There are two main variants of Omaha Hold’em poker: Omaha Hi and Omaha Hi/Low. Switching back and forth between them can be a bit tricky for the inexperienced player. If you are an Omaha novice, it is best to pick one type of Omaha and not play any other type of Omaha during the same poker session.
Both Omaha Hi and Omaha Hi/Low are played using a standard 52 card deck. There are no jokers or other wild cards.
Omaha is a poker game with community cards. It is not a draw poker game (i.e. a game where you are allowed to discard cards and receive new ones).
Playing Omaha Hi
- The player sitting left of the dealer posts the small blind. The player sitting left of the small blind posts the big blind.
- Each player is dealt four individual cards, face down. You should pick up and look at your own cards (= your hole cards), but not show anyone else.
- The player sitting left of the big blind starts the betting round. Omaha Hi is usually played as Pot Limit. Fixed Limit Omaha Hi and No Limit Omaha Hi are much more rare.
- When the betting round is over, the dealer puts three face up cards on the table. These three cards are called the FLOP. These are community cards.
- The player who posted the small blind at the start of the game initiates a betting round.
- After the betting round, the dealer places a card face up on the table. This is the fourth community card and it is called the TURN.
- A new betting round takes place.
- After the betting round, the dealer places a card face up on the table. This is the fifth community card and it is called the RIVER.
- It is now time for the final betting round.
- If at least two players haven’t folded yet at this point in the round, a showdown will take place. Showdown is when the remaining players show their cards.
When you play Omaha Hi, your poker hand must consist of 2 hole cards + 3 community cards. This makes Omaha Hi very different from playing Texas Hold’em and greatly limits your options when it comes to forming a poker hand.
Example: Your hole cards are diamond two, diamond five, queen of hearts and ace of spades. The community cards are four spades and a club. If you were playing Texas Hold’em, you could form a poker hand consisting of your ace of spade + the four community card spades and have a flush. When you are plying Omaha Hi, this is not allowed since two of your hole cards must be included in your poker hand and you must use exactly three community cards in your hand – no more and no less.
Other types of Omaha
Omaha Hi/Low split 8 or better
This Omaha variant is also known as Omaha 8-or-better or Omaha/8. It is a high-low split version of Omaha. When playing this type of Omaha, each player makes a separate five-card high hand and a five-card low hand. The low hand must be eight-high or lower to qualify. You can use any two of your four hole cards in your high hand and any two of your four hole cards in your low hand.
The pot is split between the highest high hand and the lowest low hand.
If there is no qualifying low hand, the high hand wins the entire pot.
Omaha Hi/Low split is usually played fixed limit, sometimes pot limit and rarely no limit.
This is Omaha Hi/Low where the low hand needs to be nine-high or lower to qualify.
This is Omaha Hi/Low where the low hand needs to be seven-high or lower to qualify.
Five Card Omaha
Five Card Omaha is also known as Big O and 5-O. It is chiefly played in southeastern United States and California. Pot limit Big O is more common than fixed limit or no limit Big O.
Six Card Omaha
Six Card Omaha is offered by quite a few casinos in the United Kingdom, typically as pot limit.
Each player is dealt five hole cards instead of four, and the first community card is placed on the table at the same time as the players receive their hole cards. So, there is no betting round between seeing your hole cards and seeing the first community card.
After the first round of betting, community card #2 and #3 are placed on the table. From this point, Courchevel follow the same rules as Omaha Hi.
Courchevel is most common in France, but has gained quite a following outside France during recent years.
Omaha in mixed games
In the mixed game H.O.R.S.E, the O stands for Omaha Hi/Low split 8 or better.
In the mixed game T.H.O.R.S.E.H.A, the O stands for Limit Omaha Hi/Low split 8 or better while the A stands for Pot Limit Omaha.