Omaha Poker - rules and Strategy
Omaha poker is a poker game in which each player receives four cards (hole cards) dealt face down, while five cards are dealt face up on the table. All players play their best five cards, but they must use exactly two of their four hole cards in combination with exactly three of the five common cards on the table. The best five card poker hand among those in contention for the pot wins. Omaha is very popular, and most online poker Rooms offers this game, go to Online Poker Rooms here.
The betting starts after four cards are dealt to each player. These cards are unique to each player. The next three cards (called flop cards or, simply, the flop) are then dealt in the center of the table. These cards are community cards and are part of each active player's hand. A second round of betting occurs. The fourth community card (the turn card) is dealt in the center of the table, followed by another (third) round of betting.
The final community card (the river card) is dealt in the center of the table, followed by a final (fourth) round of betting. The turn and river cards are also community cards used by all players. When all bets have been equalized, the showdown takes place among the remaining players-also known as active players-and the winner is declared. If only one player remains at the end of any round, there is no showdown and the pot is awarded to that lone remaining player. A player uses the best five cards among the combination of any two of his pocket cards with any three of the community cards to determine his hand. (See Winning Hands.) The software always ascertains which of the player's hole cards to play in combination with which community cards, and also always awards the pot to the active player holding the best hand.
Check and raise is allowed in all Omaha games (except on the first round, when a player, on his turn, must either bet or fold). The maximum allowable wager is always indicated on the Bet prompt and the lowest allowable wager is the default in the Bet window.
When you first go to a table, an information box appears that tells you the name of the game ("Welcome to Omaha Hi"), the limits and type of game (for example, "$4/$8 Fixed Limit"), the blinds (for example, "Blinds: $2/$4"), and the buy-in (for example, "Minimum Buy-In $40"). In a pot limit game, a maximum buy-in is enforced. The minimum buy-in is generally 20 times the size of the big blind. So, for example, when you sit down at a $0.25-$0.50 pot limit Omaha High game, you will see in the information box "Maximum Buy-in $50." If you click Sit Down and try to buy in for less than $10, a notice pops up that reads "You need to post a minimum buy-in of $10 to play at this table."
Fixed Limit Games - The software enforces the bet limits, which are determined by the stakes offered at the particular table. For example, at a $2-$4 table, the limit on any bet is $2 on the first two betting rounds and $4 on the final two betting rounds. Often one bet and three raises is allowed in each individual round. Each bet or raise is at the limit for that round. Thus, the first player to bet in the first round of betting has the choice of folding or betting $2. If someone has made a bet, the next player has the choice of folding, calling the $2, or raising $2 (making the total bet at that point $4). If there has been a raise, the next player has the choice of folding, calling the $4, or raising $2 (making the total bet at that point $6).
Pot Limit Games - The minimum bet at the start of each round is the amount of the big blind wager. The maximum eligible bet is the amount of money currently in the pot. The maximum allowable bet is calculated as the pot size after an individual calls all existing wagers. For example, if there is $10 in the pot and Player 1 wagers $5, then Player 2 could call $5 or raise up to an additional $20. That is, when Player 2 puts her $5 into the pot, the pot becomes $20. She could just call the $5, or raise any amount from $5 to $20. Thus, she could put in a maximum of $25. During the course of a round of betting, a bet size cannot decline. (A bet or raise must equal or exceed the preceding bet or raise.) If someone bets or raises $5, then the next player's minimum raise would be $5. You could not, for example, raise a $5 bet by $2. (Exception: You can always go all in-wager all of your remaining chips-even if that amount would cause you to make a raise smaller than that permitted by this rule.)
The house rake is different from casino to casino. Usually though its about 5%, capping at $3, and using a variable rake structure.
Posting to Enter a Game
New players can enter a game in the big blind position to avoid paying the new player post, which is equivalent to the big blind. A new player can choose to post the equivalent of the big blind to enter the game at any time except when he is between the button and the big blind position. A returning player who has missed the big blind or small blind can choose to post the missed blinds and reenter the game, as long as he is not between the button and the big blind position. A seated player who has missed the blinds or a player just sitting down can always choose to wait for the blind, that is, sit out until the blind gets to him.
