Omaha can be a very confusing game if you do not understand the rules, especially if you have no poker experience. If you have played Texas Holdem before, then you are probably going to have a lot easier time learning this game. It is not very difficult to play, just confusing if you are new. Everyone has to start somewhere, and what better place to start then with the Omaha Poker Rules?
How to Play Omaha Poker
The objective of the game is the same as most poker games. You are trying to get the best possible five card poker hand that you can get. The player with the highest hand at the end of the hand will win what is in the pot. If more than one player has the same high hand, they will split what is in the pot.
Each and every player will get dealt a total of four hole cards, which will be dealt face down for only the player to see. Those cards will be their cards only. Then, there are a total of 5 cards that will be dealt out to the board, face up. These are the cards that will be known as the community cards. Each player will try to use the cards in their hand to match up with the cards on the board to make the best hand.
There are a total of 4 rounds that the cards will be dealt out within. The first set of dealing will be the players’ hole cards. As mentioned above, each player will get 4 of these cards. The next round which is known as the Flop will be where the first 3 community cards are dealt. At this point there will be a total of 3 cards showing face up on the board. The next round (known as the Turn), another card will be dealt face up on the board for the community to use. Then lastly is the River, where the fifth and final community card will be dealt, once again; face up.
The betting structure is very similar to the dealing structure. All you have to keep in mind is that you will have the opportunity to bet or act every time new cars are dealt. That will be the only time you will ever bet. There are a total of 4 rounds of betting as well, once again following the distribution of cards. There are actually three different variations of Omaha, all having to do with the betting. There is Fixed Limit, No Limit and Pot Limit.
Depending on which one you are playing, that will set the betting limits. Either way, the basic betting structure is still the same. It is just that you are limited to how much you can actually bet in some variations. Still, right from the beginning there will be a small blind and a big blind. To the left of the dealer there would be a small blind and to the left of the small blind would be the big blind. For example, in a $2/$4 fixed limit game the small blind would be $1 and the big blind would be $2. After the blinds have been posted, the four hole cards are dealt.
From there, the player to the left of the big blind will be first to act, deciding if he or she wants to call the blind, bet on top of the blind or fold. From there, each and every time new cards are dealt there will be another round of betting. The only difference is that in the next rounds, the player directly to the left of the dealer will be the first player to act. Then, it will go around the entire table until the action reaches the dealer.
The betting structure immediately before and after the flop would be $2. The flop is when the first three community cards are dealt. The next two rounds which are known as the turn and river – bets are increased to $4.
Defining a Winner
Just like any other poker site game, Omaha is a game of many hands. There are tournaments and there are cash/ring games. Either way, the winner is defined by the amount of chips or money he or she has at the end of the game. In a ring game there can be many winners, but in a tournament there can normally only be one. In a tournament, the player with all of the chips at the end will be the winner of the tournament. At the end of each hand all of the players that are still in the hand will show their hands and the player with the best hand will take the pot.
Omaha is a fairly long game that actually takes quite a bit of experience to master. It would actually take years to become a very good well experienced Omaha player. Still, once you get the hang of it you will find that you quickly gain knowledge and learn enough to be a solid player. It just takes years of experience to go through enough hands to learn all of the different things that can happen and different situations you will go through. The best place to start however is with the basics. You will soon be able to find yourself a unique and winning Omaha strategy.
Omaha Poker Hand Selection
In Omaha, there are a lot of different variables that go into the game. There are many different factors that will make you either win or lose. Unfortunately there is not just one thing that makes a good Omaha Poker player good. Normally, there are many different things that make an Omaha player good. Starting with that is being able to have the discipline to make the right choices. One of the very first decisions you will have to make during a hand is whether or not you are going to stay in or fold. Hand selection is the number one thing that will dictate how well you will do while playing Omaha.
First of all, do not make the mistake that you should play more hands in Omaha than in other poker games because you have more cards. That is not true, because your opponents have more cards as well. There are more possibilities to win, but there are also more possibilities to lose, which even it all out. You should really only see around 20% of the flops while you are playing. That means that you should be folding a lot more then you stay in. There are a lot more bad Omaha hands than good.
