OMAHA poker (also known as Omaha) is a popular poker game in the world. There
are two types of Omaha games:
- Limit Omaha (there is a specific betting limit applied in each game and on each round of betting)
- Pot Limit Omaha (A player can bet what is in the pot)
And you can play these games for free (play money) or using real money when you play poker online.
The Omaha Game:
Omaha Poker uses what is called a dealer-button to indicate the theoretical dealer of each hand. After each hand is completed, as with standard poker rules, the button moves clockwise to the next active player. This player will be considered “the dealer” for that hand. Before the start of the game, internally the PartyPoker.com system generates a fresh deck of cards for the hand. PartyPoker.com, uses a single deck of cards to play a hand of poker, where a deck refers to 52 cards excluding the jokers. Online poker rooms use what is called the Random Number Generator (RNG) to shuffle a deck of cards for the hand.
How does it work?
The system generates a random set of numbers, which are used to place a card of the deck in a particular position. Once the complete deck is created, the deck is used for that particular hand only. We shuffle the deck of cards every time we start a hand, and the random numbers previously generated are discarded and new ones generated before the shuffle.
The First round of Omaha:
A fresh table starts of with the first person sitting on the table becoming the dealer and the next player posting the small blind. A new game on an active table starts with the button moving clockwise to the next player. The player next to the button / dealer is required to place the small blind. The small blind is equal to half the lower stake. This is a guideline for determining the blinds and not a strict rule. At PartyPoker.com the small blind is rounded down to the nearest dollar. For example – at $5/$10 Omaha per the formula the small blind should be $2.5. Instead, it is rounded of to the lower dollar, so the small blind would post $2. However, as it is just a guideline, the amount of small blind could be set differently at the time of setting up the table.
The player to the left of the small blind is required to post the big blind, equal to the lower stake limit. In a certain scenario it is possible for more than one player to post a big blind in a hand. This is if a new player joins a table at which a game is already going on. The player would get an option of placing a Big Blind at the start of the next hand or wait for his/her turn (as decided by the movement of the button) to place the Big Blind in turn.
All the blinds in Omaha poker are considered live bets and the players who posted them will have the option of checking, calling, raising or folding when the betting returns to their position.
After the blinds have been placed, the down cards / hole cards are dealt to each active player. In Omaha, 4 cards are dealt to each of the players, after which the first betting round starts. The player to the left of the player who placed the big blind starts the betting for this round.
Each player will now have the option to place his or her bets in the first round, which is set at the lower limit of the stakes structure. For example in a $10/$20 Omaha game, value of each bet is $10 for the first round. When we say the bets are limited to $10, it refers to: a Bet (single bet) of the value of $10, so when a user places “BET” then it is $10, “RAISE” would be $20 – includes one additional bet and a call on the previous bet placed by a player.
Bets can be placed by playing any of the following options – Bet, Call and Raise. Each player will also have the option to Fold. These options are available to each player depending on the action taken by the previous player. The first player (left of the Big Blind) to act (in the first round) would get the Bet, Call and Raise options. Subsequent players would also get the options of Call and Raise. To Call is to bet the same as what the previous player has bet. Raise action calls for raising whatever was the bet/call amount of the previous player, and can be calculated based on the value of the previous bet amount.
Every player participating in the hand should place equal amount of bet as the previous players (includes bets, calls and raises). Till the time all the players have placed equal amounts in the pot, the betting will continue. There is a limit on the amount and the number of bets a player can place during a betting round, which also would be considered during the hand. The numbers of bets for a particular round of betting has been mentioned below, please refer to the section on “Standard Rules” for the limits on the number of bets.
After the first round of betting is over, the Flop (the first three cards of the community) is dealt. The community cards are common to all the players participating in the hand.
The Second Round of Omaha:
After the flop and in each subsequent betting round, the first active player left of the button is first to act. The second betting round also limits the value of bets and raises to the lower limit of the stake structure. So in a $10/$20 value of each bet is $10 for the second round. When we say the bets are limited to $10, it refers to: a Bet (single bet) of the value of $10, so when a user places “BET” then it is $10, “RAISE” would be $20 – includes one additional bet and a call on the previous bet placed by a player. Bets can be placed, by playing any of the following options – Bet, Call and Raise. These options are available to each player depending on the action taken by the previous player. The first player placing the bet would get the Bet option (the player left to the Button). Other players will get the Call and Raise options only.
After this the fourth community card is dealt out – this is known as the Turn.
The Third Round of Omaha:
The third betting round starts again with the player left to the button, and bets and raises are limited to the upper limit of the stake structure ($10/$20 game, $20 would be the upper stake). When we say the bets are limited to $20, it refers to: a Bet (single bet) of the value of $20, so when a user places “BET” then it is $20, “RAISE” would be $40 – includes one additional bet and a call on the previous bet placed by a player. Bets can be placed by playing any of the following options – Bet, Call and Raise. Combinations of these options are available to the player depending on the action taken by the previous player. The first player placing the bet would get the Bet option (the player left to the Button).
After this the fifth community card is dealt out – this is known as the River.
The Fourth Round of Omaha:
The fourth (and final) betting round starts again with the player left to the button, and bets and raises are limited to the upper limit of the stake structure ($10/$20 game, $20 would be the upper stake). When we say the bets are limited to $20, it refers to: a Bet (single bet) of the value of $20, so when a user places “BET” then it is $20, “RAISE” would be $40 – includes one additional bet and a call on the previous bet placed by a player. Bets can be placed by playing any of the following options – Bet, Call and Raise. Combinations of these options are available to the player depending on the action taken by the previous player. The first player placing the bet would get the Bet option (the player left to the Button).
