Understanding Omaha: The Game Itself

So you’ve heard about Omaha poker and you want to try it out but the rules seem a bit dense. I’m going to break things down for you so you understand exactly how Omaha is different from Texas Hold ‘Em poker and why so many people have come to play it over the last couple of years versus the old standby. It’s not difficult – it just looks that way when you see the pros playing.

The major difference between Omaha Poker and Texas Hold ‘Em is the fact that each player received four hole cards and there is a set of five community cards. However, unlike Texas Hold ‘Em where you can build a hand however you see feet, Omaha poker players must use exactly two cards from their hand and three cards from the board to make a five-card poker hand. This means that even if you’re holding four aces, you can only play two of them when building your hand.

In general, Omaha winning hands are much better than the winning hands in Texas Hold ‘Em. This has to do with the fact that a lot more cards are in play and you’re more likely to get what you need to build a flush or straight if the deck is remotely friendly. This is one of the reason hat Omaha will never be as popular as Texas Hold ‘Em: it’s harder to win!

Many perfectly decent Hold’em players want to try out Omaha and fail because they’re unfamiliar with this aspect of the game. They dive into higher-limit games because they’re good at Hold ‘Em and fall afoul of their aggressive tendencies after the flop. In Hold ‘Em, you can frequently win with two pair, but in Omaha, it can often cost you a significant part of your chipstack. This is due to what we were just discussing: you’ll rarely get paid off big when holding two pair but will often wind up watching your chips slide over to someone else with a set or flush.

Omaha is frequently considered a “technical” game because it’s easy to see what the best hand is. The board frequently holds a straight or flush draw and oftentimes, somebody has made a terrific hand. Omaha is referred to as a game of the nuts, which means it’s actually in some ways more straightforward than Texas Hold ‘Em. Bluffing is not as big an element in Omaha poker play, especially in games where more than six or seven players are in a pot.