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The Basics of Omaha Poker

The game of Omaha is similar in many respects to the game of “Texas Hold’em,” differing in that four (4) down (hole) cards are initially dealt to each player rather than two. All of the rules of “Hold’em” apply to Omaha with the exception that a player cannot “play the board,” he must use two of his hole (used by all players) cards, to construct a five-card hand. A popular variation of the game is Omaha High-Low Split.

With the exception of No Limit Omaha, the game rules rather than the individual, determine the size of bets and raises. In the first two rounds of play all bets and raises are equal to the minimum bet and during the last two rounds bets and raises are limited to the maximum bet, typically double the minimum. For example: a $3–$6 table, $10–$20 table, etc. Betting is limited to no more than three raises per round.

Order of Play
1. The first player to the dealer’s left antes one half of the minimum bet with the player to his left anteing an amount equal to the minimum. Antes proceed clockwise around the table with each ensuing game, ensuring there is always money in the pot.
2. After players have received their initial four cards the round of betting begins, clockwise from the player who made the first ante. Players may then bet the minimum, fold (give up), check (do nothing), or raise the minimum bet. Checked players must then see (meet) the bets placed in order to stay in the game.
3. After this round of betting is completed the dealer buries the top card from the remainder of the deck and deals three cards face up on the table. This is known as the flop. These are community cards used by all players. A second round of betting then begins.
4. When the second round of betting is completed the dealer again buries the top card and deals a fourth community card face up known as 4th Street. The remaining players bet, raise, check, or fold; with bets and raises limited to the maximum for the table.
5. The final round of betting begins when the last card, 5th Street, is dealt face up. The winner of the game is the player with the highest five-card hand constructed with two of his four hole cards in combi-nation with any three of the five community cards.

Omaha High-Low Split
This game is usually played hi-low eight-or-better. Players use any two of their hole cards in combination with three com-munity cards to create a high hand and another, or the same, combination to create a low hand of eight-high or less. The best low hand is A, 2, 3, 4, 5 regardless of suit, a combination that could well qualify for both high and low pots; a straight for high and a 5-high for low.

The same rules apply to Omaha High-Low Split as to Omaha except for the eight-or-better qualification. This rule generally applies unless otherwise posted. If there are no qualifying low hands in the game the high hand takes the entire pot.

Poker Rank of Hands (High to Low)
Straight Flush - Five consecutive cards of the same suit
Four of a Kind
Full House - Three of a kind plus a pair
Flush - Five cards of the same suit
Straight - Five consecutive cards of different suits
Three of a Kind
Two Pair
One Pair
High Card (Aces are played high or low.)

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