Some basic differences between Texas Hold ‘Em & Omaha poker. These simple differences are notable due to their effect on hand value, strategy and hole card combinations.
If you know how to play Texas Hold ‘Em, it should be pretty easy for you to pick up the rules of Omaha poker.
The two games are very similar, and any poker player with more than a little Hold ‘Em knowledge should be able to take to Omaha like a duck to water.
The basic structure of betting and visible community cards is identical. However, there are some important differences to note between the two poker games, especially when it comes to hole card dealing and hand construction.
While these differences may seem insignificant at first, it is crucial to know the basic distinctions between these two card games to succeed at the Omaha table.
Here are the two main differences that you need to know between the rules of Omaha poker and Texas Hold ‘Em:
Omaha Poker has Four Hole Cards: The ‘four hole card’ rule is the one thing that each and every Omaha game variation has in common. In fact, players must be dealt four starting hole cards (of which only two can be used in a final hand) in order for the game to qualify as Omaha.
This means that four private cards are dealt face-down to each player. Five public community cards are dealt face up, like in Hold ‘Em.
Only Two Hole Cards & Three Community Cards can be used in a Hand: The rules regarding hand values and hand construction make up the other main difference between Texas Hold ‘Em and Omaha poker.
Omaha players are distinctly more limited in their ability to make up hands and are allowed less freedom to combine cards than in Texas Hold ‘Em. Although an Omaha player is dealt four starting hole cards, they are only permitted to use two of these hole cards to construct their final hand.
These two private hole cards must be combined with three of the community cards on the board to construct a hand. This allows for less flexibility when it comes to mixing and matching your personal cards with those on the board, and requires a more rigid and measured approach to building hands.
Check out a quick guide to specific Omaha poker hands below.
Omaha Card Deck Rules
One similarity between Texas Hold ‘Em and Omaha is that both poker games are played with a classic ‘French’ deck of 52 cards.
A standard French deck is split into four suits, each of equal value – Spades, Hearts, Diamonds and Clubs. A French 52-card deck is ranked (in ascending order) like so: Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace. An Ace card can be played either high or low in Omaha poker.
While the basic rules of the card deck remain the same as in Texas Hold ‘Em and most other poker variations, the rules of Omaha dictate some key differences in the way that cards are dealt and the value of certain hands, especially when it comes to a card’s suit.
For more information, see the ‘Guide to Hand Values in Omaha’ section below.
The Basic Rules of Omaha
Just like Texas Hold ‘Em, Omaha is a community card game played with 2-10 players.
To take a seat at the Omaha table, you must first buy in to the game. The buy-in amount will be put into the winning pot, and online poker platforms may also incorporate a small house fee into the buy-in total.
Players will share dealer duties, with the responsibility of dealer being moved around the table with the progress of play as indicated by a ‘dealer button’ (often a white marker or button).
In Omaha, betting rounds follow the same structure as Texas Hold ‘Em and are punctuated by blinds, the flop, the turn and the river. In the showdown, final hands are laid out and a winner is decided.
Omaha players win by either forcing their opponents to fold their cards or by demonstrating the strongest hand in the showdown.
As discussed, hands in Omaha must be made up of precisely two hole cards and three community cards.
In Omaha, the aim of the game is to walk away from the table with all the chips.