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Omaha Poker - Basics

Many poker pundits have called Omaha/8 “the game of the future”, Omaha/8 or more formally known as, Omaha Hold’em, 8-or-better High-Low Split Poker. That is quite a name, so we’ll just call it by its more popular name Omaha/8. Omaha poker is a variation of Texas Hold’em in which each player receives four cards dealt face down. And like its cousin, five face up community cards – which every player can use. The pot is split between the best high hand and the best low hand.

Like most split pot games, Their may be a lot of chips on the table because some players are trying to make the best low hand, while others are trying for the best high hand, and others still are trying to scoop the entire pot.

Omaha poker also creates a lot of action because unlike in Texas Hold’em, each player is dealt four cards rather than two. Naturally, with four cards to choose from, many players don’t have any trouble finding a hand they think is worth playing.

At times, trying to figure out the best five-card poker hand from among the five community cards on the center of the table and the four private cards in each player’s hand can be a bit confusing, you don’t need worry – if you can play Texas hold’em, you can certainly play Omaha poker.

Playing Omaha poker for the first Time

At first glance, Omaha poker looks almost exactly like Texas Hold’em, which you’ve undoubtedly played and probably mastered. You can expect four major differences with Omaha poker.

a) Omaha poker is a high-low split game, which means there are more players in each pot, more chips in the center of the table, and a lot more action.

b) Each 5 card poker hand must use exactly two cards from his hand and three communal cards. This is where Omaha poker differs from Texas Hold’em, as you can form the best hand in Texas hold’em using two, one, or even none of your private cards. If you are playing Texas Hold’em and you hold a spade and the board contains four additional spades, you have a flush. But in Omaha, you have nothing at all. Remember you must play at least two cards from your hand to make a valid Omaha hand.

c) With the four cards to work with in Omaha poker, you can form six different starting combinations. What this means is that with the four starting cards, you have six times as many potential starting hands as you do in Texas Hold’em. This means that, the winning hands tend to be quite a bit bigger than they do in Texas Hold’em.

d) Straights and flushes are common; and two pair, the usual winning pairs in Texas hold’em, seldom wins in this game. Keep in mind that no matter how powerful a high hand you make, if there are three unpaired communal cards with a rank of 8 or lower can be found on the board, someone has probably made a low hand and that big pot you were hoping to win has been effectively chopped in half.

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