Poker - Omaha Poker Rules, Strategy & How to Play
game basics and strategies for how to play Omaha Poker shown
here are those generally agreed to and recommended by the experts
for bet limit games. An understanding of these basics is needed
for all levels of competitive play. Solid intermediate and expert
level poker normally requires study of the advanced game tactics
and significant hours of actual casino or online playing experience.
Omaha Poker - 2 to 10 Players, Rules
hand wins || Players MUST use TWO
of their hole cards combined with three from the board to make
their hands || Ace plays both high
and low for straights || Three raise
limit per round || Cards speak
Distribution and Betting Procedure
$2/$4 Omaha with a double blind.
At casino Omaha tables, a round plastic marker called the dealer "button" is
placed in front of the player who would be dealing if a house dealer
were not provided. The button is moved one seat clockwise after
each game and the card distribution and betting starts to the left
of that position. Each player is dealt four cards face down. Then,
a total of five community cards are dealt face up in the center
of the table in three betting segments (3-1-1). After all the cards
are dealt the players make the best hand that they can by combining
any two of their two hole cards with any three of the five community
cards. Using the illustration above, a player holding a jack and
an eight would end up with the best possible full house, jacks
over eights. However, this good hand can be beaten if another player
is holding the "nut hand" cards of six and seven of hearts
that would make an eight high straight flush.
. . The betting procedure goes like this: Before each player
is dealt four down cards (1.),
the player at the immediate left of the button, called the "Small
Blind" is forced to bet $1 (half the minimum bet). Then
the player to his left and two seats to the left of the button,
called the"Big Blind", is forced to bet $2. Each
player is then dealt a four card hand. Then the player at the
left of the big blind is first to act and he must either call
the big blind's $2 bet, raise, or fold his hand. Continuing
in turn clockwise, all the players around the table either
call, raise or fold. When the betting gets back around to the
small blind, he or she can fold and lose only the half minimum
bet of $1 placed earlier, call the amount necessary to get
up to the betting level or raise $2 if there is a raise left.
The big blind is then the last to act before any cards are
turned up in the middle. The blinds are played in the first
round only( 2.) The
dealer turns three cards up in the center of the table. This
is the "Flop". The player at the left of the button
is then always the first to act. There are no more forced bets
and the players can all check around if they want to. Bets
right after the flop are at the $2 minimum bet level. (3.) Now
comes the "Turn" card followed by more betting that
now goes to the $4 level. (4.) Finally
the last, or "River" card is turned up. The last
$4 betting round takes place. Then the players still in the
contest reveal their hole cards and the highest hand wins the
to Play Omaha
In full ring, limit Omaha, it usually takes the "nut" hand,
or something close to that, to win! . .For our purpose here,
we describe the "nut" as a hand that can only be beaten
by hidden quads and straight flushes. These killer hands are
usually referred to as the "pure" nuts. . . Two pair
and trips don't win very often in this game. You need to shoot
for the nut straight, nut flush, or nut full house most of the
time. . . This is why Omaha players all start with four cards.
Each four card hand contains six Hold'em hands when the
four cards are converted to all possible combinations of two.
ie: ABCD = AB AC AD BC BD CD. (Players must
play two cards from their hands
and three from the board). If you are in a
pot with five other players after
the flop, it is sort of comparable to a Texas Hold'em game against
thirty other players, because each of
your five competitors is holding six Hold'em hands instead of
one. So if you get down to the river
with a very good hand, but one that can be beaten by some other
two card combinations, brace yourself for a loss because they
are likely to be out there somewhere.. . . Your high end straight
on the flop runs into serious problems when the board turns up
three suited cards or a pair. A flush or a full house will usually
pop up to beat you. . . In Omaha, always play for the NUT!
or two good hold'em hands is usually not a very good starting
hand in Omaha but many players can not resist the urge to play
them. With four cards to choose from, these kinds of hands
are easy to get and Omaha games normally have more players
and bigger pots than in Hold'em. The higher payoffs work to
your advantage when you usually start with hands that
contain four cards that all interact with each other to make
about five or six decent Hold'em hands instead
of only one or two. You will see a few exceptions to this here
in the starting hands strategy.
HIGH CARDS - A,
K, Q, J, 10
CARDS - 9,
8, 7, 6
LOW CARDS - 5, 4, 3, 2
SUITED PLAYER HAND (S) - Two of the players four cards
of the same suit.
DOUBLE SUITED PLAYER HAND (DS) - Two of the players cards
of one suit and two of another suit.
ACTIVE SIDECARD -Sidecard that when combined with another
makes two parts of a straight or flush.
NUT HAND - An unbeatable high or low hand. Sometimes
called a "lock".
