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Omaha: - Back -

Omaha is a 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 basic differences between Omaha and Texas hold 'em are these: first, each player is dealt four cards to his private hand 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 he can make from exactly three of the five cards on the board, plus exactly two of his 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 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 his 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 his ace as he could in Texas hold 'em; he must play two cards from his 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.

Two pair on the board does not make a full house for anyone with a single matching card as it does in Texas hold 'em. For example, with a board of J♠ J♦ 9♦ 5♥ 9♣, a player with a hand of A♠ 2♠ J♥ K♦ cannot play a full house; he can only use his A-J to play J♠ J♥ J♦ A♠ 9♣, since he must play three of the board cards. A player with 2♣ 5♣ 9♠ 10♠ can use his 9-5 to play the full house 9♠ 9♣ 9♦ 5♥ 5♣.

Likewise, with three of a kind on the board, a player must have a pair in his hand to make a full house. For example, with a board of J♠ J♦ A♦ J♥ K♣, a player with A♠ 2♠ 3♥ K♦ does not have a full house, he only has three jacks with an ace-king kicker, and will lose to a player with only a pair of deuces. This is probably the most frequently misread hand in Omaha.

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