Some standard rules
A maximum of four bets, which includes one bet, and three raises are allowed for each betting round per player. The term cap is used to describe the final raise in a round since betting is then capped and no one can make another raise. Once capped, players will have the option of calling or folding only. Folding can be done at any stage of the game. The action of folding basically shows the player cards being moved to the dealer. The player from then on would not be considered as part of the game. He/she would not have any rights over any pots created on the table.
Apart from the fold option, a player could also get the option of “Check”, in which the player can pass his/her turn without placing a bet. This option would not always be available to the player, and depends on the actions taken by the previous player in the hand. The player HAS TO equal the amount of bet placed by any other players for each round in the hand.
Poker is typically played "table stakes", meaning only the chips in play at the beginning of each hand may be used throughout the hand. This means that the player cannot get additional funds from the cashier while he is in the midst of a game. The table stakes rule has an application called the "All-In" rule, which states that a player cannot be forced to forfeit a hand because the player does not have enough chips to call a bet.
Exceptions to the value of betting in each round:
A player who does not have enough chips to call a bet is declared All-In. The player is eligible for the portion of the pot to the point of his final wager. All further action involving other players takes place in a "side pot", which is unavailable to the player who has already gone All-In. When a player goes All-in, the pot currently at the center of the table, which has contributions from him/her as well, is treated as the main pot, over which the All-in player has rights. After the player goes all-in, all the new bets are placed in a side pot, over which only the contributing players have rights. The All-in player does not have any rights over the side pot. The side pot is then given to the next winning combination.
As this is a multi player game, the players are expected to play within a set time frame, the actions during their turn. Initially the player is given 10 seconds, after which there is a timer countdown, which is displayed on the table for 20 seconds. The user goes all-in if he has contributed some money to the pot; otherwise his hand is folded in case he/she does not respond in time. The system is intelligent in detecting if the player has got disconnected or not. This means if a players gets disconnected and reconnects back and he has some seconds left for his turn, then he is given an additional 20 seconds to play his turn. But if the player is not able to connect back to the table before the time elapses, then the player goes All-in. All-in basically means that the player is in the game, but would not be an active player (placing any bets). Whatever pot is collected till this time is referred as the main pot, and the all-in player has rights (if he wins) to this pot only. After this the money that is bet on the table is added to a side pot, over which the all-in player does not have any rights (if he wins).
After the final round of betting, it’s time for – Showdown. This refers to the action of deciding who the winner of the pot is and display of the cards from all players (though this is optional for the player, he/she need not show the cards). Five cards of the total of hole and community cards (two hole cards and 3 community cards) are to be used for deciding on the winning hands.
On the final round of betting, the player who bets first (or checks first if no one else bets) is required to show their cards first at the showdown. If they have the best hand, the remaining players may/may not show their cards as they wish. The aggressors’ hand is only turned over first if he was the last to initiate action on the river.
If two or more hands are the same ranking, the winner is the one having the higher cards. For example, a Flush with an Ace high beats a Flush with a King high. If the poker hands remain tied, then the highest card not being held in common (the kicker) determines the winner.
The suit order of the cards is not taken into account while deciding on the winning cards. PartyPoker.com follows standard rules of poker. Should poker hands be absolutely identical in ranking, the rule of poker pot distribution will be split evenly between the two or more winning players. If there is an odd chip, the winning player to the left of the button/dealer will receive it. This applies to both play money and poker for real money.
For all the four rounds of betting, the house based on set rules collects a commission, which is known as the rake in poker terminology.
The game play remains same for both No-Limit and Pot-Limit Omaha game with a few exceptions to the rules mentioned above:
In Limit Omaha a maximum of four bets is allowed per player during any betting round. This includes a (1) bet, (2) raise, (3) re-raise, and (4) cap, but in No-Limit and Pot-Limit there is no limit to the number of raises that a player can make. The only criteria being that you cannot raise yourself, (i.e. if a player bets during a betting round, then that player would have to be raised by another player in order for him/her to be able to re-raise). If all the other players in the hand only call or fold, the player would not get an option to raise, because the last raise was done by him/her.
Betting Structure for No-Limit Omaha
Minimum raise: The raise amount must be at least as much as the previous bet or raise in the same round. As an example, if the first player to act bets $100 then the second player must raise a minimum of $100 (total bet of $200).
Maximum eligible raise: The size of your stack (your chips on the table)
The Betting Rules for Pot-Limit Omaha
Minimum eligible raise: The raise amount must be at least as much as the previous bet or raise in the same round. As an example, if the first player to act bets $100 then the second player must raise a minimum of $100 (total bet of $200).
Maximum eligible raise: The size of the pot: The size of the pot is defined as the total of the active Pot (which can be either the main pot or the side pot depending on whether anyone has gone “all-in”) plus all bets on the table plus the amount the active player must first call before raising.
As an example, if the active pot is $200 and the first player to act in the round bets $150 and the next player calls $150, the third player has a maximum eligible total bet of $800. The $800 total is made up of the $150 call and $650 raise.
The $650 max raise portion is equal to the pot of $200 + first player's $150 + second player's $150 + his own call of $150.