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The Game of Omaha

As long time players of No Limit Texas Hold 'Em are beginning to get a little bored with the game, another variation of poker is coming into full view in online poker rooms such as PokerStars as one of the top choices of many pros. The game of Omaha may seen to share much in common with Texas Hold 'Em, but the truth is that there are many differences between the two free poker games, not caused in a small part by the addition of two extra cards to the player's hand. While there are many more hand combinations available in Omaha, this wide range is constrained by additional rules that govern the game. Unlike Texas Hold 'Em, where one card can be used to complete a hand, Omaha requires that a player uses exactly two of their hole cards and exactly three of the community cards to come up with their best five card hand. This means that a flush or straight cannot be completed with a single card from the player's hand. In addition, it can create some other interesting situations.

One situation that comes up quite a lot in the game of Omaha is when draws are more powerful than the strongest possible made hand. This particular type of hand is very uncommon in Texas Hold 'Em, with the sole example being one player holding top set against a straight, flush, and straight flush draw. Even in this case, the draw is only ahead by a little bit with a 54% chance of winning. On the other hand, the same type of hand in Omaha can be more skewed to the draw. In a situation where a top set is facing a wrap straight draw combined with a flush draw, the drawing player has over a 60% chance of winning. The possibility of these types of confrontations being more common in Omaha leads to many pots being built through raising wars between a made hand and one that must draw to improve. With the game commonly being played Pot Limit, players on either side of the situation can quickly find themselves all-in thinking their hand is a favorite to win.

Another interesting Omaha situation comes up often in the Split Pot version of the game. It is one of the few games where a player with both the high and low nuts on the turn can be counterfeited on the river and lose both sides of the pot. This situation is actually relatively common and one of the reasons that even pros can consider the game to be frustrating. This usually happens when a player has made a straight and the best possible low on the turn, but a river card counterfeits their low and puts a possible flush on board. In these situations, the majority of hands will only be able to take one quarter of the pot, leading to a loss for the overall hand. The many different possibilities that are possible with the game of Omaha have made it the current second most popular poker variation to be played across the world.