Also known as Omaha Eight or Better, this variant of Texas Holdem has grown quite popular recently with its tendency to create big pots and showdown powerful holdings. Although a version of Omaha exists that only counts the high hand. the split version of the game has emerged as the preferred form. Play in Omaha is nearly identical to that of its cousin Texas Holdem, but Omaha features two big differences: Each player is dealt four cards and every player must use exactly two of his four cards.
At the start of each hand. a small disk known as the dealer button (shown below) is placed in front of one of the players. This disk indicates the theoretical dealer of each hand and marks the individual who will act last in each of the betting rounds. After each hand. the button moves clockwise one spot to the next player.
Four cards, knows as hole cards, are then dealt to every player. Hole cards can only be used by the player that holds them.
The two players to the left of the button make forced bets called the small blind and big blind respectively. In Limit Omaha. the big blind is equal to the size of the small betting limit (i.e. in a $4/$8 limit Omaha game. the big blind would be $4). The small blind is normally half of the big blind.
Action begins with the player to the left of the big blind and continues in a clockwise fashion. All players must at least match the amount of the big blind in order to remain in the hand. If a player does not wish to match the big blind, he can throw his cards away and wait for the next hand to start. The player can also raise by an amount equal to the smaller bet. All players must now match this additional amount to remain in the hand.
The round is completed when action goes around the table without any player raising or the maximum number of bets allowed per round is reached.
Three cards are spread across the center of the table. These are community cards, which means all players are allowed to use them.
The smaller betting limit is once again used. Starting from the left of the dealer button, the first player to act has the option of checking, calling, betting and raising.
Checking can only be performed when no bets have been placed in the current round. It refers to passing the action on to the next player. Once a bet has been placed, checking is no longer allowed.
A fourth community card is placed at the center of the table.
The betting limit now doubles and becomes equivalent to the size of the larger betting increment. For example, in the ($4/$8) game. the betting limit in this round would increase from $4 to $8.
The fifth and final community card is placed at the center of the table.
Another round of betting takes place using the size of the larger betting increment.
A low hand must have a high card of "8 or better" to qualify. This means that in order to be eligible to win the low, the highest card in a low hand must be a 5, 6, 7 or 8. The winning low hand (8 or better) is determined firstly by the player with the lowest high card. If more than one player has the same high card, the hand goes to the player with the next lowest high card. Any hand that is high card 9 or higher cannot qualify as a low hand.
If there is no qualifying low hand then the high hand wins 100% of the pot. High hands use the traditional hand rankings to determine the winner.
• The winning hand must be made by combining exactly two of the four hole cards with exactly three of the five community cards.
• The player can use any two hole cards for their high hand and any two hole cards for their low. The cards used for the high and low hands may be different but are not required to be.
• The best low hand is A, 2, 3, 4, 5. This also counts as a straight for high. Aces can be used for both high and low.
• Straights and flushes are not considered when evaluating a low hand.
• A player can "scoop" the entire pot with both the high and low by showing the highest and lowest hands.
• If two players have the same hand for the low, each player will receive one-quarter of the pot (a split of the low portion of the pot). The same is true if two players tie for the high hand.