Omaha Poker is a game variant of poker very similar to that of Texas Hold 'Em. In both variations of the game, 5 community cards are layed out on the table and the players have to make the best 5 card combination to win the pot. The main difference between Texas Hold ‘Em and Omaha poker is that each player is dealt four cards face down instead of two (like in Holdem).
Another important rule not to forget when playing Omaha poker, is that you must always use two out of the 4 cards you have been dealt face down at the beginning of each hand in combination with 3 out of the 5 community cards on the table. So unlike in Texas Hold ‘Em, you won’t be able to make a flush using just 1 of the 2 cards you have been dealt face down. On the other hand, if you see 4 hearts on the board (other name for the 5 community cards) during a game of Omaha, your opponents will still need to hold 2 hearts to make a flush (and not just 1).
Also in Omaha poker, you won’t be able to use all the 4 four of the cards that have been dealt face down to you in combination with 1 of the 5 community cards. You will always have to pick two cards out of the 4 you are holding and 3 cards that are open on the table and just like in Texas Hold ‘Em the goal is to make the highest 5 card combination possible.
Many people in the poker community refer to Omaha as Nuts Poker (or even LOLmaha), due to the crazy action which often requires ‘the nuts’ (the best 5 card combination possible during any stage of the hand) to win the hand. So if you play Omaha for the first time, don’t be surprised when you make a flush or three of a kind on the flop and still end up losing the hand on the river.
This is if you are playing the most common form called Omaha High poker, but nowadays there are many variations of the game. Some of those variations are Omaha Hi-Lo (aka 8-or-better Omaha), Limit Omaha and Pot Limit Omaha (aka PLO). In Omaha Hi-Lo, you can also win the pot with the lowest 5 card combination (this has to be 5 card combination of ‘8 high’ or lower). Due to the high demand for Omaha poker, PokerStars has started offering all variation of the game including Omaha poker tournaments.
There is hardly anything known about the origins of Omaha or who invented the game. What is known is that casino executive Robert Turner introduced the Omaha poker player Billy Boyd, who then offered the game of Omaha at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas. He introduced Omaha poker under the name ‘Nugget Hold’em’.
Currently, the popularity of Omaha poker is on the rise, with a lot of players preferring the more action packed game of Omaha poker over Texas Hold’em (especially in the Hi-Lo variant). There are many casino’s worldwide who offer Omaha poker cashgames and tournaments. If there aren’t any casino’s in your neighbourhood that offer Omaha poker, then you can play the game on PokerStars (where it’s also possible to practice for free with fake-play money).
Here is a clip of Gus Hanson playing ‘wunderkind’ Nicki Jedlicka headsup at Omaha poker online back in 2009. Keep in mind, these guys are actually playing pot limit Omaha for real money.