Many poker players migrate to Omaha Poker from other popular forms of poker, many from Texas Hold ‘em. Once a player has mastered the game of Texas, he naturally wants a game that is a bit more challenging. Omaha Poker is a great alternative because it is very similar to Texas Hold ‘em as it is actually a derivation of it. If you’ve played Texas before, Omaha Poker won’t be too hard to pick up, as the betting rounds are similar, and the community cards are dealt in the same fashion. What makes Omaha a completely different game, though, is the number of hole cards dealt to each player and the winning hand combination.
The betting positions begin with the player to the left of the dealer. This player represents the small blind for the hand, and the next player to the left is responsible for the big blind. A small blind is typically worth half of the big blind. After blinds have been put in the pot, the dealer deals each player four hole cards (this is one major difference between Omaha and Texas Hold ‘em; in Texas, players are only dealt two hole cards). Hole cards are also called pocket cards.
Once each player has been dealt a four-card hand, betting starts with the player to the left of the big blind. This player must act to stay in the game by calling the big blind or raising the pot. He also has the opportunity to fold. When the action makes it back to the big blind, this player can check or fold, or must match the pot raise, if there was one. Then the dealer burns a card and deals the first three of the five community cards face up in the middle of the table. This deal is called the “flop.” Players can now make a better determination of whether their hands are any good.
A second round of betting goes clockwise around the table, in the same style as the first. Then the dealer burns a card and deals the fourth of the five community cards next to the first three dealt in the previous round. This card is called the “turn” and is followed by a third betting round. Another card is burned by the dealer, followed by the final community card, called the “river.”
After all final calls, raises, and folds take place, the winning hand is determined. How the winning hand is determined represents another major difference from Texas Hold ‘em. While in Texas Hold ‘em, the winning hand is made by using up to two of a player’s hole cards, an Omaha player must use exactly two of his four-card hand (no more, no less) along with exactly three of the community cards to create a ranking hand. No other deviations are permitted. For this reason, playing and winning Omaha Poker is different, and in a sense, more challenging than Texas Hold ‘em.