Omaha Hold'Em uses a standard deck of 52 cards and it can be enjoyed in various betting structures, such as Fixed-Limit, No-Limit, and Pot-Limit.
If you are new to the game of poker, or just play for recreation, and if you find yourself discouraged because you don't get good hands very often, you should play Omaha Hold'em. You get nine cards to build a strong hand with, which offers room for your development as a player. The same opportunity applies to weak players who want to become stronger players.
The object of Omaha Hold'em is to make the best 5 card hand from a total of 9 cards - 4 hole cards and 5 community cards - to win the pot.
Unlike Texas Hold'em, you cannot use any combination of the hole cards and community cards. In Omaha variant, you must use 2 of the 4 hole cards, and 3 of the 5 community cards to produce your best 5 card hand.
The Blinds and Dealer Button
Omaha Hold'em uses a dealer button to determine the order of play just like Texas Holdem. When the hand completes, the dealer button moves clockwise, or to the left, around the table.
There are two forced bets placed prior to the start of each hand, before any cards are dealt, known as the small blind and the big blind:
- Small Blind - Placed by the player on the dealer's left. The small blind amount is typically the low table stake amount. For example, stakes at 1/2 would make the small blind bet 1.
- Big Blind - Placed by the player on the small blind's left. The big blind amount is typically the high table stake amount. For example, stakes at 1/2 would make the big blind bet 2.
Before the Flop – First Betting Round
Once the dealer button is placed, and the small and big blinds have been posted, players are dealt four hole cards.
Hole cards are cards that are dealt to a player facing down, and only that player knows what these cards are. Hole cards are not revealed to anyone else but to whom they are dealt.
After all the players have their hole cards, the first round of betting begins with the player "under the gun". Moving clockwise around the table, each player must decide whether to:
- Check: if no bet has been placed in the betting round, you have the option to check, which means no wager is placed in the pot, yet you remain in the game. This is not an option in the first round of betting, because everyone must match the big blind bet to continue.
- Bet: this is the action of placing a wager in the pot during a betting round. In the first betting round, the big blind bet will be the first going into the pot.
- Call: to match the most recent bet going into the pot.
- Raise: this increases the most recent bet by calling first, followed by increasing the bet. Your opponents must call when it becomes their turn to bet in order to stay in the game.
- Fold: folding forfeits your current hand of cards, and you lose any interest in the pot, including any bets you have previously put into the pot.
- All-in: the all-in bet is allowed when you have just enough, or not enough, chips to call, bet, or raise in a fixed-limit or pot-limit game. You can also do this anytime in a no-limit game. Going all-in requires you to push all your chips on the table into a separate pile near the pot, not in it. You can only win back the same amount of your all-in bet from each player.
When the bet comes back around to the small and big blind players, they have the option of calling the current bet by adding only the difference of the current bet and their blind bet. If none of the players have raised the bet, the big blind has the option to check or bet.
The Flop – Second Betting Round
When the first round of betting completes, 3 cards are dealt facing up in the center of the table. These 3 cards are the community cards, and they are shared between all players at the table. This is known as the flop.
The second round of betting starts with the player on the dealer's left that is still in the game. Betting continues clockwise around the table, until all players have placed a bet into the pot, which mest equal the first player's bet. Any player who doesn't do this is required to fold, with no further interest in the pot.
The Turn card is the fourth card dealt facing up to the community board, followed by a third round of betting, in the same way as the previous betting round.
A fifth community card is dealt facing up to the community board, known as 'River Card'.
A final round of betting begins. This will be your last opportunity to increase the amount of the pot to be won in the 'Showdown'.
This occurs only if there are two or more players remaining in the game. Players will only be able to use specific cards to build the best 5 card hand possible, and these specific cards are 2 hole cards + 3 community cards.
The player who holds the best 5 card poker hand with the highest ranking wins the entire pot. If there is a tie, which must be exact, the tied players will both win and share the pot 50/50.
If all players fold their cards, leaving only one player, then the remaining player automatically wins the pot, without the need for a showdown, or the need to reveal their cards, or hand.
Once the hand is finished, and the winner is declared by winning the pot, another hand is ready to be played.
The dealer button moves clockwise to the next player on the left, the cards are shuffled, and the blinds are posted. The cards are once again dealt for a new game to begin.