At first glance, Omaha is similar to Texas Hold’em, but there are notable differences that must be taken into account. Due to the superficial similarities, jumping back and forth between Texas Hold’em and Omaha tables can easily result in horrendous mistakes. In Omaha, you will be dealt four hole cards instead of two. At showdown, you must use exactly two hole cards and three community cards to form your poker hand. Because of this, there 60 combinations in Omaha compared to just 21 in Texas Hold’em.

Omaha did not arrive to the Las Vegas card rooms until the 1980s, despite being developed during World War II, and it wasn’t until the 1990s that Omaha (also known as Omaha Hold’em) really caught on. Several variants of Omaha exists. Currently, the most commonly played variety online is Omaha High where the highest hand wins the pot. Another popular variant is Omaha HiLo / Omaha 8-or-better where the pot is split between the highest and the lowest hand, provided that there is a qualified low hand. If not, the entire pot goes to the high hand.

Playing Omaha HiLo

  1. The rules for small and big blind are the same as for Texas Hold’em.
  2. The dealer gives each player four hole cards.
  3. A betting round takes place where each player has the option of folding, checking/calling or raising.
  4. Three community cards are placed face-up on the table. This is the flop, just as on Texas Hold’em.
  5. A round of betting takes place.
  6. A fourth card (the turn) is placed face up at the table.
  7. A round of betting takes place.
  8. A fifth card (the river) is placed on the table.
  9. A final betting round takes place.
  10. If there are at least 2 players left in the pot, they will show their hands. As explained above, you must form your poker hand using exactly two of your hole cards and exactly three of the community cards.
  11. Half of the pot goes to the highest poker hand, half of the pot goes to the lowest poker hand. In order for the low hand to qualify, it must contain five cards of different numerical value and all cards must be 8 or lower. Therefore, a hand such as 8643A will qualify as a low hand, while 86443 will not.

Generally speaking, starting hands are treated differently in Omaha than in Texas Hold’em, at least by skilled players. Texas Hold’em is a game where a lot of emphasis tends to be placed on things that occurs before the flop, but this is not the case for Omaha HiLo.