Good Omaha Hands
In Omaha, the hands that work together are the best hands to have. If you play only the best hands, you will end up doing a lot better than a player who plays every hand. That doesn’t mean you only play the most premium hands, it just means that you don’t play the garbage hands. The rest will all fall into place if you can manage to do at least that.
The best starting hand in Omaha is AAKK double suited. If you think about it you can understand why. You have the four highest cards that you could possibly have. The object is to get the best five card poker hand, so that is a good start. You also have suited cards, which will give you the opportunity to catch the nut flush, if the right suits fall onto the board. Then, you also have straight possibilities as well. There is really an endless amount of possibilities with this hand.
Those are the kinds of starting hands you should play. They don’t have to be AAKK double suited. In fact, you will not see that hand very often. If you play Hold’em and you think it is hard to get pocket aces, then you will be in for a big wake up call when you realize how hard it is to get a hand like this. You just want to have cards that give you a lot of outs and possibilities. You want to know that if that board hits what you are looking for; you will have the very best hand possible.
For example, 7(s)8(s)Q(h)A(h). You see, this is not the greatest starting hand, but it is also not the worst. It is actually a pretty goo starting hand when you think about it. Having suited cards are big in Omaha. If there are flush cards on the board, you can almost guarantee that someone has a flush.
Bad Omaha Starting Hands
Then there are the bad starting hands that you want to stay clear of. These hands are basically just the opposite of what was outlined above. If it is not a good hand that works together, it is probably a bad hand that doesn’t work together and you will need to fold it. Hands with a lot of gap cards (like 295J) are bad hands. Those are the hands you should fold. Never get into your head that you should call because what if 3 Jacks come on the flop. Those are the players that make it possible to play poker as a profession. All in all, it is not very difficult to understand the difference between a good hand and a bad hand.
The hard part is not; knowing which is which, it is actually doing something about it. If you are not discipline enough to fold when you have a terrible hand then you do not belong at a poker table, especially not an Omaha table.
Omaha Poker Pre-Flop Strategy
One of the number one most important phases of Omaha would be the preflop strategy. There is no other aspect of the game that is more important. Of course, the entire hand put together is important as well. Still, if you have to pick one phase that was the most important and crucial to your Omaha success, it would be before the flop.
The reason why preflop is so important is because that is what will set you up for the rest of the hand. Your hand selection and the moves you make before the flop will carry you through the flop, turn and river. All of those are important as well, but without a good preflop strategy, you will be lost. The kinds of things you will want to think about will be; hand selection, raising, folding, calling, watching and observing. One of the best possible times to get a lot of information on your opponents is before the flop.
There is a lot to know about hand selection, but once you know if you must use it. That is extremely crucial to your success. Before the flop you will have a very simple question to ask yourself. Play the hand or do not play the hand? That is something you will have to figure out, based on the strength of your hand, your position and your opponents. Once you have figured out if your hand is worthy of playing or not, you will need to start heavily observing and knowing what is going on around you.
Your opponents are going to dictate everything you do. Based on what you know about them, what you think they have, how strong they are, and many other things; you will make your decisions based on your opponents. That is the first thing you should do before ever looking at your hand. There is a need for constant observing and watching your opponents. Try to figure out as much information as possible, because that will be useful to you in the future.
For example, pretend that you are in a hand and you are in late position with a good drawing hand like KQ of diamonds and 56 of spades. This is a pretty decent hand (definitely playable), but it is going to completely depend on what your opponents do. If you have one opponent raise and you get a couple of callers, you would probably just simply call and see what happens with the good pot odds you are getting.
If you had the same situation except you felt that your opponents were fairly weak, and they all limped in, you may want to take advantage of this moment and raise. Whenever you have a chance to be aggressive and take control like that, you should do it. There is nothing better than being in control of the hand. Right before the flop is where you are able to gain that control. Now, your opponents have no idea what you have. All of this is starting before any community cards are on the board.
