In this article we take a quick look at Omaha, which is a poker variant. It is assumed that the reader has a working knowledge of Texas Hold™em poker.
Rather than being a single poker game, Omaha comes in a variety of flavours. Examples of these are Omaha hi lo, Omaha high, Omaha 8 and Omaha eight or better, though the most popular version of the game is pot limit Omaha (often referred to as PLO).
The game is much more difficult to play well than say Texas Hold™em and it is a game that is much favoured by very strong poker players. One of the challenges of Omaha is the large number of possibilities that a player might draw to. This is because different combinations of cards can be used.
When the game begins each player is dealt four hole cards, rather than the two that are dealt in Hold™em. The flop, turn and river cards are played exactly as in Hold™em and the betting rounds are also identical. Each player must make their best hand from the board (that is the face up community cards) plus two cards from their four hole cards.
Many Hold™em players when first introduced to Omaha experience difficulty grasping the significance of having to use exactly two hole cards to make their best hand. For instance, in Hold™em it is only necessary to use one card in order to obtain a straight, a full house, or three of a kind. In Omaha these hands can only be constructed using two of the four hole cards, thus it is not unusual for beginners to make mistakes.
Hi Lo Omaha is also very popular amongst skilled players, and this presents even more difficulties for the beginner. In this variation players are able to create two separate hands of five cards. Two hole cards are used to construct the highest hand, and two to construct the lowest.
After showdown there are two winning hands, the lowest and the highest ranked ones, and the pot is shared equally between them. In order for a hand to be considered as qualifying as a low one it must be ranked equal or lower than 4 5 6 7 8.