SET - Three of a kind with two of the three in your
hand. ( Four of a kind split two and two is a "Quad Set")
TRIPS - Three of a kind with all or two of the three
on the board.
RAINBOW - Hand or flop etc. with cards of all different
FLOP, TURN. RIVER - The community cards in the order
of distribution. See top illustration.
FAST PLAY - Bet, raise and re-raise to get as many
other players out as possible.
SLOW PLAY - Just check or call along to keep other
players in the game to increase the pot odds.
CHECK-FOLD - Check when you can and fold if you are
bet into. Gladly accept all free cards offered.
Best Omaha Starting Hand:
starting Play/Fold decisions will involve a quick assessment of
the hand type and the six Hold'em hands in your four card Omaha
hand. The playable starting hands suggested are a good place to
These are not hard and fast rules about what to play or not, but
a generalization of expert opinions and computerized hand value results
that you can use as a guide.
Card Hold'em Hands to Look For in Omaha Hands:
HIGH PAIR - AA, KK, QQ, JJ, 1010
ACE and HIGH CARD SUITED - AK(S), AQ(S), AJ(S), A10(S)
HIGH CARDS SUITED - KQ(S),
KJ(S), K10(S), QJ(S),
PAIRS - 99, 88, 77, 66
HIGH CARDS - AK, AQ, AJ, A10,
KQ, KJ, K10, QJ, Q10, J10
ACE and MIDDLE CARD SUITED - A9(S),
A8(S), A7(S) A6(S)
MIDDLE SUITED CONNECTORS - 10 9(S), 98(S), 87(S), 76(S)
PAIRS - 55, 44,
and LOW CARD SUITED - A5(S),
A4(S), A3(S), A2(S)
ANY TWO CARDS to a STRAIGHT - ie:
10 6, 98, 75, 73, A4 - Note: Most
in this catagory are normally not playable in regular Holdem,
but they do add value in combination Omaha hands.
should be automatically folded without
any further consideration:
Quads - (including) A A A A
Trips - (except A A A with a high side card suited is sometimes
Omaha Starting Hands:
PAIR of ACES - A
A x x
PAIR of KINGS - K
K x x
HIGH PAIR and ACE SUITED - Qh Qs
Ah x .. Jh Js
HIGH PAIR and MIDDLE/LOW PAIR - J J 7 7 .. Q Q 4 4
HIGH PAIR and TWO or more OTHER HANDS - J J 9 7 .. K 10 10
ANY FOUR HIGH CARDS - K Q J 10 .. A K J 10 .. Q Q 10 10 ..
A J J 10 .. (includes two high pair)
THREE HIGH CARDS w ACE SUITED - Ah Qs
10h x .. Ah Ks
THREE HIGH CARDS and ACTIVE SIDECARD - K Q J 8 .. Ah Qs
THREE CARD STRAIGHT w a PAIR - 7 6 5 5 .. 9 8 7 8 .. 6 5
THREE CARD STRAIGHT and an ACE SUITED - 8h 7s
6d Ah ..
Ah 9s 8d 7h
GROUP w TWO GAPS or less - J 10
7 6 ..
8 7 6 5 .. 9 8 5 4.. 9 7 6 4 .. J 10 8 6
Stay aware of the nut
hand possibilities. As
the board develops, make sure that you always
know what the three best hand possibilities are,
and how that might change on the next card.
High pair with an overcard is a good flop in
Hold'em but not in Omaha. In this game you
need to flop two pair, a set, or better.
Usually don't raise before the flop unless
you are holding Aces or Kings and are in position
to narrow the field. Another time to raise is when
you are unraised on the button and have a strong
hand. Try not to let the blinds play bad hands cheap.
Fold your straight or straight draw if that's all
you have and you don't flop an unpaired rainbow. If you do
get the right kind of flop, bet/raise to discourage the back
door flush draws.
Don't over value low pairs. A
pair of fours in your starting hand is only useful if it
flops a set, but then a low set on the flop is not a very
strong hand in Omaha.
Study your opponents, especially when you are not
playing hands and can pay careful attention. Do they find
more hands to play than they fold? Do they bluff? Can they
be bluffed? Do they have any "tells" (give away
mannerisms) that disclose information about their hands etc.
Get caught bluffing once in a while. It is a way to
vary your play and not be too predictable. You win pots that
you don't deserve when your bluff works. You lose a few chips
when it doesn't work but it will get you calls from weaker
hands down the line when you are really strong and need the
the raisers chips. Players that are close to all-in often
rush the betting just to get all their chips in a sink-or-swim
last hand that doesn't merit a raise.
fun and GOOD LUCK!
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