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How to play omaha poker

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Omaha may resemble Texas Hold’em in the fact that it is a game played with five community cards but the game is quite different. There are two variations of the game, Omaha High only and Omaha Hi/Lo split. It can be played with the betting being a structured Limit game or you can find No Limit and Pot Limit games. I will use the Limit Omaha High game in the explanation about how to play.

The rules of the game are fairly easy to learn. Limit Hold’em has structured betting, and the lowest limit you will usually find in most casinos is a $2/$4. Other limits you may find are 5/10 or 10/20 or higher. I will be using the 32/4 game as an example in this book. That means the minimum bet is three dollars during the first two rounds of betting and the minimum bet is six dollars during the last two betting rounds. These same limits are used when you raise as well.

The Dealer
Since the casino supplies a dealer one player must be the designated dealer who will act last during the betting rounds. A disk or “Button” is used to identify the dealer and this is rotated to the left after each hand. Unlike stud, all the players do not ante each round. Blind bets are posted to generate a starting pot just the way that they are in Texas Hold’em.

The Start
To start a new hand two “Blind” bets are put up or “Posted.” The player immediately to the left of the player with the dealer button puts up or “posts” the small blind which is approximately half the minimum bet. The small blind for the $2/4 game is one dollar. The player to the left of the small blind posts the big blind which is equal to the minimum bet which is three dollars for this game. The rest of the players do not put up any money to start the hand. Because the button rotates around the table, each player will eventually act as the big blind, small blind and dealer. It will cost you three dollars every time the deal makes a complete rotation around the table.

The Opening
After the blinds are posted each player is dealt four cards face down with the player on the small blind receiving the first card and the player with the dealer button getting the last card. The first betting round begins with the player to the left of the big blind either putting in two dollars to “Call” the blind bet, or putting in four dollars to “raise” the big blind or folding his hand. The betting goes around the table in order until it reaches the player who posted the small blind. That player can call the bet by putting in one dollar since a dollar bet was already posted. The last person to act is the big blind. If no one has raised, the dealer will ask if they would like the option. This means the big blind has the option to raise or just “check.”

The Flop
The cards are dealt and turned face up in the middle of the table. This is known as the “Flop.” These are community cards used by all the players. Another betting round begins with the first active player to the left of the dealer button. The minimum bet for this round is also three dollars.

The Turn
When the betting round after the flop is completed, the dealer burns another card and turns a fourth card face up in the middle of the table. This is referred to as the “Turn.” The minimum bet after the turn is now six dollars and begins again with the first active player to the left of the button.

The River
Following the betting round for the turn, the dealer will burn another card and turn a fifth and final card face up. This is called the “river,” and the final betting round begins with six dollars being the minimum bet. There is usually a three or four raise maximum during all betting rounds except if the play becomes heads up with two players. Then the raises are unlimited.

The Showdown
To determine the winner, the players MUST use two of his hole cards and three cards from the “Board” to form the highest five-card hand. In some cases two players will tie which happens quite often in Omaha Hi/Lo. In that case the players will split the pot. A sixth card is never used to break a tie.

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