If you've ever wanted to learn how to play a fun and challenging version of online poker, or if you're a Texas Hold'em fan and you're looking for a new game, Omaha poker could be the next game for you. Omaha features similar rules to Texas Hold'em. Most people find the rules relatively easy to learn, regardless of whether they are familiar with other versions of poker.
After the first bets to furnish the pot are made, a game of Omaha poker begins when the dealer awards each player four hole cards. This is the first major difference between Texas Hold'em where the dealer gives players two cards each instead.
The rest of the game is identical to Texas Hold'em until the showdown is reached. Players check their four cards and the first betting round takes place. At the flop, the dealer deals three community cards, which are placed in the center of the table. These cards are used by each player to make up his winning hand.
Following the flop, a second betting round takes place. After this, the dealer will deal a fourth community card. This is commonly referred to as fourth street and precedes another betting round.
The last community card to be dealt is the river or fifth street. Following this, the players left in the game must reveal their cards in the final showdown. This last round differs from Texas Hold'em rules where players must make up their hand from a combination of two hole cards and five community cards. In Omaha, the final hand must consist of two hole cards and three community cards. This makes achieving a winning hand more challenging than in Texas Hold'em. Once all players have turned their cards over, the winning hand is revealed.
Several variations on the Omaha game have been developed over the years. The most common one is Omaha High Low. Players can use any combination of three boardcards and two hole cards for a high hand and another for a low hand. A low hand must generally contain cards valued at 8 or less. At final showdown, the players with the highest hand and the lowest hand split the pot. All the above Omaha rules apply to High Low games.
Because the aim of Texas Hold'em and Omaha is the same, many people tend to think the same approach to strategy will suffice for both games. The factor to consider here is the winning hand. In Omaha, three community cards must make up a player's hand. This means that a different type of strategy must be employed to obtain the winning combination.
The cards a player starts out with have more influence over the result than hole cards in Texas Hold'em do. Post-flop play therefore takes on a sightly less stategic significance. The basics of winning in Omaha poker comes from making up a good starting hand and raising before the flop. This is crucial in both Omaha and High Low games.
Many poker players refer to Omaha poker as a "river" game because the final community card drawn wil usually determine the result. However, a sound poker player needs to be prepared for the river, which means that he shouldn't wait for this stage in the game to make his best bet. Being prepared is crucial.
Before the flop, players should do their best to manipulate the pot size and play hands that are naturally high. After the flop, a player should start to calculate probabilities and work out how favorable his chances are to win. His participating in each ensuing betting round should be influenced by these odds and by the cards he holds.