Omaha hold ’em poker (usually known as just Omaha poker) is very similar to Texas Hold ‘Em. The main difference is that each player is dealt four cards and they must make their best hand using just two of them, along with three of five cards dealt to the community. It uses the same standard deck as Texas Hold ‘Em, and while the term Omaha generally refers to Omaha High, there are variants that we’ll discuss in other articles. This time we’re going to take a look at how the most common forms of betting work in Omaha poker.
Pot limit Omaha poker is generally considered the default version of the game; the one you’ll see in events like the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour. While there are plenty of fixed limit games out there, most serious players stick to the pot-limit version of the game. What does pot limit refer to? Simply put, no bet can be bigger than the amount in the pot, plus the amount of your bet. The reason for this is because Omaha simply doesn’t play that well as a no-limit game; it’s a game that depends on draws, with a lot of action in each hand, and no-limit play can be very constraining. At the beginning of the action, fixed-limit Omaha poker betting works much like that in Texas Hold ‘Em: the first player after the big blind gets to call, raise or fold and the minimum bet is the amount of the big blind.
The maximum betting amount is a little trickier to determine than you might think. To determine the maximum bet you can make, count all the money in the pot and all the bets on the table, including a call you would have made before raising. Let’s look at a fairly simple example; you’re the first to act on the flop and there’s a pot of $15. You can check or bet. You can bet $10 (the amount of the big blind) or the total amount of the pot so far, $15. That’s pretty easy, right?
If you’re playing after the first spot, however, your minimum raise is equal to the amount of the previous bet. You can call, or if you choose to raise, you have to raise by $10. If player A bet $10, player B can either call $10 or bet $20. Their maximum raise is the amount of the pot, which isn’t just the money in the pot. Yes, that can seem confusing. The pot, when it comes to the betting, is the money in the pot, plus the bet, as well as your call. In the case mentioned above, your maximum pot-limit bet would be $45. ($10 for the call + $35 for the total amount that’s in the pot.)
It can take some getting used to, but pot limit Omaha betting will soon become second nature to you. While casinos will require you to do the math yourself, you’ll find that online poker sites will let the software do the heavy lifting.