Omaha: How to Make a Hand

T.J. Cloutier

There are two major differences between Texas Hold'em and Omaha.

First of all, in Omaha each player receives four hole cards rather than two. Second of all, one must use two (exactly two) of the four hole cards, along with three (exactly three) of the cards on the board (the community cards), when making a hand.

In Hold'em it is possible to use one, two or none (play the board) of the hole cards.

This article intends to clarify how this seemingly small difference sets Omaha apart from Hold'em as an entirely separate game.


Example 1

The board: 10 7 2 3 K

In Hold'em: those players holding a Heart now have a flush. Any player holding the A now holds the nuts (the best possible hand), the Q will give the second nuts, and so forth.

In Omaha: any player holding a flush must have at least two Hearts amongst his hole cards. You do not hold a flush if your hand contains only one Heart. Any A-xh-x-x combination will be the nut hand.

Example 2

The board: 7 8 9 T J

In Hold'em: every player holds a straight 7-J. Any player holding a Q has a straight (8-Q), and any player holding a KQ has the nuts (a straight 9-K).

In Omaha: You must use two cards from your hand to complete a straight. A 5-6-x-x makes the lowest straight (5-9), a K-Q-x-x makes the highest straight (9-K). A 7-8-x-x, 8-9-x-x, 9-T-x-x, T-J-x-x, J-7-x-x, and so forth, completes the J-high straight. Any Q-J-x-x, Q-T-x-x, Q-9-x-x or Q-8-x-x will complete the Q-high straight.

Example 3

The board: K K K K 9

In Hold'em: each player holds four-of-a-kind. Any player holding an A in their hand has the nuts, a Q the second nuts, and so forth.

In Omaha: No one can hold four-of-a-kind. Anyone holding A-A-x-x has the nuts (Kings full of Aces), Q-Q-x-x the second nuts (Kings full of Queens), and so forth.

Example 4

The board: K K K 7-As

In Hold'em: a player holding the K has the nuts (four-of-a-kind with an A-kicker), AA makes the second nuts (Aces full of Kings), and so forth.

In Omaha: A player holding an A-K-x-x holds the nuts (four-of-a-kind with an A-kicker), a player holding K-Q-x-x holds the second nuts (four-of-a-kind with a Q-kicker), and so forth.

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