Omaha hold 'em (or Omaha holdem or simply Omaha) is a community card poker game similar to Texas hold 'em, where each player is dealt four cards and must make his best hand using exactly two of them, plus exactly three of the five community cards. The exact origin of the game is unknown, but casino executive Robert Turner first brought Omaha into a casino setting when he introduced the game to Bill Boyd who offered it as a game at the Las Vegas Golden Nugget Casino (calling it "Nugget Hold'em".) Omaha uses one standard 52-card French deck.
Omaha hold 'em is the "O" game featured in H.O.R.S.E.
In North American casinos, the term "Omaha" can refer to several poker games. The original game is also commonly known as "Omaha High". A high-low split version called "Omaha Hi-Lo", or sometimes "Omaha eight-or-better" or "Omaha/8", is also played.
In Europe, "Omaha" still typically refers to the high version of the game, usually played pot-limit. Pot-limit Omaha is often abbreviated as "PLO." Pot-limit and no-limit Omaha eight-or-better can be found in some casinos and online, though no-limit is rarer.
It is often said that Omaha is a game of "the nuts", i.e. the best possible high or low hand, because it frequently takes "the nuts" to win a showdown. It is also a game where between the cards in his hand and the community cards a player may have drawing possibilities to multiple different types of holdings. For example, a player may have both a draw to a flush and a full house using different combinations of cards. At times, even seasoned players may need additional time to figure what draws are possible for their hand.
The basic differences between Omaha and Texas hold 'em are these: first, each player is dealt four hole cards instead of two. The betting rounds and layout of community cards are identical. At showdown, each player's hand is the best five-card hand made from exactly three of the five cards on the board, plus exactly two of the player's own cards. Unlike Texas hold 'em, a player cannot play four or five of the cards on the board with fewer than two of his or her own, nor can a player use three or four hole cards to disguise a strong hand.
Some specific things to notice about Omaha hands are:
- As in Texas hold 'em, three or more suited cards on the board makes a flush possible, but unlike that game a player always needs two of that suit in hand to play a flush. For example, with a board of K♠ 9♠ Q♠ Q♥ 5♠, a player with A♠ 2♥ 4♥ 5♣ cannot play a flush using the ace as would be possible in Texas hold 'em; the player must play two cards from in-hand and only three from the board (so instead, this player's best hand is two pair: Q♠ Q♥ 5♠ 5♣ A♠). A player with 2♠ 3♠ K♦ J♦ can play the spade flush.
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