Omaha High is a type of community poker. Community poker games feature a number of cards that are dealt face up in front of the dealer. The cards are shared by all players. Players then use both their own cards and the community cards to form a winning hand.
Omaha High variations are defined by their betting limits:
Limit Omaha High (there is a specified betting limit in each game and on each round of betting)
Pot Limit Omaha High (a player can bet what is in the pot)
No Limit Omaha High (a player can bet all of their chips at any time)
The dealer of each hand is indicated by a small disc called the “dealer button”. The first player seated will get the dealer button at a new table. The dealer button then moves clockwise to the next player when the hand is completed. This will ensure that each player has the chance of playing early or late and that every player gets a chance to post the “blind bets”.
Note: During Single Table Tournaments the player to first get the dealer button is determined through a high card draw (each player is dealt one card; the player with the highest value card goes first. If two or more players have the same value card then they are ranked according to suit – high to low – spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs).
The “small blind” (equal to half the lower stake) is placed by the player to the left of the dealer button and the next player to the left is required to place the “big blind” (equal to the lower stake limit). Once the blind bets have been made, the cards are dealt and the next player to the left starts the first betting round.
Since both the small and the big blinds are considered live bets the player has the option of checking, calling, raising or folding when the betting action comes back to their position. After the flop and after each subsequent betting round, the first to act is the first active player left of the button.
A player who sits down at an active table is required to post the equivalent of the big blind. Players are also required to post the small blind and the big blind upon re-entry (returning from sitting out) to the game if both blinds are missed (only the big blind amount is posted as a live bet and the remainder is added directly to the pot). This is done to prevent ‘blinds abuse’. All players have the option of sitting out and waiting for the button to rotate to their position before starting to play.
The mandatory posting of the blind ensures fairness to all players by preventing players from constantly switching seats to gain a positional advantage, or from entering games in a late position and then leaving before they are required to post the big blind.
The first betting round starts with the player to the left of the “big blind” and they have the option to bet, raise or fold. The remaining players can then call, raise or fold. To “call” mean to bet the same as the previous player. If the first player chooses to fold, then the next player will have the option to bet while the remaining players can call.
The first betting round bets are set at the lower limit of the stakes structure, so in a $10/$20 game the value of a bet is $10 while the raise is $20 (a raise includes a call of the previous bet plus an additional bet).
The second round begins after the flop (when the first 3 community cards have been dealt).
The first player to act is the player to the left of the dealer button. Checking means to refrain from betting and would only be available if no bet has yet been made in the betting round. The remaining players will only have the option to call, raise or fold once a bet has been made. The second also limits the bets and raises to the lower limit of the stakes structure.
The third round of betting begins after the Turn (when the fourth community card has been dealt).
The player to the left of the dealer button begins the betting (bet, check or fold). The difference this time however, is that the bets and raises are limited to the upper limit of the stakes structure. Each subsequent player can then call, check, raise or fold (a player can only check if no bet has been made).
After the River card (the final community card) has been dealt, the final round of betting begins.
The player to the left of the dealer button bets, checks, raises or folds. Bets and raises are limited to the upper limit of the stakes structure. Remaining players can then choose to call, check, raise or fold (a player can only check if no bet has been made).
To make their hand, remaining players must use 2 of their cards and 3 community cards.
The pot is split equally if two or more players have the same hand.
In some case, such as Omaha Limit High, a maximum of four bets are allowed per player in a betting round. In No Limit and Pot Limit Omaha High, a player can raise as many times as they like. However, a player is never permitted raise themselves if all other active players simply call them.
If a player does not have enough chips to call a bet, and they still choose to call, then this player is declared All-In. This player would then be eligible for the portion of the pot up to the point of their final bet.
Any further bets by any other players are considered the “side pot”, which any All-In players up to that point are excluded from.