Even after you have folded, you should still be watching your opponents very carefully. What they do before the flop is likely to happen again. If you pay attention to who does what, then at the end when they show their hands; you will be able to keep that information in your mind for the next time you are in the hand.
If you saw that a player was in middle position and he re-raised, then at the end he showed a marginal hand; this would be valuable information. Later on if he re-raises you, then you will know that this player is likely to believe his hands are stronger than they actually are. If didn’t know that information, you would be likely to fold to a hand that is not as good as yours. Once again, this is all because of something that happened before the flop.
Basically hand selection, betting and information gathering is what you are going to be doing before the flop. From there, you should be able to move through the hand pretty smoothly. At that point in the hand, you have no idea what is going to happen with the community cards. All that you can do is set yourself up for the best position to get paid off if your hand does hit, and play the hands that are most likely to win. If you can handle that, the rest will all fall into place in Omaha.
Omaha Poker Flop, Turn, River Strategy
Omaha is one of the most fascinating games in poker. No matter what your expertise (as far as poker goes), it is always good to be able to play all of the different poker games. It just wouldn’t be right to call yourself a poker player if you did not know how to play Omaha. Then, of course if you are going to play the game, you are going to want to be good at it. The only way you can really become a solid player is by studying and learning a good strategy. It all starts with Pre-Flop Omaha Strategy, and following is the Flop Strategy; being almost just as important.
Working in the Pre-Flop Strategy
Everything is all started before the flop. The only way a good Flop Strategy would work, would be if you had a good pre flop strategy. It is very important to be able to work in the pre-flop strategy. If you do what you are suppose to do before the flop, the rest will pretty much fall into place. The flop is really not a hard phase of Omaha. The hard part has already been done.
Check or Bet?
On the flop, either you hit or you didn’t. If you did not hit then you would obviously fold. It is when you hit, that things can get tricky. From there, you have to ask yourself how well you hit. Are you ahead? Are you not far behind? How much money is in the pot? Those are all things you will have to ask yourself. Whether you check or bet, is totally up to you. If you are a tight player, you may just like checking; or maybe your opponents are aggressive so you would rather let them bet for you. Either way, that will be the next thing you have to decide.
After the flop there is not much time to turn back. You will be so far into the hand, that it will not be easy to fold. If you are far ahead and you have a vulnerable hand, you are going to need to get as much money in the pot as possible to protect your hand at this point. If you have a huge monster draw with a lot of outs, it might be in your best interest to do the same.
The reason why it is a good idea to get all of your money in with a monster draw is because first of all; you are probably ahead anyways if you have enough outs. Secondly, if you are in that position you are going to have to call another big bet on the turn. If you do not hit, you will have another tough decision. You have the right odds to see it through and you cannot fold there, so just get that out of the way on the flop by putting your money in. Lastly, by putting all of your money in, you are giving yourself and even bigger chance of winning because you could win by default if everyone folds.
Watching your Opponents
The most important thing you can do during the flop would be to watch your opponents and get more information from them. You have heard that saying, not to play your cards but play your opponents over and over again. That is very true and this is why. If you are not paying attention to your opponents you will miss out on a lot of valuable information. Even if you are not in the hand on the flop, you should still be watching very closely to your opponents.
Turn and River
On the turn and river, you are going to experience the same things. At this point, you already know what the situation is. You should have a good idea of what your opponents are doing and you know what you are doing. A lot of the time the money will get put in on the Flop or the Turn. The hand doesn’t go all the way to the river with money still going into the pot all that often. The turn and river is going to carry on over from the preflop and flop. If you are on a draw, you have to decide if it is worth it to keep going. If you have the best hand and are in no threat of losing, you must figure out how to get the most money that you possibly could get.
You will be in one of two situations after the flop. Either you will be drawing for a better hand or you will already have the best hand. If not, you probably do not belong in the hand. Of course, there are thousands of variables so it will always be different. Still, if you are in one of these two situations you have to think about how you are going to make the most money, or how you are going to end up winning the hand.
In the end; before the flop, on the flop and everywhere after the flop, it will all depend on how well you have incorporated them all together. The better you do that, the more likely you will be to be successful in Omaha.