so critical that demonstrating patience is perhaps the single most important skill to have. Hands that may seem tempting to play (such as A49T) should be folded due to their propensity for making a non-nut low.
The best starting hand in Omaha Hi/Lo is AA23 double-suited. Other very playable hands include (but are not limited to): A234, AAxx, A2xx, A345, A36K, 2345, KQ23. Most winning Omaha Hi/Lo players are very careful about the number of A3xx hands they play. This hand is not nearly as good as it looks, and can often lead to several lost bets after making the second-nut low.
Omaha Rules Of Play
It is important to note the importance of the ace in Omaha Hi/Lo. An ace works as the best card on both ends of the pot. It is the key card in making a nut low, and is also a very important card to have in the high side of the pot for its value as a kicker. Some very famous poker players (Scotty Nguyen for example) have a theory that no Omaha Hi/Lo hand is playable unless it has an ace. Obviously this strategy is a little extreme. But for new players, it may be wise to develop a habit of folding most hands that do not contain an ace.
Position is just as important in Omaha Hi/Lo as it is in Texas hold'em. This means that borderline hands (such as JJ24) should only be played in late position in an un-raised pot.
Most of the time, it is a poor decision for a player to draw to a low after the flop unless they already have the best four to a low. For example, after a flop of A5K, one should not draw for the low unless they are holding 23xx in the pocket. A lot of the profit in playing Omaha Hi/Lo comes from winning chips off of weak players who draw to non-nut lows. Drawing to a low that isn't the nut-low is almost a guaranteed way to lose in Omaha Hi/Lo.
Another common losing mistake in Omaha Hi/Lo is drawing to a running low. For example, most players holding A2xx enter the pot expecting to make the nut-low. However, if the flop comes 8KQ, these players are now reliant on completing a running low-draw just to win half of the pot. These players should fold to a bet. It is a bad move to purposefully draw to two cards for a low.
Omaha Rules Of Play
Being 'quartered' is a very key concept in Omaha Hi/Lo. Let's look a hand example of where a player only wins a quarter of the pot:
Omaha Rules For Covid
Notice that both players have used their ace-threes to make the nut-low. This means the low-pot is split between the two players. However, on the high side, Player #1 has a pair of kings which beats Player #2's ace high.
Therefore, Player #1 gets 50% of the pot for making the best hi hand, as well as an additional 25% of the pot for his share of the low pot. Player #1 has 'quartered' Player #2 by winning 75% of the pot. Quartering opponents is a very important ingredient in becoming a winning Omaha Hi/Lo player.
Pot Limit Omaha Rules
Of even more importance is the ability to keep the pot small when you realize that you may be quartered. If you are Player #2 in this example, you need to understand that you may stand to only win 25% of the pot. Thus, when Player #1 bets, do not raise and reraise with your nut-low. Just call.