Omaha Poker Rules – The Basics for New Poker Players

Omaha Rules

Similarities and Differences to Texas Hold ‘Em

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.

A Guide to Hand Values in Omaha  

The Poker Loco guide to Omaha hands, ranked in descending order.

Now that you understand the basic rules of Omaha and how to construct hands, you’re ready to learn about the hands. Luckily, if you know how to play Texas Hold ‘Em, you won’t have to learn any new hand rules.

Omaha Hands & Card Suit

In Omaha, it is important to note that for hands constructed with cards of the same suit (such as straight flushes and flushes) you must hold at least two cards of that suit within your range of hole cards. This must be combined with three community cards of matching suit to constitute a valid Omaha hand.

Omaha Hand Construction

The main difference in the rules of Omaha poker lies in the way that players can construct hands.

In Omaha, you must always use two hole cards combined with three community cards to make a hand. This means that you may have to be more careful in the way that you build hands, especially with regards to suit.

Despite the basic value and ranking of poker hands remaining the same, Omaha is more complex and layered than Texas Hold ‘Em in that its rigid and dictated hand construction system forces players to think outside the box.

Omaha Hands

Here is a quick list of Omaha poker hand values, ranked from high to low:

  • Royal Flush – A Royal Flush is composed of 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace of the same suit. This is the most valuable hand that you can hold at the Omaha table.
  • Straight Flush – A Straight Flush is composed up any five cards of the same suit and in order according to their value (e.g. 3,4,5,6,7 of hearts)
  • Four of a Kind –Four of a Kind is composed of any four numerically identical cards.
  • Full House – A Full House is composed of a pair combined with three of a kind.
  • Flush – A Flush is composed of any five cards of the same suit.
  • Straight – A Straight is composed of any five cards of any suit that run in order.
  • Three of a Kind –Three of a Kind is composed of any three cards of any suit with the same numerical value.
  • Two Pair – A Two Pair is composed of two different pairs in one hand.
  • One Pair – One Pair is composed of any two cards of any suit that have the same numerical value.
  • High Card – A High Card hand is composed of the single highest card that a player holds in hand. This is the least valuable hand in a game of Omaha.

You can now approach the Omaha table with knowledge and confidence. While this guide to the rules of Omaha is basic, it’s all you need to start playing.

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