Learn to Play Omaha Poker

By Debra SaundersGoogle
The most popular form of poker played today is without a doubt, Texas Hold Em. The game was made famous through many movies and even more popular by the ESPNs coverage of the WSOP. This has led to thousands and thousands of players around the world flock to online sites and live casinos, with hopes of making it big.
As with any fad, its charm slowly dies away. While Texas Hold Em still remains the top played poker game, there is another form that has been gaining a lot of interest as oif late. It’s called, Omaha hold Em. Many players simply call it, Omaha.

At first glance this game may seem a bit confusing, but in reality it is a very simple game to learn and play. It holds many of same characteristics that Texas Hold Em has. This makes the transition to playing Omaha much easier for those who know Texas Hold Em.

Even if you are a new comer to poker and have never played any form of it, this tutorial will get you up to speed on how to play Omaha. We start form the very beginning and work you all the way to the end in a very easy to read format. By the end of this short tutorial, you will be headed to your nearest casino to jump right into the game.

The Goal in Poker

All poker games have the same end goal; to beat your opponents and win money. Whether this is by having the best hand, or by getting them to fold with a well-timed bluff.


Omaha poker starts off by 2 players at the table posting a forced bet called the small blind and big blind. The blinds will be whatever the table limit is. For example: if you are playing at a table with a $1/2$ betting structure, the small blind will be $1 and the big blind, $2. After each hand the blinds will move one player to the left. All action at a poker table will go clockwise. The blinds continuously go around the table after every hand.

Once the 2 players post their blinds, the dealer will give everyone at the table 4 cards each. All players’ cards are dealt face so that only you may see your own hand. Once the cards are dealt, the player to the immediate left of the big blind will be first to act. At this point a player can make 3 choices. Call the big blind amount, raise, or fold their hand and be done until the next hand.

When it is your turn to act, you will have the same options. Call a bet form another player if there has been one. Call the big blind amount, fold, or raise another players bet. Each player at the table will have these same options.

The Flop

Once all the betting is complete, the dealer will now deal what is called the flop. The 3 cards dealt on the flop are called community cards and can be used with your own 4 cards to make the best possible hand. (See Below)

After the flop is dealt, the next player closest to the left of the big blind still in the hand is first to act. You would now have the option of checking or betting. During pre-flop action, you could fold your hand if you did not want to play it. On the flop, you check and get to keep your hand and wait to see what the other players will do. Betting is of course making a bet by putting your chips in the middle of the pot.

If a player in front of you bets, you can fold, call or raise this persons bet. If you raise, the option goes back to the other player or players at the table and they must make the same decisions.

The Turn

Once all action is finished on the flop, the dealer lays out another card called the turn. There will now be four cards out of which to make the best hand using the cards in your hand. The same decisions that were made on the flop are identical on the turn. You can call, check, bet or raise depending on what other players decide.

The river

Once the action on the turn is finished, the dealer will lay out one final card called the river. This is the last card to be dealt out and you now have to make the best hand using the 5 community cards and the 4 in your hand.

All players will have the same options as before. Once the betting is complete, those left in the hand will show their cards and the winning hand will take the money in the middle.

Not all hands will see every card and go to what is called the showdown. The showdown is when the players have to show their cards to see who has the best hand. A large percentage of hands will see everyone fold at some point in the hand before it gets to the river. Many hands will not even see a flop if people are being aggressive.

The Big Difference

Let’s talk about the main difference between Omaha and Texas hold Em. In Texas, you are dealt two cards only. In Omaha you will have 4 cards. This is an obvious difference. Now pay attention to this next part carefully as it is the most misunderstood part of Omaha.

In Omaha, you must use 2 of the 4 cards in your hand and only 3 of the cards that are dealt on the board. In Texas Hold Em, you can use the 5 community cards as your own hand or just one of the cards in your hand, it doesn’t matter.

Let’s use an example to clarify this point so there is no confusion later on.

You are dealt 9-8-7-6, as your four cards in Omaha. The community cards are 9-8-8-8-7. At first glance you may think that you have made four of a kind with the 8’s. This is not the case however. Since you would only be using one of the cards in your hand to make the four 8’s, this hand does not play.

The best hand you can have on this board would be a full house of 9’s over 8’s. You must use the 9 and the 8 in your own hand to make the best possible five card combination.


Just as with Texas Hold Em, Omaha can be found with various betting options. The betting structure will dictate how much a player can bet during the hand
Pot Limit: This is most common betting structure found in Omaha poker games. It is often referred to as PLO as well. Pot limit means that you can only bet up to the amount of what currently in the middle of the pot. If $50 is in the pot, your bet cannot exceed $50.

Limit: A limit betting structure only allows a player to make bet according to the blinds of the table. If a table is stated as having $1 and $2 blinds; all bets during pre-flop and the flop can only be $1. All bets after the flop can only be $2. If a player bets and you raise, you can still only raise $1 or $2, depending on which part of the betting rounds you are at.

No Limit: This type of betting allows a player to bet as much as they want or whatever amount of chips they have in front of them. At any point in the hand, you may elect to go all in for your entire stack of chips.

Hand Rankings

This is a complete list of hands ranked in order from worse to best.

High Card
Two Pair
Three of a Kind
Straight (6-7-8-9-10 is an example)
Flush (Five cards of the same suit.)
Full House (One pair, plus three of a kind. Two Aces and Three Kings is an example.)
Straight Flush (6-7-8-9-10 of all the same suit is an example)
Royal Straight Flush (10-Jack-Queen-King-Ace of the same suit)

Omaha is a great alternative to Texas Hold Em if you are looking for a new game to try out. It is considered an action game which means that there is a lot of betting and money going into the middle. Many pots get to be very large and it’s not uncommon to see all ins a regular occurrence.

It’s good to know many games so that you can always find something to play if your normal choice is not offered. Omaha Poker is probably the second most played form of poker these days and is quickly becoming a game of choice among pros and high stakes players.

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