Other Important Points
Buy-In - When you first sit down to the Texas Hold'em table, you are prompted with "enter the amount to buy in with." - type in the desired buy-in amount. The minimum buy-in amount is generally 10 times the small bet, although that amount is higher for no limit and pot limit games. Also see "Bet Limits" above.
For pot limit and no limit games, the maximum buy-in amount is 100 times the big blind.
Omaha Dealer - (Our dealers never sleep, and they don't accept tips!) - The dealer always sits at the top of the table and deals for all players. The dealer position, or dealer button, starts at the left of the dealer and moves clockwise one player after each hand.
To start a hand, the cards are dealt in a clockwise direction from the dealer button. All new players to the game must either post the equivalent of the big blind or wait for their turn in the big blind. (Also see "Posting to Enter a Game" above.) This prevents players from gaining an advantage by avoiding the blinds and jumping in and out of games. Each time the cards are dealt, a new betting round begins. A hand starts when the first card is dealt and ends when a winner is declared.
Burn Cards - Just as in a "live" cardroom, the dealer discards (burns) one card at the beginning of each betting round. These are called the burn cards. You won't see the dealer actually burn cards, but the game software takes care of this.
Dealer Button - The yellow disk (labeled with a D) that moves from player to player at the beginning of each hand is called the dealer button. It identifies the current dealer position-as if that player were actually dealing the cards. The player at this location is said to be on the button. After each completed hand, the dealer button moves one player to the left.
The Omaha cards are dealt in a specific order and betting also takes place in a specific order. The order is as follows:
Blinds - The small blind is a forced bet made by the player to the immediate left of the dealer button (when you are viewing the table from behind the button). The big blind is a forced bet made by the player to the immediate left of the small blind.
Small Blind - In our Omaha game, the small blind is a bet equal in size to one half the game's minimum bet, rounded down to the nearest unit. (For example, in a $4-$8 game, the small blind is $2. Exception: In a $.05-$.10 game, the small blind is $.03.)
Big Blind - In our Hold'em game, the big blind is a bet equal in size to the game's minimum bet. (For example, in a $4-$8 game, the big blind is $8.)
Missed Blinds - Players are required to post the small blind and the big blind once per round or their equivalent upon reentry to the game if the blinds are missed. The software will prompt you if you have missed one or both blinds to put in the correct amount. You can also wait for the blind to get to your position. This is called coming in on the blind. (The term also applies to when you first sit down.) (Also see "Posting to Enter a Game" above.)
First Round - After the players in the blind positions put their blinds into the pot, the dealer deals four cards (pocket or hole cards) to each player, at which time each player can see his own cards but not those of his opponents. On the first round only, the betting starts with the player to the left of the big blind, who has one of three choices, call, raise, or fold. On the first round only, a player cannot check (make no bet) and still retain his hand. On the first round only, the player in the small blind position acts after the button. The player in the big blind position acts after the small blind.
Raise/Call/Check/Fold - Once a betting round has started you must select one of these options from the popup box that appears when it is your turn. If you choose one of the automatic options, your bet is made automatically on your turn. (See Cardroom Features for more about these options.) If you select Sit Out or you close the window after a round has started, your bet will be considered a fold. If your connection is lost, your hand will be played as an all-in bet. (This feature is restricted to a maximum number of times per day, to prevent individuals from gaining an advantage by purposely allowing themselves to be timed out.)
Option - The player who has the big blind is given the option to raise, check, call, or fold when it is his turn. If no one has raised, the big blind has the option of checking (that is, not increasing the bet) or raising (the prompt says Bet).
Succeeding Rounds - In all rounds except the first, the betting starts with the first active player to the left of the button, who has one of three choices, check, bet, or fold. Until there is a bet, each succeeding active player has the same choices. Once a bet is made, each succeeding player then has in turn one of three choices, call, raise, or fold.
At the Showdown
At the showdown, if more than one active player remains, the software displays all hole cards, and awards the pot to the holder of the highest hand.
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