Omaha Poker Guide / Rules

About Omaha Poker

Omaha is a variation of Texas Holdem poker that is rapidly growing in popularity internationally. This is a fast action game that generates large pots. One of the main differences between Omaha and Texas Holdem is that each player begins with four cards dealt face down instead of the two cards dealt in holdem.

Also, at the final showdown, players may use only two of these four cards combined with three of the community cards to create the best possible five-card hand.

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If you are a novice to Omaha or haven't played Texas Holdem, the following rules will help you learn quickly:

Omaha Poker Basic Rules
Many poker rooms offer three types of Omaha, the differences being the amount and limits placed on betting. These types are: fixed limit, pot limit and no limit and are explained below.

In a fixed limit game, the bet and raise amounts are preset. If you select a $5/$10 fixed limit table, both the bets and raises for the first two rounds of betting (pre-flop) must equal to exactly $5. The last two rounds of betting, the turn and river rounds, must have bets and raises equal to exactly $10.

The pot limit game limits betting and raises to a maximum that is currently in the pot. If the pot holds $50, you can not bet more than $50. If you are raising on a player's bet, your call is included in the pot already. If, for example, the pot is $In a Pot Limit Game, the maximum bet/raise can't be more than the current pot amount. So, if the pot is $30, you can't bet more than $30. If you are raising on a bet, the call is already included in the pot. For example, if the pot is $200 and Player A opens the betting round with a bet of $200 and it is now your turn to bet, the most you can bet $600 (The pot's $200 plus the bet from Player A of $200 plus your bet of $200)

In no limit Omaha, there is no maximum on the wagers you and other players can make. You can bet all your chips in a single wager if you wish. The minimum bets remain the amount of the big blind. In this type of Omaha, pots get really large quickly!

You can choose the type of game you want to play based on your bankroll and personal preference. There are three more important concepts that you need to understand about Omaha betting. These betting concepts are: the stakes, the cap and the blinds.

The Stakes:
The stakes are directly tied to the type of Omaha game in which you choose to participate. If you choose a fixed limit game, the stakes determine the amount of bets and raises for each round of betting. If you select a $5/$10 limit game, the bets and raises in the first two wagering rounds are exactly $5 for each player in the game that hasn't already folded their cards. The final two betting rounds require that bets and raise amounts be exactly $10. The blind amounts are equal to the two stakes amounts in limit and no limit games.

The Cap:
Each round of betting in 5-card stud will consist of one bet but that bet may be raised three times. This is called the cap. If the bet has been raises three times, the only options remaining are to call or fold. If only two players remain in the hand, the maximum raises - the cap - goes up to five raises.

The Blinds:
Blinds are bets that are mandatory and must be placed into the pot before any cards are received by the players. At the beginning of each hand, the player to the immediate left of the designated dealer puts the small blind into the pot and the player on the small blind's left places the big blind into the pot. In a fixed limit game, the small blind equals one-half small stake, rounded down to the nearest dollar, and the big blind equals twice the amount of the small blind. In pot limit and no limit games, the small blind is equal to the small stake and the big blind equals the large stake.

This sounds more complex than it really is. For example, in a fixed limit $5/$10 game, the small blind equals $2, which is one-half of $5 rounded down to the dollar. The big blind equals $5. In a pot limit or no limit $5/$10 game, the small blind is $5 and the big blind is $10. See, it's really not difficult after all!

The blinds are incentives to play the hand and help to increase the amount of the pot. Put simply, blinds are simply mandatory bets. The players seated in the position of small or big blind, as the designated dealer rotates around the table, must pay to play the hand or leave the game. The blinds are real money bets, so as the wagering round continues, these positions have the choice to check, call, raise or fold.

To prevent players from avoiding their turn to post the big blind bet, if a player chooses to sit out and miss their turn to pay the big blind, they must either wait for the big blind to rotate to their position again and re-enter the game or they can post a big blind and a small "dead" blind in order to return.

In games of Omaha played for fun at home, the deal rotates to the left and each person takes a turn dealing the card. However, when playing in a casino venue, there is a dedicated dealer present that handles all the card distribution. There is, however, a designated or theoretical dealer which is discussed below:

The Dealer Button:
A button or graphic symbol marks the person whose turn it is to be the theoretical dealer. The dealer button rotates clockwise to the next player who is active and they become the dealer for that hand. A player who is said to be 'on the button' is always last to act in the rounds of betting and the player sitting immediately to their left is the one who must put up the small blind and is the first to act in any betting round.

The Gameplay:
Time to get into some real play! You've bought into a table of your choice and posted your big. So what happens next?

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