Omaha Poker Rules

Players familiar with the more popular Texas Holdem should have no problem with the Omaha poker rules as they are very similar. The basic difference is that Omaha poker deals four down cards, compared to the two in Texas Holdem. A betting round also follows the deal, then a three card flop with another betting round. A one card turn is next, with another betting round, then a fifth river card follows closed out by a final betting round.

At the showdown, a hand of five cards must be created using two cards from the player's initial hand and three cards from the board. To qualify for the pot, all four of the player's cards in the initial hand must be shown. The hand is considered dead if only two cards are used, and the player then forfeits any claim to the pot.

The Texas Holdem rules are generally applied except the one which requires the use of two cards from your hand, with the result that a player cannot "play the board". The player must always use two cards from the hand and three from the board, no matter what cards are on the board. Thus, no matter how enticing it is to have five spades on the board, the player cannot complete a flush unless he also has two spades in his hand.

Omaha poker is often played with a High-Low split, with an eight-or-better standard for the low hand. The rules for Omaha High are also used for the Omaha High-Low, with the additional rule on the eight-or-better for the low hand. Some places may opt to observe non-standard rules especially on the low qualifier, for example choosing to have a nine-or-better qualifier.

With High-Low, the player can split his four original cards into two sets, using two distinct cards to make a low, and the other two cards to make a high. He can then complete it with three different board cards for the high hand, and another three for the low hand. If no low hand qualifies for the win, the winning high hand takes the whole pot. However, some card rooms may require a "kill" to be kept in the pot when a player wins the entire pot with a certain value.

A low hand applying the standard rules would have 87654 as the worst hand and 54321 as the best hand. A handy trick to follow that simplifies determining the best low hand among several sets is to arrange the cards sequentially, with the highest card to the left and the lowest to the right. The cards can then be read as one number, and whichever hand has the lowest number wins.

Omaha poker rules also observe the "Cards Speak" idea, meaning that even if the player erroneously states the value of his hand, the actual value of the cards will be read and followed.