Omaha poker is one of the most popular poker variants in the world. Unlike more traditional forms of poker, it is a fairly modern invention and there are many similarities to Texas Hold’em. As a result, many beginners move on to Omaha after gaining experience playing Texas Hold’em.
There are different styles of Omaha poker and it is played widely online and in live poker rooms. The most popular games are Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO), Omaha Hi/Lo or Hi-Lo, and Omaha Eight-or-Better (Omaha/8). However, PLO is the most requested game in cardrooms.
Where can I play Omaha Poker online?
Players who want to make the move from Texas Hold’em to Omaha, or those who are veteran Omaha players, can explore live and virtual poker tables through a range of online providers.
Small pot games, new signup offers and tournaments are all available for players of all standards. Players can also hone their Omaha poker skills by playing for free online through free cash deals and no-deposit bonuses.
Below are some of the best online providers for online poker:
1. Bovada Poker: Bovada hosts regular tournaments, events, and festivals. It is a good choice for players of a more competitive nature, with premium tournaments and cash games also available.
2. Ignition Casino Poker: Great quality and high-end online poker provider with many exciting tournaments and cash games readily available. Ignition Casino Poker also has an easy-to-follow poker strategy guide for new players, or for those wanting to brush up on their skills.
3. Betonline Poker: A great place to start for beginners, with some of the softest cash tables in online poker.
4. Americas Cardroom: An online platform with something to offer for players of all abilities and for those playing for different-sized payouts.
5. Black Chip Poker: One of the most popular poker networks in the USA. Black Chip poker provides great opportunities for novice and seasoned players to make a profit.
When Was Omaha Poker Invented?
The exact origin of Omaha poker is not completely clear. But one of the most valid stories is that it began in Detroit in the 1970s as a game called Twice Three.
Throughout the 70s, the game spread more widely across the northern and midwestern United States. The game changed names as it grew in popularity in various cities and was known as Oklahoma Two by Four or Nine Cards when it reached Seattle.
Similarly to Texas Hold’em, the reputation of Omaha poker took off when it came to Las Vegas. Well-known poker tournament player Robert Turner was the man credited with bringing the game Vegas in the early 1980s, and it first gained popularity at the Golden Nugget poker room. At the time, manager Bill Boyd allowed it to be played as Nugget Hold’em. From there, it was introduced to some of the major poker tournament series in Las Vegas.
Omaha eventually became a staple in the poker tournament series with multiple events, and it garnered more publicity during the poker boom when players started to spend time analyzing games. Players wrote about various Omaha strategies and noted the complexities, something that intrigued poker fans looking to incorporate more games into their repertoire.
What is the Difference Between Omaha and Texas Hold’em?
Both Omaha and Texas Hold’em are two of the most popular poker variants. Both are played widely by amateurs and professionals, with WSOP, the World Poker Tour and European Poker Tour all hosting Omaha events.
Omaha poker is very similar to Texas Hold’em in terms of rules and gameplay. Although, there are a few small difference in terms of the number of cards used and how combinations are made.
Below are the key differences in Omaha Poker, compared to Texas Hold’em.
1. Four ‘Hole’ Cards: In Texas Hold’em, players are dealt two ‘hole cards’ at the beginning of the game and five ‘community cards’ are laid in the middle of the table in ordered rounds. Alternatively, In Omaha, players are given four ‘hole’ cards to begin with.
2. Combinations with community cards: As the community cards are dealt in successive rounds, players must make the highest-ranking poker combinations, the same as you would in Texas Hold’em. However, in Omaha, players must combine two of their hole cards with three of the community cards to make the highest-ranking hand. Comparatively, in Texas Hold’em, players can choose to combine two, one or none of their cards to make the highest-ranking hand.
How do you Play Omaha Poker?
To begin the game, the dealer will give each player four ‘hole’ cards, which are dealt face down and kept private to each individual player. Before the game begins, the first round of betting takes place during the ‘pre-flop. Big and small blinds will place their bets and subsequent players can choose to fold, bet or check based on the cards they’re dealt.
Then, throughout four separate rounds, five ‘community cards’ are dealt into the middle of the table. Throughout each round, players have to chance to check, raise fold, or bet, depending on how the cards play out.
The aim of the game is to create the best possible traditional poker hand out of five cards. Players must achieve this by combining two of their four hole cards with three of the community cards.
The rounds in Omaha take place in the following order. Each round commences once all players have confirmed their betting move:
- Flop: The dealer lays the first three cards into the community pack. Players can make combinations with their hole cards and decide to check, bet, raise or fold.
- Turn: The fourth community card is called and players can choose to check, bet, raise or fold again.
- River: The final community card is laid face up and the final round of betting takes place among the players still involved. Once again, players can check, bet, raise or fold.
- Showdown: Once all betting is complete, players turn over their hole cards. The winner of the hand is determined with support from the dealer and the player with the highest-ranking card combinations wins the pot.
What is a Good Hand in Omaha Poker?
Omaha poker hands are ranked according to the traditional poker hand rankings from highest (Royal Flush) to lowest (High Card). Below are the traditional poker hand rankings used in Omaha.
- Royal Flush: An ace-high straight flush, such as A-K-Q-J-10 of the same suit.
- Straight Flush: five cards in a row and of the same suit, i.e. 8-7-6-5-4 of the same suit.
- Four of a Kind or Quads: all four of the same card, i.e. all sevens.
- Full House or a Boat: three of a kind and a pair of another, i.e. 9-9-9-2-2.
- Flush: Any five cards of the same suit, i.e. A-J-10-4-3 of the same suit.
- Straight: five cards in a row, such as 9-8-7-6-5 of any suit.
- Three of a Kind or Trips: such as three jacks.
- Two Pair: such as aces and eights.
- Pair: two of the same card, such as two jacks.
- High Card: with no pairs or higher hands, the highest card wins, with ace ranking highest.
What is a Good Omaha Poker Strategy?
Many poker players generally shift to the Omaha format after they become confident playing Texas Hold’em. However, a common mistake made by players is to stay to the mindset of a Hold’em player.
While there are many similarities between the two forms of poker, Omaha is a different game and requires a different strategy. The amount of cards used often means a player will need a stronger hand to win at the showdown in Omaha than they will in Texas Hold’em. A lot of Hold’em players take the pot with a high scoring pair but this isn’t the case in Omaha. As a result, it’s important not to overvalue hands that may be very valuable in hold’em, such as pocket aces.
Omaha Hi/Lo also involves more calculations from players as the pot is split into two parts -high (for the highest-ranking poker hand), and low (a hand that equals eight or lower). The low hand must be unpaired and is still formed from a combination of two hole cards and three community cards. This only happens in about 60% or 65% of hands, so low hands are often not a consideration. These games are often slower because it takes time to evaluate the low hands, as even the most skilled players don’t always recognize the winning hand right away.