Omaha poker is rapidly gaining fans worldwide and is now easily the second-most played poker variation in the world.
Omaha poker is an exciting game derived from Texas Hold’em. Each player is dealt four private cards (‘hole cards’) which belong only to that player. Five community cards are dealt face-up on the ‘board’. In Omaha games, all players use exactly three of the community cards together with exactly two of their hole cards to make the best five-card poker hand. No more, and no less.
Types of Omaha Poker Games
- 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 betting.
Below is a general explanation on how to play Omaha poker. The basic rules for all Omaha variants are the same, with the exception of the different betting structures between them. More details on these different betting structures follow.
How to Play Omaha Poker
In Pot Limit and No Limit Omaha games, the games are referred to by the size of their blinds (for example, a $1/$2 Omaha game has a small blind of $1 and a big blind of $2).
Betting then commences from the player to the left of the big blind.
In Fixed Limit Omaha games, the big blind is the same as the small bet, and the small blind is typically half of the size of the big blind, but may be larger depending on the stakes. For example, in a $2/$4 Limit game the small blind is $1 and the big blind is $2. In a $15/$30 Limit game, the small blind is $10 and the big blind is $15.
Now, each player is dealt their four hole cards. Betting action proceeds clockwise around the table, starting with the player ‘under the gun’ (immediately clockwise from the big blind).
After seeing his or her hole cards, each player now has the option to play his or her hand by calling or raising the big blind. The action begins to the left of the big blind, which is considered a ‘live’ bet on this round. That player has the option to fold, call or raise. For example, if the big blind was $2, it would cost $2 to call, or at least $4 to raise. Action then proceeds clockwise around the table.
Note: The betting structure varies with different variations of the game. Explanations of the betting action in Limit Omaha, No Limit Omaha, and Pot Limit Omaha can be found below.
Betting continues on each betting round until all active players (who have not folded) have placed equal bets in the pot.
After the first round of betting is complete, the ‘flop’ is dealt face-up on the board. The flop is the first three community cards available to all active players. Play begins with the active player immediately clockwise from the button. Another round of betting ensues. In Fixed Limit Omaha, all bets and raises occur in increments of the small bet (for example, $2 in a $2/$4 game).
When betting action is completed for the flop round, the ‘turn’ is dealt face-up on the board. The turn is the fourth community card in an Omaha game. Play begins with the active player immediately clockwise from the button. Another round of betting ensues. In Fixed Limit Omaha, bets and raises on the turn are in increments of the big bet (for example, $4 in a $2/$4 game).
When betting action is completed for the turn round, the ‘river’ is dealt face-up on the board. The river is the fifth and final community card in Omaha poker. The final round of betting begins with the active player immediately clockwise from the button.
If there is more than one remaining player when the final betting round is complete, the last person to bet or raise shows their cards, unless there was no bet on the final round in which case the player immediately clockwise from the button shows their cards first. The player with the best five-card hand wins the pot. Remember: in Omaha, players must use two and only two of their four hole cards in combination with exactly three of the cards from the board. In the event of identical hands, the pot will be equally divided between the players with the best hands.
After the pot is awarded, a new Omaha poker game is ready to be played. The button now moves clockwise to the next player.
Pot Limit, No Limit, Fixed Limit Omaha
Omaha rules remain the same for Fixed Limit, No Limit and Pot Limit poker games, with a few exceptions:
- Pot Limit OmahaThe minimum bet in Pot Limit Omaha is the same as the size of the big blind, but players can always bet up to the size of the pot.Minimum raise: The raise amount must be at least as much as the previous bet or raise in the same round. As an example, if the first player to act bets $5 then the second player must raise a minimum of $5 (total bet of $10).Maximum raise: The size of the pot, which is defined as the total of the active pot, plus all bets on the table, plus the amount the active player must first call before raising.Example: If the size of the pot is $100, and there is no previous action on a particular betting round, a player may bet a maximum of $100. After that bet, the action moves to the next player clockwise. That player can either fold, call $100, or raise any amount between the minimum ($100 more) and the maximum. The maximum bet in this case is $400 – the raiser would first call $100, bringing the pot size to $300, and then raise $300 more, making a total bet of $400.In Pot Limit Omaha, there is no ‘cap’ on the number of raises allowed.
- No Limit OmahaThe minimum bet in No Limit Omaha is the same as the size of the big blind, but players can always bet as much more as they want, up to all of their chips.Minimum raise: In No Limit Omaha, the raise amount must be at least as much as the previous bet or raise in the same round. As an example, if the first player to act bets $5 then the second player must raise a minimum of $5 (total bet of $10).Maximum raise: The size of your stack (your chips on the table).In No Limit Omaha, there is no ‘cap’ on the number of raises allowed.
- Fixed Limit OmahaBetting in Fixed Limit Omaha is in pre-determined, structured amounts. Pre-flop and on the flop, all bets and raises are of the same amount as the big blind. On the turn and the river, the size of all bets and raises doubles. In Limit Omaha, up to four bets are allowed per player during each betting round. This includes a (1) bet, (2) raise, (3) re-raise, and (4) cap (final raise).