Updated Updated: September 20, 2019

Play Omaha Poker Online – Rules, How to Play, Tips

Omaha Poker

Almost everybody who has visited an online casino will know vaguely how to play the game ‘poker’. Chances are when imagining a game of poker, they will be thinking of the classic Texas Hold ‘em variety, which is featured in countless movies, TV shows and other media (including paintings of anthropomorphic dogs).

But poker has many other varieties that offer different ways to play the same basic game. One of the most popular of these that can easily be found online is Omaha poker. However, relatively few people know what is Omaha poker, let alone the advantages it offers in terms of speed and profit over games such as Texas Hold ‘em.

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How The Game Is Played

When it comes to how to play Omaha poker, the basic structure is the same as Texas Hold ‘em: the players have a rotating big blind and small blind, the dealer gives out the cards held by the players (also known as the ‘hole cards’) and they bet, leading to the ‘flop’ where the dealer puts down community cards face-up for the table to bet on. Subsequent rounds of betting and dealing commence and the players draw more cards and bet again until they reach the card limit, at which point the winner is revealed.

Omaha Poker buttons

However, Omaha poker rules have some differences that drastically alter the manner in which the game is played, both in terms of speed and tactics. Firstly, the blinds are not arbitrary as they can be in Texas Hold ‘em, instead they are typically related to the betting structure (i.e. minimum bet) and amount of chips each player has. As a rule of thumb, the big blind will be double the size of the small blind, and the small blind will always sit to the left of the dealer if the dealer role is being rotated around the table. With a fixed dealer, the blinds will simply rotate clockwise around the table instead.

The main difference between Omaha and Texas Hold ‘em is the fact that the players will each receive four hole cards from the dealer instead of two. These are kept hidden and are then used to compile a hand in conjunction with the community cards that are then dealt after each round of betting. However, when creating a hand, players MUST use two of their own hole cards in conjunction with three of the cards on the table.

Betting

It is also worth mentioning that when looking to play Omaha online UK players will typically encounter three types of betting systems. These can substantially alter the dynamics of how the game is played and how fast it goes.

1. ‘Fixed limit’ betting

In this mode, the bet limit is decided for each game and round of poker and may change within the game. This essentially limits the amount of chips a player can wager at any given time to the level already agreed. The advantage is that it helps prevent more aggressive players from ‘crowding out’ a less confident player by always raising the stakes to an uncomfortable limit.

2. ‘Pot limit’

‘Pot limit’

In this form of Omaha poker, players can only bet an amount up to the existing size of the pot. For example, if the pot is currently at a size of one hundred chips, then a player could only bet up to one hundred chips in that round of betting. However, as the pot size increases, so too does the maximum possible bet. This means that increases in bet sizes are kept relatively linear and it makes sure that players don’t necessarily have to withdraw from the game after a few bad rounds. However, it also makes it difficult to take advantage of a last minute change of fortunes by massively increasing the bet. In online poker, this is by far the most common variation of Omaha, and is often abbreviated to ‘PLO’ (Pot Limit Omaha) in site menus. 

3. ‘No limit’ betting

This removes the restrictions imposed by the other two modes, vastly increasing the scope of the game. Players are free to bet as much as they like at any time, up to the total value of their chips. This is the best way to rapidly raise the stakes within a game, but comes with a fair level of risk. It also enables better players to constantly raise the stakes against players who have had a streak of bad hands, thereby eventually forcing them out of the game.

Tips And Strategies

When first getting to grips with learning to play Omaha online, it is essential to learn to bet conservatively. A player that makes sure to bide their time and get a feel for the flow of a particular game will tend to last longer. Furthermore, due to the large number of powerful hands that will crop up, it is not unlikely to find that your opponents will often have a decent set of cards as well, making it wise to only bet high when in possession of an especially good hand (such as a royal flush).

omaha strategy

When starting a game of poker Omaha online games can sometimes yield a payoff when being especially aggressive with playing hands to the end. This is because most players will be unwilling to commit large amounts to a single round in the opening part of a game, especially if it is being played under pot limit rules, where betting will often take to a linear scale. However, bluffing will quickly lose its effectiveness as players become more confident, meaning that it should by no means be relied upon to the same extent it is in Texas Hold ‘em.

In a similar vein, betting high after the flop (especially when backed up by a good hand) can scare most players out of a round and allow a gambler to pick up the blinds. That said, this can also make it difficult to draw players in and extract more chips from them.

Don’t always be dependent on high cards like Aces and Kings to make a hand. If the flop only contains numbers, they can be powerful as well, provided you have the right combination of hole cards in your possession. This can also tempt players depending on a low hand like a two-of-a-kind to bet, especially if they are holding Aces or similar, allowing you to build the pot and win big. As James Altucher famously said, ‘Poker is a skill game pretending to be a chance game’. 

As mentioned above, many players will be willing to play low hands such as two-of-a-kind or two-pair. This is mainly due to their value in games such as Texas Hold ‘em, where the chances of high hands appearing are much lower and where newer players will have the majority of their experience. In Omaha, this is rarely the case. Due to the sheer number of cards on the table, many higher combinations of cards are available, especially after the river card has been dealt. This means that a player should not be afraid to consistently fold on hands that don’t have a high value and only play those that offer a good chance of success. This is especially true because of the fact that many other players will be getting high hands too, as the number of cards plays to everyone’s advantage and raises the bar in terms of what plays are viable.

omaha strategy book

Also, when playing online Omaha poker, players shouldn’t be afraid to consult with a guidebook, database or other resource in order to make sure of which hands they could possess and their relative value. Without the opponents being able to directly observe each other, there is much more leeway for newer players to learn whilst playing and simultaneously not betray their level of inexperience. In time, players will get a feeling for which hands are in play and will be able to read the table much better. 

Rating Hand
1Ace, Ace, King, King,
2Ace, Ace, Jack, Ten,
3Ace, Ace, Queen, Queen,
4Ace, Ace, Jack, Jack,

Is Playing Omaha Poker Online Right For You?

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Overall, deciding to play Omaha poker online demands a very different skill set than Texas Hold ‘em, requiring constant attention from the player as new cards (and therefore new combinations) are dealt, in addition to hugely increasing the number of possible hands that can be present on the table simultaneously. Depending on the betting style being used in a game, there can be an opportunity to make a great deal of profit in a very quick amount of time. Though this also means that without careful practice and intuitive knowledge of how to play the game it is also very possible to lose money just as fast. For players looking for a more challenging variation of poker, wanting to expand their experience with playing higher hands or those people just sick of playing Texas Hold ‘em, Omaha remains a very solid choice.

FAQ

Obviously, game times vary depending on the size of the pot and the play style of the participants. But generally speaking, games of Omaha will go by much faster than Texas Hold ‘em, due mainly to the increased incentive to bet on higher hands.

Most decent online casinos will offer multiple variations of poker and other popular card games. At present, some of the most popular sites for Omaha are Fulltilt Poker, Pokerstars UK and GG Poker.

Due to the massive amounts of potential combinations available, it can be difficult to know whether it is wise to immediately start betting. However, there are some hands that are mathematically likely to guarantee good performance.

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