Omaha, or Omaha Holdem, is a variant on poker that is similar in many ways to the popular Texas Holdem game. There are typically two versions of Omaha played in North American casinos: Omaha High and Omaha Hi-Lo. Both are extremely popular games and can be played online right now.
Omaha is a poker game that has spawned several offshoots. Similar to Texas Hold ’em, Omaha is played by two or more people and relies heavily upon the three community-card groups know as the “flop”, “turn”, and “river”. The high hand winners are no different from other poker games, however in Hi-Lo there is also a low hand winner each round.
Although some casinos offer no limit versions of the game, Omaha is mostly played with a structured pot limit. The most common round limit a player will find in online casinos is $2/$4.
Players who have a fair understanding of the Texas Hold ’em rules shouldn’t have too much trouble getting used to Omaha. The main difference you are likely to find is a term called “the nuts”. This expression is used to describe the best possible high or low hands because, in some variations of the game, it often takes both to be victorious.
The main difference to Texas Hold ’em is that in all Omaha derivatives the player is dealt four, rather than two, cards. From those four cards they may only use two at the Showdown. The other three cards must be selected from the five community-cards. This rule makes many poker hands much harder to create, such as a Full House.
Full Houses are especially prone to being absent in games of Omaha because of the three community-card, two personal-card rule. For example, if the community cards were A♦ A♣ J♥ J♦ 5♠, a player could not use the two pairs to make a Full House. This is because only three of those four community-cards can be used in a player’s hand.
Find out more about how to play Omaha High poker.
Omaha Hi-Lo is quite a complex version of the game, and therefore less common in online casinos. Like Omaha High, each player makes a five-card high hand from three of the five community-cards and two of their own. The main difference to recognize between Omaha High and Omaha Hi-Lo is that Hi-Lo is essentially two games in one, i.e. there is both a high hand and a low hand (eight or lower) to be won each round. It is this version of Omaha in which “the nuts” expression is most applicable. Although a low hand may not be possible every round, the betting can get extremely frantic as players attempt to “scoop the pot”.
Read more about how to play Omaha Hi-Lo poker.
History of Omaha Poker
This early history behind Omaha poker is somewhat cloudy. The only significant event known is its introduction into casinos at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas. Robert Turner was the man with the knowledge of the game, and it was he who convinced professional poker player Bill Boyd, who was at the time director of operations at the Golden Nugget, to implement the game into the casino.