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How to play Omaha Hold’em

Omaha Hold’em, or simply Omaha, is a poker game played with a standard 52-card deck (sans Jokers). Each player receives four hole cards dealt face-down, in addition to five community cards (aka, the board). Players must use exactly two of their hole cards and exactly three of the community cards to create their best possible hand – or hands, plural, in some versions.

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Dealing & Betting

Like Texas Hold’em, Omaha typically starts with the two players left of the dealer posting blinds. These are forced bets designed to maintain a steady contribution to the pot – the prize pool – from every player, as the dealer button moves clockwise around the table after each hand. The small blind, which is played by the person immediately on the dealer’s left, is usually half the amount of the big blind. The big blind is often equal to the minimum bet.

Once the four hole cards are dealt, the first round of betting ensues. This is where players can choose to call (match the big blind bet), raise (increase the already made bets), check (stay, having already matched other bets), or fold (forfeit the hand and any bets made). First-round betting starts with the player left of the big blind, while in all later rounds it begins with the player left of the dealer. Note that players can not make starting bets in the first round, as blinds have already been posted. In all following rounds, starting bets can be placed.

The second round of betting follows the flop – the first three community cards dealt face-up. The third betting round follows the turn (fourth community card dealt), and the last round of betting can take place after the river (the fifth and final community card) is revealed. If there are two or more players remaining after betting is completed, then there is a showdown, where players reveal their hands to determine the winner. If any players share a winning hand, then the pot is split evenly. If there is just one player standing, they claim the spoils without having to show their hole cards.

Pot-Limit Omaha & High Hands

In Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO) players can only bet as much as is currently in the pot. For example, if there is $300 in the pot, that is the maximum amount anyone can bet at that time. PLO only uses high-hand rankings. This is the traditional poker arrangement, where the Ace is the highest card and the Deuce is the lowest. Cards are ranked by numerical value only, with the suits all weighted the same (Trey of clubs is equal to Trey of spades).

Below are the different types of high hands, from weakest to strongest: