Omaha poker is a card game whose popularity is really starting to take off. It is a close relation of Texas holdem poker but with 4 cards instead of two. It is a high variance game where even with the best possible hand you can find yourself flipping when up against a big draw. Some players prefer Omaha poker as you can get away with playing a lot more hands compared to other poker games and it allows for a looser more relaxed strategy.
Where Omaha Poker originated from is not entirely clear but what is known is that it has evolved from other similar card games in America and first appeared in gambling Mecca Las Vegas in the 1980's. It was an instant hit as gamblers where drawn to the thrill of Omaha poker whose rules allow for loose pre-flop play and big pots galore.
Omaha poker game rules
In Omaha poker you are playing your fellow players and not the house. The type of Omaha poker found in online casinos and live casinos is Pot-limit which means you can not bet more then pot at any time.
A hand of Omaha poker starts with each player being dealt 4 cards. A round of betting will then take place with players getting the chance to either bet, raise, call, check or fold depending on other players actions and their own Omaha poker strategy.
Three community cards are then dealt (known as 'The flop') which are placed in the middle of the table available for all players to see. These community cards are used in conjunction with your own to make the best possible hand. After the flop there is another round of betting and then another community card is dealt (known as 'the turn'). An additional round of betting takes place then the final community card is dealt (known as 'the river'). At this point your hands are final but there is one last betting opportunity. After the last betting round if there are two or more players left in the hand, their cards are turned over and the best poker hand will scoop the pot. As you can see the betting structure in Omaha poker is identical to Texas holdem poker but apart from the obvious 4 cards instead of 2 there are also a few major differences in the rules of Omaha poker that will affect your strategy greatly.
The main differences in rules between Omaha poker and Holdem poker are 4 cards instead of two. The effect of this is that the game is much higher variance, allowing looser pre-flop play and with the emphasis being with made hands or big draws.
It is important to remember that in Omaha Poker you must use 2 of your hole cards in conjunction with 3 community cards to make a hand. This is a very important rule to remember and the cause of much embarrassment to new unsuspecting Omaha poker players. For example, if 4 of the 5 community cards are clubs and you have only one club in your hand you will not have a flush, you would need two clubs to complete the flush even though there are 4 in the middle.
Omaha poker strategy
Omaha poker is a thrilling, chaotic high variance poker game where even with the nuts you can find yourself flipping or even slightly behind to monster draws. I would suggest to try and lower this variance as much as possible using tight hand selection strategy and positional play strategy.
In Omaha poker I would suggest using a hand selection strategy playing no more then 35% of hands. Small pocket pairs are dangerous as you will find yourself in a lot of trouble when you hit trips and your opponent hits higher trips, this can be very costly to your chip stack. I would look to play well connected cards preferably double-suited. Ace high flush draws are also very valuable as you know you cant be over-flushed. Obviously aces are a lot more common in Omaha poker and less valuable as they are easier to crack when compared to aces in Texas holdem poker. I would try to avoid overplaying poor aces like A-A-2-7 and maybe just limp in looking for a good flop.
Positional play in Omaha poker is a vital part of any experienced players strategy. When last to act in a hand you have an advantage as you have seen how the other players have played their cards and can use this information to affect your decisions. The button (dealer) is the position where you should be making most your money as you are last to act on every post-flop street. This is why I will open up my range on the button and use looser Omaha poker hand selection rules to apply pressure on my opponents.
Your Omaha poker strategy obviously should change depending on whom your opponents are and how they are playing. You should be constantly adjusting to stay one step ahead and be as unpredictable as possible.
So that's my take on Omaha poker game rules and strategy. It really is a thrilling game made for gamblers wanting a balance between strategic play and fun high variance gambling. Some consider Omaha poker fun as the game rules allow them to play more hands and fold less pre-flop but Omaha poker is certainly not a game for the feint hearted!