Difference Between Texas Hold’em and Omaha Poker

Posted By: Date: 03/12/2012 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

Long ago, when anyone first learned to play poker, they were taught 5 Card Draw, or Stud Poker. These days, Texas Hold’em is the dominating poker game. Over the last 5 years or so, there is another form that had risen in the ranks known as Omaha Poker. 

Texas Hold’em remains the reigning champion among most popular forms of poker, and Omaha is very closely related to this game, but there is a most intriguing factor that has drawn many players to the Omaha tables. It has everything to do with the player’s Hole Cards.

Hole cards are the cards a player is dealt face down that no one else is privy to seeing. In Texas Hold’em, a player is given 2 Hole Cards with which to combine with the 5 community cards that are dealt face up in the center of the table. The player who makes the best 5 card poker hand using these cards, in any possible combination, wins the pot.

In Omaha Poker, players are given 4 hole cards. The community cards are the same, 5 face up for all to combine with their hole cards. However, the rules of card combining change drastically. The player is required to use exactly 2 hole cards with exactly 3 community cards to make the best possible hand. 

These rules can be a gift and a curse. If a player is dealt 4 Aces in the hole, they would only be permitted to use 2 of them, with full knowledge that there will be no more Aces coming up on the table. 

In the same token, a player might be dealt 4-5-7-9 in the hole, giving them a much larger range of Straight and Straight Draw potential from the field. One thing that trips up newcomers to the game of Omaha Poker is forgetting that only 2 cards may be used. In this case, if the community cards revealed 2-6-8-J-K, an inexperienced player might think he has a 5-9 Straight, when in fact he does not because he cannot use the 5, 7 and 9. In reality, he only has King High. 

It is not recommended to make the switch to Omaha Poker with real money on the line. If you have been playing Texas Hold’em for any length of time, you should practice Omaha Poker for awhile before gambling with real money. Not only are the rules tricky to get used to, the winning hands are generally a lot stronger in Omaha. Pocket Aces may be a very strong hand to play in Texas Hold’em, but 2 or even 3 Aces will often lose to a Straight, Flush or Full House in Omaha Poker.