Omaha Poker Online:
A beginner’s guide that’ll make you feel like a pro
The old adage “things are bigger in Texas” might be true. But when it comes to poker, Omaha is proving to be where the bigger thrills are.
If you’re a seasoned Texas Hold’em player and you’re looking to test the Omaha waters, you’re going to find the switchover to be relatively easily. That’s because Pot Limit Omaha is a lot like Hold’em, but with two key differences:
- Instead of two hole cards, each player is dealt four hole cards
- To make a hand, you must use exactly two of your hole cards and three community cards
That’s a key difference. In Hold’em, you can use any combination of cards, including two hole cards and three community cards, one hole card and four community cards, or all five community cards. Not the case in Omaha — you must use exactly two hole cards.
There’s more than one type of Omaha Poker
Before you jump onto any Omaha online poker table, it’s important to know that there are two different types of Omaha poker games. And in each variation of Omaha, you’ll find Limit, Pot Limit, and No Limit versions:
- Omaha High
- Omaha Hi/Lo
In Omaha High, your goal is to make the best 5-card hand. In Omaha Hi/Lo, the best high card and low card hands split the pot.
The basics: How to play Omaha Poker
Completely new to Omaha and Hold’em? No worries. We’ll walk you through everything right here so you can get down to playing Omaha poker online free.
Using a standard 52-card deck, each player playing in the Omaha card game is dealt four cards, face down. After each player receives their four cards, an initial round of betting takes place. Then, three common cards hit the felt, face up. This is known as the flop. After another round of betting, a fourth card hits the felt. This is called the Turn. There’s another round of betting, followed by the final card, known as the River. This is followed by a final round of betting.
Omaha Strategy: Hand Rankings for Pot Limit Omaha
The goal of Omaha is to have the best 5-card hand, made up of two hole cards and three community cards. As part of your PLO strategy arsenal, you’ll want to keep this hand ranking system handy:
Important Omaha betting terminology you need to know
Now that you’re learning how to play Omaha and you’re well versed in Omaha poker rules, it’s important to learn key terminology that’ll make understanding the game much easier. This is especially true if you’re planning to play this type of poker game live, but it’s also extremely useful for online Pot Limit Omaha and different poker games, like Hold’em.
The Blinds: Before a game of Omaha begins, two players seated at the table must post a small blind and a big blind. The value of the blinds escalates in an Omaha poker tournament. But in a cash game, the blinds never change. The small blind is the player to the left of the dealer button. To the left of the small blind is the big blind.
The Button: Often called the dealer button, this is a simple marker that moves around the poker table in a clockwise fashion before the start of each hand. The dealer button signifies which player is the dealer. Don’t worry, you don’t have to physically deal out the cards (unless you’re playing in a home PLO poker game). The dealer button simply helps everyone at the table understand who’s the small blind and who’s the big blind.
Raise: If you want to be above and beyond what’s on the table, you can increase the size of the bet and force all players to either call your raise, fold their hand, or raise on top.
Fold: Not a fan of what you’re holding and what’s on the table? You can bow out of the hand by tossing your cards off to the side. Doing so means you don’t have to call a blind or a raise, but there’s no jumping back in if the next card dealt works out in your favor.
Check: Passing on the action and inviting the next player to either check or bet. Note that you can’t check if the player before you had raised, or if you’ve yet to commit your big blind.
Omaha Hi/Lo Poker: Another type of Omaha?
Once you’ve mastered the art of Pot Limit Omaha, you might want to dive a little deeper and explore Omaha Hi/Lo. This variation of Omaha is a split pot poker format, where there’s a high hand winner and a low hand winner.
Understanding Omaha Hi/Lo Hand Rankings
When it comes to making your high hand in Omaha Hi Lo, the same hand rankings we covered above for Pot Limit Omaha apply. To understand the Low hand rankings, here’s what you need to know:
- To make a low hand, the two hole cards and three community cards used in your hand must be valued at 8 or less. To put it simply, A, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 are used for low hand rankings, where A is valued at 1.
- There must be 3 community cards of value less than or equal to 8.
- A low hand can’t include pairs. That means if you’re thinking As, 3c, 3h, 6d, 8c is a low hand, you’re wrong. That pair of threes makes it ineligible.
- The lower the card denominations in a low hand, the stronger it is. This means that, Ac, 2c, 3d, 4h, 5s is a stronger low hand than 2c, 3d, 4h, 5s, 6d.
- For low hands, flushes and straights are not considered. That means A, 2, 3, 4, 5 is the best low hand, regardless of suits.
- Suits aren’t considered when ranking low hands.
Need more help wrapping your brain around low hand rankings? The below should help, ranked from weakest to strongest low hand. Keep in mind that this isn’t a complete list, but is designed to give you an idea:
PLO Odds Calculator: How to calculate odds in Omaha poker
There are a number of poker odds calculators to help you figure out what the right move to make might be in any given situation. You can also use this Omaha Poker chart to help you figure out your percentage of success in any given situation, based on the number of outs you’re staring down.
Can you profit from Pot Limit Omaha?
It’s no secret that when it comes to poker online, Omaha is gaining in popularity. But is it nearly as big as Texas Hold’em? The simple truth? No. Hold’em is where the big money is. Just look at the World Series of Poker, with multi-million-dollar Hold’em tournaments and Omaha games that live in NLH’s shadow. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find big action at Omaha online poker sites.
Sites like Americas Cardroom hold big weekend PLO tournaments that continue to smash guarantees. And there are always Omaha cash games with open seats.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bankroll Management
How do you play Omaha poker?
Omaha is played much like Texas Hold’em. There are five community cards, made up of the flop, turn, and river. And each player is dealt hole cards. However, in Omaha, players receive four hole cards, not just two. To win a hand, you must use exactly two of your hole cards along with exactly three community cards.
What legal poker sites have Omaha Hi Lo games?
You can play Omaha Hi Lo games at a number of legal online poker sites, including reputable iGaming site Americas Cardroom. Thanks to their large player pool, they’re able to offer a variety of Omaha games, including cash games and tournaments. If you’re searching for Omaha HI Lo games at one of the state-regulated sites in the United States, you might have less luck. State-regulated Omaha poker high low sites don’t necessarily offer the games you want. That’s because these types of sites have smaller player pools to draw from.
How do I play Omaha poker for free?
It’s easy to play free Omaha poker if you know where to look. There are several online poker sites that offer freerolls. While most of these free Omaha poker games are limited to No Limit Hold’em, you might also stumble across some poker PLO games. What’s more, the big Omaha card game sites will offer free stakes to players, so you don’t necessarily have to shell out big money to play.
How do you calculate odds in pot limit Omaha?
It’s rather complex, but you can source a number of automatic Omaha odds calculators for your iPhone, Android, Mac, or PC. Alternatively, you can use the handy Omaha odds calculator provided above.