Rules of Pot Limit Omaha
Differences between Texas Hold’em and Omaha
Omaha hold’em, often referred to as simply Omaha, is a community card poker game played with a standard deck of 52 cards. In this game, each player is dealt 4 cards, which are commonly known as hole cards.
Unlike Texas hold’em, where the preferred betting structure is usually No-Limit, Omaha games typically use a betting structure that limits bets to the pot. This variation is commonly known as Pot-Limit Omaha, often abbreviated as PLO poker.
The most noticeable difference between PLO poker and hold’em is that players receive four hole cards in PLO, as opposed to just two in Texas Hold’em. To win a hand in Omaha, players must use exactly two of their hole cards along with three of the community cards to form the best possible five-card poker hand. In contrast, in Texas Hold’em, players can use any combination of 2, 1, or even 0 hole cards in conjunction with the community cards.
How to win a Hand in Omaha
Omaha is a community-card game that accommodates two to ten players at a single table. You can win chips by claiming a pot in either of two ways:
- All other players fold their hands, leaving you as the sole remaining player in the pot. This can happen before any community cards are dealt (preflop) or during any subsequent betting round.
- You possess the best hand after the final betting round or showdown, which occurs when all betting rounds are complete, and all community cards have been revealed.
Setting up the game
The dealer shuffles a standard deck of 52 cards in front of the players. The game begins with the placement of a marker (referred to as the “Dealer” or button). The two players immediately to the left of the button are required to make mandatory initial bets on the table:
- The player to the left places a bet known as the “Small Blind,” which is equal to half of the table’s minimum bet.
- The second player places a bet called the “Big Blind,” which is at least equal to the small blind’s amount and at most twice that amount.
These forced bets establish the initial pot and initiate the betting action. The dealer then deals the cards, one by one, face down, starting with the player to the left of the button and proceeding clockwise. Each player receives four cards, which they must keep hidden. After the deal, players examine their hands.
First round of betting or “Preflop”
Betting begins with the player seated to the left of the big blind. This player has the options to fold (discard their hole cards), call (match the big blind), or raise (increase the bet). Raises must typically be at least the size of the previous bet or raise, and the maximum is limited to the current pot amount.
Betting then proceeds clockwise around the table. Each player makes a decision based on their hole cards and the previous players’ actions. Players can choose to fold, call, or raise:
- Fold: Discard your hole cards and forfeit your involvement in the hand.
- Call: Match the current bet to stay in the hand.
- Check: If no one has raised before you, you can check, passing the decision to the next player without adding chips to the pot.
- Raise: Increase the current bet, requiring other players to match your raise to stay in the hand.
The preflop betting round concludes when all players have folded or called the highest bet or raise. If a player raises, the betting round continues until all players have either called the highest bet or folded.
Once all active players have bet the same amount, the initial betting round ends. The dealer collects the wagers, placing them in the center of the table to form the “Pot.”
The dealer discards the top card from the deck and reveals three community cards. This trio of cards is called the “Flop” and is shared by all players still in the game. Subsequently, a second betting round commences, starting with the player situated to the left of the button.
The dealer discards another card from the deck and reveals an additional card known as the “Turn.” Players then participate in the third betting round.
The dealer discards one more card from the deck and reveals the final community card, known as the “River.” Together with the previous community cards, these five cards comprise the “Board.” Players proceed to the final betting round of the game.
Determining the winning Hand
The dealer instructs the remaining players in the hand to reveal their four cards in a clockwise manner, known as the “Showdown.” The best hand is determined by combining three of the community “Board” cards with exactly two cards from the player’s hand. The hand with the highest combination wins.
In the event of a tie, the pot is shared among all tied hands. A perfect tie occurs when players have the same combination of two hole cards and three community cards, often referred to as a “Chop.”
Finally, the dealer awards the entire pot to the winning player, minus a commission known as the “Rake”.
The game begins with six players participating in a $1/$2 cash game, each one with $200 as their stack or 100 big blinds. The first player to act, also known as being “Under the Gun” (UTG), raises the bet to $6. The player on the button calls the $6 bet. The small blind folds, forfeiting their forced $1 small blind bet. The big blind, who has already put in a forced $2 big blind bet, calls the $6 raise, contributing an additional $4 to match the raise.
After this preflop action, the pot contains $19. Each of the three active players has $6 in the pot, and the small blind’s $1.
Following the preflop action, three players remain in the hand. The dealer discards one card, burns it, and then places the next three cards from the deck face-up on the board. This set of community cards is referred to as “The Flop” or “Third Street.”
The player in the big blind position, who is next to act after the Small Blind (that folded preflop), checks. The UTG player decides to bet $10 into the $19 pot. The player on the button folds.
The big blind then raises the bet to $35. The player in the UTG position (the player to the right of the button) has the option to match the $35 raise,by putting $25 more into the pot, or fold. If UTG folds, the hand ends, and the big blind wins the pot, which is currently $29 (plus the $35 they put in).
Suppose the player facing the raise decides to call. This call increases the pot to $89. The flop betting round concludes with both players adding $35 to the pot.
With the flop betting round complete, the dealer burns another card, then puts a fourth community card on the board. This card is known as “The Turn”, or “Fourth street”.
The big blind starts the betting round with a bet of $50 into the $79 pot. UTG calls the $50, increasing the pot to $179. As there are no more active players remaining in the hand, the turn betting round ends.
The dealer burns one more card, and puts the fifth and final community card on the board. This card is known as “The River”, or “Fifth street”, and the “Board” is set.
The big blind now checks, and UTG also decides to check back, keeping the pot at $179. The two players then go to the showdown, and it’s time to reveal the hands and see who has the winner. The last player who made the last aggressive move (either a bet or raise) in the hand, typically shows their cards first.
Big Blind hole cards
The big blind turns over his hole cards and has a flush, using their 5♥4♥ to make a five-card hand of J♥6♥5♥4♥2♥. Note that he also has an straight using their 5♥4♥, but a flush it´s a better made hand.
UTG hole cards
The UTG player shows three-of-a-kind jacks, using their J♠J♣ to make a five-card hand of J♠J♣J♥6♥5♣. It’s important to note that he can’t use one of his fours to make a straight with the 6-5-3-2 on the board, as you must use exactly two hole cards and three community cards in Omaha.
The big blind player wins the hand with the flush, and collects the pot of $179. The dealer button shift one player to the left, the players paying for the Small Blind and Big Blind moves one position clockwise and the next hand begins.