Omaha poker, sometimes known as Omaha Hi or Omaha Hi-Lo is a variation on Texas Holdem, which is a variation of Seven Card Stud. Basically, it is a community card game, like Texas Holdem but there are a few differences, which make it a poker game of its own. So even though there is a Flop, Turn and The River, Omaha is definitely not “Holdem Lite.”
First, there are the hole cards. In Omaha, you get four. Like Holdem, the hole cards are dealt, blinds posted and a round of pre-flop betting. Then, the dealer lays out the Flop. Again, like Texas Holdem, there is another round of betting. The Flop is followed by the Turn. And another round of betting. Then we come to the final card, The River. There’s a final round of betting and then the showdown where the winner of the pot is decided. So, it seems like Omaha Hi-Lo is a lot like Texas Holdem. And it is in the way play unfolds.
Now let’s talk about the differences. We already mentioned that each player get four hole cards instead of two. But, a player can only use two of the four hole cards to make his final hand. In fact, you have to use two of your hole cards. You can’t use one hole card and four community cards, or use no hole cards and just “play the board” like you can in Holdem. Think how sad you’d be if you had four Aces in the pocket. This rule also makes it tough to pull some other winning hands.
The other big difference is the Hi-Lo aspect. You might get a straight flush, but you’ll still split the pot with the lowest hand. No cards over an 8 qualify for a low hand. Eights and lower do qualify. If you were dealt four deuces as your hole cards, you’d be sunk. You would be stuck with a pair, which eliminates the chance to go low, and it’s the lowest possible pair you could have, which means going high doesn’t look too good either. Having to consider this hi-lo strategy and draw hand limitations make Omaha a very fun and challenging game.