Omaha Poker Tutorial

Intro to Omaha Poker

Omaha hold 'em (also known as "Omaha") is a community card poker game similar to Texas hold 'em, where five community cards are dealt, and each player is dealt four cards. The popular variants of Omaha poker games are Omaha 8-or-better ("Omaha/8") and pot-limit Omaha ("PLO").

The Cards

The game consists of four cards being dealt face down to each player and then five community cards being placed face-up by the dealer. The first three community cards are called "the flop". The next community card is called "the turn" and the last community card is called "the river". At the end of the hand (called the "showdown"), players must make their best hand using exactly two of their hole cards in addition to using exactly three out of the five community cards.


On each round of betting, players have the option to: check, bet, raise or fold. There are four rounds of betting total - pre-flop, flop, turn, and river.

At the beginning of each new hand, each player is dealt four cards face down (called the "hole cards"). Each bet on the first two rounds of betting (pre-flop and flop) is set at the lower limit of the stakes structure. For example in a $5/$10 game, the bets and raises are $5 for the first two rounds. The last two rounds of betting (turn card and river) are set at the higher limit of the stakes structure ($10 in a $5/$10 game).

In limit Omaha games there is usually a limit of four bets (three raises) on each round of betting. The last raise is known as a "cap". After the betting is capped, the rest of the players only have the option of calling or folding. Check-raising is allowed in all games, except occasional home games which may not allow it.

Omaha Poker - Table Positions

Poker Table

  • Dealer Button

    In order to designate which player is the theoretical dealer in Omaha, a round plastic disk is used called the dealer button or simply "the button".

    After each hand is finished, the button moves clockwise to the next active player and this player will then be considered to be the dealer, and will act on their hand last on each betting round. This is referred to as "being the button" or "playing the button" for that hand.

  • Blinds

    The player to the left of the button is first to receive a card and is required to post a "small blind". The small blind is equal to half the lower limit bet rounded down to the nearest dollar. In a $4/$8 game, the small blind would be $2. The player to the left of the small blind is required to post the big blind. The big blind is equal to the lower limit bet ($4 in a $4/$8 game). These bets are referred to as blinds because players must post them before the dealer deals any cards to the players.

    Before the flop, the blinds are the last to act. That is, all the other players act, and then the blinds have the option of calling/raising/folding after the betting action comes back around to their position. Both the small and the big blinds are considered "live bets". But after the flop and each subsequent round of betting, the small blind is first to act.

    When players first sit down to play, they will be required to post the equivalent of the big blind only once or they have the option to "sit out" until it is their natural turn to post the big blind. This rule is in place to keep players from entering games in late position and then leaving before they are required a post the big blind.

    Omaha, similar to Hold 'Em but unlike Stud, does not use antes.

  • Early Position

    Players who sit to the left of the blinds are referred to as playing in "early position" (EP). Early position usually refers to the first 2 or 3 players. These players have to play their hand without seeing how the other players will play their hand. Because of this, they usually play more conservatively than players in other positions.

  • Middle Position

    The next 3 or 4 players are referred to as playing in "middle position" (MP).

  • Late Position

    Players who sit close to the button are referred to as playing in "late position" (LP). Late position usually refers to the last 2 or 3 players to act. The very last player to act is called the "cut-off". Players in late position have the luxury of seeing how all the other players played their hand before playing their own hand.

Complexity of Omaha

Omaha is probably the most complex poker game out of all the popular poker variants. It is a game where a player has so many possibilities to make different hands because of so many cards (four personal cards plus five board cards). Even experienced players may have occasional difficulty reading their hand, and most players need additional time to figure out how to play their hand.

Differences with Texas Hold 'Em

The basic differences between Omaha and Texas hold 'em are these: first, each player is dealt four hole cards instead of two. The betting rounds and layout of community cards are identical. At showdown, each player's hand is the best five-card hand made from exactly three of the five cards on the board, plus exactly two of the player's own cards. Unlike Texas hold 'em, a player cannot play four or five of the cards on the board with fewer than two of his own, nor can a player use three or four hole cards to disguise a strong hand.

How to Play - Summary

  1. The dealer deals each player four cards face-down.
  2. First betting round.
  3. The dealer deals three community cards face-up on the table (called "the flop").
  4. Second betting round.
  5. The dealer deals a fourth community card face-up ("the turn").
  6. Third betting round.
  7. The dealer deals one final community card ("the river").
  8. Final betting round.
  9. Players show their hands. This is called "the showdown".

When players show their hands, they must use exactly two of their private cards plus three out of the five board cards.


Log in to post comments
or Register

Tutorial - Omaha

HPG ADMIN on March 5, 2013