Omaha is played with a standard 52-card poker deck. Each player in a hand is dealt four hidden cards, called hole cards. Players use these hole cards, together with five cards shared by all players, to form their best five-card poker hand. In Omaha, unlike Hold ‘em, players must use exactly two of the four hole cards.
There are three forms of betting in poker - limit, no limit and pot limit.
In Limit Hold ‘em, the amount you can bet on each betting round is fixed in advance. For example, in a $2-4 Limit Hold ‘em game, the blinds are typically $1 and $2, and each player can either fold, call the $2 bet or raise to exactly $4. The first two betting rounds (before the flop and on the flop) are fixed at the lower betting limit - in this case $2 - and the last two betting rounds are fixed at the higher betting limit.
In No Limit Hold ‘em, the amount you can bet on each betting round is a minimum of the amount of the big blind and a maximum of however much money you have in front of you. So if you are playing $1-2 No Limit Hold ‘em, the blinds are typically $1 and $2, and each player can either fold, call the $2 bet or raise to any amount from $4 to that player’s entire stack.
Pot Limit is an entirely different form of betting. Today, it’s mostly used in Omaha, where Pot Limit is the most common form of betting used.
Poker hands are ranked as follows.
A, K, Q, J, 10 of the same suit.
Five cards in a sequence, all in the same suit.
Four of a kind
All four cards of the same rank.
Three of a kind with a pair.
Any five cards of the same suit, but not in a sequence.
Five cards in a sequence, but not of the same suit.
Three of a kind
Three cards of the same rank.
Two different pairs.
Two cards of the same rank.
Playing a hand of Omaha
Before cards are dealt, one player is designated as the dealer. The dealer is indicated by the dealer
button, marked D. This choice is done randomly when the table or tournament starts; after that, the dealer button designation moves clockwise around the table.
The first and second players clockwise from the dealer place bets called the small blind and the big blind. The amounts of the blinds are typically displayed on the table with a designation like “Blinds: 10/20” (indicating a small blind of 10 and a big blind of 20).
Once blinds are posted, each player is dealt four cards face-down. Each player, starting clockwise after the big blind, then chooses to act. At this point, each player may:
● Call. The player bets the amount of the big blind.
● Raise. The player bets at least twice the amount of the big blind.
● Fold. The player forfeits cards and is no longer eligible to win the hand.
If any player raises, each player still in the hand is given an additional opportunity to either call the raise, place an additional raise or fold.
Once all players have completed betting, three shared or community cards, called the flop, are dealt face-up. Each player, beginning with the first active player clockwise from the button, may do one of the following:
● Check. If no other player has yet bet, the current player may choose not to bet.
● Bet. If no other player has yet bet, the current player may bet any amount from the amount
of the big blind to the total of all chips the player has in play.
● Call. I f a player has bet, the current player may play for the amount that has been bet.
● Raise. If a player has bet, the current player may raise the current bet by at least the amount
of the bet (if no one has raised) or the amount of the last raise.
● Fold. The player may forfeit cards and give up on the hand.
Once all players have completed betting, a fourth card, called the turn card, is dealt face-up. There is an additional round of betting following the same rules. A fifth card, called the river, is then dealt face-up and there is a final round of betting.
Once all betting is complete, player hands are exposed beginning with the player who made the last aggressive action (i.e. the last bet or raise) and proceeding clockwise. If all players checked on the last betting round, hands are exposed beginning with the first active hand clockwise from the dealer. Hands are evaluated using the above table and the pot is awarded to the best hand.
Hand 1 has three Jacks with an Ace kicker, using the Ah and Jc together with the Jd Jh 8d on the board.
Hand 2 has a Jack-high straight, using the Th and 9c together with the Jh, 8d and 7s on the board.
Hand 1 has three 7s with an Ten kicker, using two of the 7s in the hand and one 7 on the board.
Hand 2 has a Jack high straight, using the Jd and 9c together with the Th, 8c and 7h on the board.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Hand 1 does not have a 10-high straight even though the board reads T9876. Since all Omaha hands require using two hole cards, the best hand that Hand 1 can make is three 7s.
Hand 1 has three Jacks with an AK kicker, using the three Jacks on the board plus the Ad and Kd.
Hand 2 has a full house, Jacks full of 7s, using the three Jacks on the board plus the 7d and 7s.
Note that the requirement to use two hole cards creates some unusual situations. For example, in the above hand, Hand 1 was way ahead on the flop with two pair (Ad Kd from hand plus Ah Jd Jh from board). But when the Jack appeared on the river, Hand 1 could no longer use its pair of Aces.
While it improved from two pair to trips, Hand 2 was then able to use its pair together with trips on the board to make a full house.
Pot Limit Omaha
Here is an example of how a typical Pot Limit hand might play out.
- The small blind posts $1 and the big blind posts $2.
- The first player after the big blind calls $2. Pot size: $5 ($1 + $2 + $2)
- The next player decides to raise the maximum. First, the player calls $2. The pot now contains $7 ($5 + $2). That is now the size of the pot, the maximum the player can raise, so the player puts a total of $9 in the pot - $2 for the call and $7 for the pot-size raise. Note that this player could also have made the total bet any amount from $4 to $9. Pot size: $14 ($5 + $9)
- The next player calls. Pot size: $23 ($14 + $9)
- The next player decides to raise the maximum. First, the player calls. The pot now contains $32
($23 + $9). That is the maximum the player can raise, so the player puts a total of $41 in the pot
- $9 for the call and $32 for the raise. Pot size: $64 ($23 + $41)
The Virtue Poker software automatically calculates the size of the pot and limits your maximum bet size to be no more than the current pot size, including your raise.