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Learning Omaha

How to play Omaha poker

Learning Omaha poker - what you need to know to learn omaha 
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For those of you who haven’t played Omaha yet, here’s a useful walk-through. The game has basically grown out of Texas Hold’em and the rules are therefore more or less the same. There are two main differences that you need to be aware of to learn Omaha. Starting with the player on the left of the rotating dealer button, all players at the table are dealt four face down cards. These are the hole cards. In Texas Hold’em only two hole cards are dealt. In Omaha, as with Hold’em, the rest of the cards are dealt face up at the table centre and are known as community cards. Three face up cards are dealt at the flop as with Hold’em, followed by a fourth card (the “turn”) and a fifth (known as the “river”) All Hold’em players are familiar with that process. The main point to keep in mind with Omaha is that you have to compile your best possible five card hand by using two of your four hole cards and three of the available community. You have no choice. You MUST use two of your hole cards. In Hold’em if there were four spades among the community cards and you were holding a high spade as one of your hole cards you would have a flush. In Omaha, you would not. If you had only one spade in your four hole cards you would only be able to use three of the spades on the board, not enough to give you a flush if your other three hole cards were from different suits. The excitement with Omaha comes from the fact that you are making your hand selection by combining nine cards (four hole cards and five on the board). In Hold’em you have to compile your hand from just a seven card choice (two hole cards and five on the board). This produces bigger and more powerful hands in Omaha but of course the same is true for your opposition. In Texas Hold’em you will often see three same-suited cards on the board and still nobody at the table makes the five card flush. In Omaha this is very unlikely. As Omaha players have four hole cards to choose from the flush is almost certainly out there if there’s more than four or five players at your table. All this brings about the first big realisation you need to absorb when making the transition from Hold’em to Omaha. You must value the hands differently. A flush or a straight in Texas Hold’em is a premium hand. In Omaha it MIGHT be but there could be others out there.

Learning to play Omaha at:

If after the flop you have a premium hand or a likely draw to a premium hand by the turn or the river, you should go for it. Your chances of drawing to a straight or a flush in Omaha are much better than in Hold’em. If you have two high pair: Let’s say tens or jacks or above, following the flop, you should also go for it as your chances for a Full House by the river are good. Try the Omaha tutorial at for everything you need to know.

See also: Switch mindset when switching from texas hold'em to omaha.

ALL THE ACES poker column:
October 27, 2005: 
Learning Omaha Poker