The Rules and Game Mechanics of Pot Limit Omaha Poker
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A slight, but big difference
If you’ve ever played Texas Holdem Poker before, then you won’t have any trouble adjusting to the rules of Pot Limit Omaha because they’re pretty much the same except for two things:
- Pot Limit Omaha uses four hole cards, whereas Holdem only uses two
- Players must use exactly two of these hole cards and combine them with exactly three community cards to make a hand
Also, once you’ve mastered Pot Limit Omaha, you’ll have effectively mastered all other versions of Omaha as well because they all play the same way save for some minor differences in betting mechanics.
Now that we got the intro out of the way, let’s move on to the rules and mechanics of the game:
Just like Holdem, Pot Limit Omaha also uses a single standard deck of 52 cards where the face value of each card is taken as its actual value – except for aces, which can be used either as high or low cards in straights. Suits, on the other hand, don’t have any bearing on the strength of each hand and are just used to identify flushes.
Pot Limit Omaha observes the standard rankings used by other popular five-card varieties of poker:
- Royal Flush – five suited cards in sequence topped by an ace
- Straight Flush – five suited cards in sequence topped by a king or lower
- Four of a Kind – four cards of the same value plus a single kicker card
- Full House – three cards of the same value plus a pair of cards of another value
- Flush – five cards of the same suit
- Straight – five cards in sequence
- Three of a Kind – three cards of the same value plus two random kicker cards
- Two Pair – two separate pairs of cards of the same value plus a single kicker card
- Pair – two cards of the same value plus three kicker cards
- High Card – five non-consecutive, non-suited cards
In Pot Limit Omaha, games are named after the size of blinds they use. A $2/$4 game, for instance, has a $2 small blind and a $4 big blind. These blinds must be posted by the two players to the left of the button (i.e., the position of the dealer, which moves one spot to the left after each hand). The player to the button’s immediate left posts the small blind while the next player to their left posts the big blind.
The minimum bet should always at least match the value of the big blind. The maximum bet on the other hand, is always limited by the size of the pot, which is the total amount of money or chips in the pot plus the total amount of bets currently on the table plus the total bet amount that must be called.
As for raising, the minimum raise amount is always at least equal to the previous bet or raise amount. So, for instance, if a player bet $4, then the next player must raise at least $4, bringing the total investment to $8. The maximum raise amount is also limited by the size of the pot.
After the blinds have been posted, each player is dealt four face-down hole cards, and then the first round of action begins. Each player may choose to do any of the following at this stage:
- Check – pass action to the next player in line without placing a bet (can only be done if no other player has placed a bet yet)
- Call – place a bet that matches the current bet amount
- Raise – bet more than the call amount
- Fold – take themselves out of play
The post-deal stages of the game
Pot Limit Omaha has four post-deal stages: the flop, the turn, the river and the showdown. During the flop, the first three community cards are revealed on the table, which signals the start of the second round of action. Another community card is revealed during the turn, which opens up the third round of action. The fourth and final round of action begins as soon as the fifth community card is revealed during the river.
Once the final round of action is done, all active players proceed to the showdown where they compare hands. The player with the best one wins the pot (or splits it evenly with other winning players in case there’s a tie).
Start playing Pot Limit Omaha!
Now that we’ve covered just about everything you need to know to get started in Pot Limit Omaha, it’s time to play – unless you want a quick strategy lesson first. Otherwise, go ahead and sign up for a SafeClub account right now so you can start enjoying all the online real money poker you want right at the comfort of your own home!
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