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How to Play Omaha Poker

How to Play Omaha Poker
by K. Swope of

Omaha Poker uses a similar template as Hold’em poker in which the game has a small and big blind with a three card flop, a one card turn, and a single card river. However, this is where the similarity ends. In Omaha it is possible to seat ten people at one table; although, it is more common to see only nine since many players frown upon the idea of too many cards being dealt from the deck.

To begin the game a button is used to designate the dealer with the two players left of the dealer posting the small and big blinds, respectively. Each player is dealt four cards face down and this is followed by a round of betting. In Omaha, a player must use two cards of the four in their hand and three cards from the community board to make the best five-card hand possible. Players may not use more or less than two cards from their hands. This is very important when determining if a player has made a straight, flush, or full house.

After the round of betting commences; the dealer “burns” or throws away one card face down and turns over three cards face up that represent “the flop” of community cards that every player may use.

A second round of betting takes place after which the dealer again burns one card face down and turns one card face up which represents “the turn” or fourth community card.


Another round of betting is made. The dealer then burns one last card and places the final community card face up, also known as the river, or fifth street.

A final round of betting is made and the remaining players reveal their hands to determine a winner.

The standard ranking of poker is used in Omaha with a Royal Flush being the best possible made hand, down to just a high card as the lowest. There are several circumstances in Omaha that may become confusing when trying to create your five-card hand. A few examples of this might include, the community cards showing four cards of a similar suit such as four spades. In order to have a flush in this instance you must still hold at least two spades in your hand.

Another common misconception is when the board shows three-of-a-kind. Holding a pocket pair in this occurrence equals a full-house. However, having a pair by means of the community board does not equal a full-house. If you do not have a pocket pair, or any other combination of cards that are higher than three-of-a-kind; your hand will be read as having three-of-a-kind with the two highest cards in your hand representing kickers.

Finally, be sure that when you have three or four linking straight cards in your hand that the community board still has three linking cards that you can use to make a straight. It is very possible to get confused by this especially if only two community cards link you to a straight and you perceive incorrectly that three cards in your hand may be played.

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