The Differences Between Texas Holdem and Omaha Poker

By now, even the most novice of card players have certainly heard of Texas Hold Em but do you know the differences between Texas Holdem and Omaha Poker.

Whether they’ve seen it on ESPN, or Bravo, or the Game Show Network, or the Travel Channel, etc, most people have a basic grasp on how the game works. Let start by having a quick look at the rules of Texas Holdem then move onto Omaha Poker Rules.

Each player is dealt 2 cards face down. Once these cards are dealt players make bets based on the values of those cards. Once all players settle on a bet, three cards are “flopped” in the middle of the table. These cards are shared by all players left in the game. Again players make their bets, now based on not only the value of their 2 cards, but also based on how well those cards match up with those 3 that have flopped in the middle. Again once the bet has settled, the dealer flips over another shared card in the middle of the table. This is repeated one final time until there are 5 cards total in the middle of the table.

These 5 cards are shared by all remaining players to add to the 2 cards they have in their hand. Players must then make a 5 card poker hand out of these 7 total cards. They may use any combination of cards on the table and in their hand.

So if a royal flush (the best poker hand) is showing in the middle of the table, it doesn’t matter what the players are holding in their hand; the game will come out a tie.

The process of Omaha Poker is very similar to this—as opposed to poker games which have very different rules and procedures like 5 Card Draw and 7 Card Stud.

In Omaha, each player in the game is dealt 4 cards face down into their hand.After a round of betting has settled, the dealer flops 3 shared cards into the center of the table. The process continues as above until there are 5 shared cards in the center.

This is where one of the fundamental differences comes into play. In Texas Hold Em, players were allowed to use any combination of the 7 cards (5 shared, 2 in hand) to make a 5 card poker hand.

In Omaha Poker Rules, players must use exactly 2 cards from their hand (out of 4) and 3 cards from the shared boar (out of 5). So, paralleling the example above, if a royal flush was showing in the center of the table in an Omaha game, the players would NOT have the best hand in poker because they are only allowed to use 3 of the 5 showing cards to construct their hand.

This will confuse many novice players. They may see a 4 5 6 7 showing on the board and be holding an 8. So they bet big thinking they have a straight and a great chance of winning the hand. But since they cannot use 4 cards from the board, they’ll be very upset when they learn that their hand may not be worth playing.

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