Omaha poker is one of the most popular forms of the game, now second only to No Limit Hold’Em. The fast pace, frequent all-ins, and easy ability to make strong hands makes it an exciting game which has long attracted attention from looser players and professionals alike.

This guide will explain how to play Omaha poker, how a hand works, the different variants, and give some basic strategy tips to help you get started playing the great game.

Omaha Poker Rules

If you’re familiar with Texas Holdem, Omaha rules work in a similar way, using the same positions at the table. The players to the left of the dealer post the small blind and big blind, and betting begins clockwise from the left of the big blind. Players may either call (match the size of the big blind), fold their hand, or raise.

Once players have all either folded or matched the size of the highest bet, a flop is dealt, with three community cards placed in the centre of the board (“the flop”). After another round of betting, a fourth card is dealt (“the turn”). Another round of betting follows before a final card is dealt (“the river”). After one final round of betting, any players remaining will showdown their hands, and the strongest hand will win the pot.

The main difference between Texas Holdem and Omaha is that players are dealt four cards rather than two. However, exactly two of the four hole cards must be used with exactly three of the community cards to make a five-card hand. For example, a player with A♠-K♥-J♥-9♦ does not have an ace high flush on J♠-9♠-8♠-4♠-2♥ – the strongest hand they can make is two pair, Jacks and Nines, with an ace kicker.

Omaha Poker Hand Rankings

Omaha hand rankings follow the standard poker hand rankings and are identical to those in other games such as Texas Hold’Em. The strongest possible hand is a Royal Flush, while the weakest is a high card.

Omaha Poker Hand Rankings

Pot Limit Omaha Example Hand

To help you better understand the flow of the game, the following example shows a hand in an Omaha game. The game is full-ring, live, Pot-Limit Omaha, and the Blinds are $1/$2.


All players are dealt four cards and blinds of $1 and $2 are posted. The action folds around to Alice, on the button, who makes a pot-sized raise to $7. The small blind folds and Bob calls in the big blind.


The flop is T♥ 8♥ 5♦. Bob checks to Alice, who bets $10 into the $15 pot. Bob then makes a pot-sized raise to $45. Alice calls.


The turn is the A♦. Bob now checks. Alice checks behind.


The river is the J♠. Bob checks again. Alice now makes a pot sized bet of $105 into the $105 pot. Bob calls and shows down A♥J♥7♠5♠ for top two pair. Alice shows down K♥Q♥9♠9♦ for the nut straight and wins the pot.

Omaha Poker Strategy – Tips for Beginners

Omaha has similar rules to other big bet games like Texas Hold’Em, but it has big strategical differences. If you’re new to the game, here are some tips that will prevent you from making any costly errors and give you a solid grasp of how to play Omaha poker.

Be selective preflop

While many hands in Omaha can connect with lots of boards, it’s important to make sure to avoid playing any trash. As in Hold’Em, high card, pairs, suited cards, and connected cards all count towards a strong hand.

Generally, double suited hands, especially with strong flush draws such as to the ace or king, should be preferred. Hands such as Q-Q-Q-3 and marginal hands with three of the same suit should also be avoided, as these hands block their own potential to hit a strong hand like a set or flush.

Don’t overvalue marginal hands

In Omaha, it’s important not to overvalue strong, but non-nutted hands. While hands like a nine-high flush, or middle two pair, can be very strong in Hold’Em, they can be dangerous in Omaha if other players are keen to put lots of money in. This is especially true because many pots in Omaha will go multiway.

As a result, weaker draws which are not drawing to nutted hands should often by folded in Omaha, and hands such as two pair and weak flushes should be raised postflop less frequently.

Use blockers when making big bluffs and calls

Because Omaha poker strategy is much more about making the nuts than other games, blockers become very important. In Hold’Em, a nut flush blocker is rarely a major factor, since players will still happily call with many worse hands than the nut flush. However, in Omaha, it becomes almost a mandatory bluff, since players will be reluctant to call off with non-nutted hands. Using marginal hands as bluffs and calldowns due to the strength of their blockers is one of the most important concepts in PLO strategy.

Limit vs. Pot Limit vs. No Limit Omaha Poker

Limit and Pot Limit are the two most common forms of betting structure in Omaha, although No Limit is occasionally also played. In Limit games, there is a fixed betting structure – players may bet or raise one big blind preflop and on the flop, and then two big blinds on the turn and the river.

In Pot Limit Omaha, the rules limit bets to the size of the pot or less. In no-limit games, there are no restrictions on how much a player can bet. We’ll explain how this works, but if you’re not sure, then if you’re playing live, you can simply declare “pot” to bet the size of the pot, and the dealer will work it out for you. If you’re playing Omaha poker online at one of our recommended online cardrooms, the site will also work this out automatically and not allow you to bet any higher.

How to Calculate the Pot in PLO

Pot-Limit Omaha, or PLO, is the most commonly-played form of Omaha. In PLO, players cannot make a bet which exceeds the size of the pot. The pot in PLO is calculated by: three times the previous bet, plus any other money in the pot.

For example, preflop, in a 2-5 game, the last ‘raise’ would be the $5 blind. $5 multiplied by three is $17, plus the $2 small blind, means a player can raise to any size up to $17.

On the flop, if there is $34 in the pot and no other players have bet, then the pot is simply $34, since there is no previous bet to take into account.

If a player bets pot for $34, another player would be able to raise up to $34 multiplied by 3, plus the $34 in the pot – $136.

Five and Six Card Omaha

Other variants of Omaha that have seen increasing popularity in recent years are Five and Six-Card Omaha. These variants play exactly the same as standard Omaha, except players are dealt five or six cards rather than four.

These games can be particularly wild, and in six-card in particular, they are almost entirely focused around making the nuts or blocking it. They can be fun to play, but have enormous variance. They are typically seen in higher-stakes cash games, but they are occasionally spread for smaller stakes, or even tournaments.

Omaha Hi-Lo

Omaha Hi-Lo, also known as O8, is another form of the game which is fairly popular. In this format, the pot is split between a winning high hand and a winning low hand. The winning high hand is ranked the same as standard poker hand rankings, while the winning low hand is the lowest five card hand a player can make – straights and flushes are not factored in. Therefore, the best low hand a player can make is A-2-3-4-5, since they hold no pair and their highest card is a 5.

Omaha Hi-Lo is a complex game with many distinct strategic concepts, but in general, the aim is to win both the high and low boards – and ‘scoop’ the pot. In general, players should at least have an extremely strong hand on one board – having a marginal hand on both boards is considered to be a bad situation, and can often lead to losing very large pots.


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