Omaha poker is very similar to Texas holdem. The only real difference between the two games is that in omaha you’re dealt 4 hole cards instead of two (in holdem). So if you’re familiar with one game, you pretty much know how to play the other.
The rest of this page will explain how to play omaha poker. I’ll show you how to win, what a hand looks like from start to finish, the basic rules and what hands beat what in omaha.
The Objective (How You Win)
Your objective in omaha is to win. You win in omaha by doing one of two things:
- All the other players fold, leaving you as the only player left in the hand. This can be during any betting round.
- You have the best 5-card poker hand at showdown.
Lets look at an example hand of omaha poker.
A Hand of Omaha Poker
Here’s how a hand of omaha would look if it was played from start to finish. If specific blinds are used, they will be $2 for the small blind and $4 for the big blind.
The hand starts with the blinds being posted. The first player to the left of the dealer button (known as the small blind) posts the small blind. In a 2/4 game the small blind would post $2. The big blind, the player two seats to the left of the dealer button (one seat to the left of small blind) will post the big blind, or $4.
Once the blinds have been posted, each player will be dealt 4 cards, one at a time, starting with the small blind and going around the table clockwise until each player has received all of their cards.
After each player has received their cards, the first betting round will start. The betting will start with the player to the immediate left of the big blind (3 seats to the left of the dealer button).
During the betting round each player has the option to:
- Call – Either call the big blind ($4) or the last player’s raise.
Action will continue around the table until each player has had the chance to act.
If no one raises preflop, the small blind will only have to post the difference between the small blind and big blind, and the big blind will have the option to raise, or check and see a free flop.
The flop is the first 3 community cards dealt that all players get to use to make their 5-card poker hands.
Once the flop is dealt, another betting round will begin. The betting action will start with the first player (still in the hand) to the left of the dealer button. During the betting round each player will have the option to:
- Check – Pass on betting. This option is only available if no one has raised the pot.
- Call – If someone has raised the pot.
Action continues clockwise around the table until each player has acted. If two or more players are remaining, then there will be a turn.
The turn is the 4th community card. Once dealt, there will be another round of betting which is identical to the flop.
The River and Showdown
The river is the 5th and last community card dealt. Afterwards there will be another round of betting.
After the round of betting is over, there will be a showdown if there are 2 or more players still left in the hand. During the showdown each player will flip over their hand so that a winner can be determined.
The first player to flip over his/her hand will be determined by the last betting round. If the betting round went un-raised, then the first player to the left of the dealer will flip over their hand. If the pot was raised, then the last player to raise will be the first to show their hand.
The action will go around the table until each player has shown or mucked their hand. The player with the best 5-card poker hand will win the pot.
Then the blinds will move one seat to the left, the blinds will be posted, new hole cards dealt and a new hand of omaha will begin.
There are a number of rules to be aware of while playing omaha:
- 2 of your 4 hole cards must be used in your 5-card hand.
- Minimum raise is the size of the big blind. In other words, with 2/4 blinds, your minimum raise must be to 8.
- If there is a raise in front of you, your minimum re-raise must be double that. For example, if someone raised to 12, your raise would have to be at least 24.
- Check raising is (usually) permitted.
- The amount you can bet will depend on the format you’re playing. Omaha is most commonly played in the pot limit format. But it’s played in the fixed and no limit formats too. So you’ll want to be familiar with those particular betting formats before sitting down.
I’ll add more rules as I think of them.
What Hands Win in Omaha Hi
Omaha (Hi) uses the standard hand rankings chart to determine the winning hand. Here are the winning hands in omaha in order from best to worst:
- Royal Flush
- Straight Flush
- Full House
- 2 Pair
- 1 Pair
- High Card
Suits do not break ties. Tied hands will split the pot.