Omaha is the world’s second most popular poker game, right behind Texas Hold’em. There are two major variations of Omaha: Pot Limit and Eight-or-Better (or, Omaha High-Lo).
Omaha is a game of "the nuts,” because it frequently takes the best possible high or low hand to win a showdown. It is also a game where between the cards in his hand and the community cards a player may have drawing possibilities to multiple different types of holdings. For example, a player may have both a draw to a flush and a full house using different combinations of cards. At times, even seasoned players may need additional time to figure what draws are possible for their hand.
Omaha is very similar to Texas Hold'em; the main difference being that each player is dealt four cards to his private hand instead of two. The betting rounds and layout of community cards are identical. At showdown, each player's hand is the best five-card hand he can make from exactly three of the five cards on the board, plus exactly two of his own cards. Unlike Texas Hold'em, a player cannot play four or five of the cards on the board with fewer than two of his own, nor can a player use three or four hole cards to disguise a strong hand.
Eight-or-Better (Hi-Lo Split, 8/Better, Hi-Lo) is a common American variation of Omaha, in which each player makes a separate five-card high hand and five-card ace-to-five low hand (eight-high or lower to qualify), and the pot is split between the high and low (which may be the same player). To qualify for low, a player must be able to play an 8-7-6-5-4 or lower (this is why it is called "eight-or-better,” or simply "Omaha/8"). This game is usually played in the fixed limit version, although pot limit Omaha/8 is becoming more popular. A few low-stakes online tournaments feature even no limit Omaha/8.
Pot Limit Omaha
Europe’s most popular form of poker, Pot Limit Omaha (usually called “PLO”). It is more often played high only, but can also be played Hi-Lo. It’s also become a very popular high-stakes online game, as well as in live mixed games.
In PLO, no player can raise more than the size of the total pot, including
chips collected from previous betting rounds, previous action in the current betting round, and/or a call from the player making the raise. This does not preclude a player from raising less than the maximum so long as the amount of the raise is equal to or greater than any previous bet or raise in the same betting round.
Omaha is a great option for you Texas Hold’em players who are looking to branch out and try a different game. It’s not so different as to demand a whole new learning curve, and it’s different enough to give you something new to play. And don’t forget, Omaha is one heck of an action game.