Omaha is a very similar game to hold´em. In fact it is exactly the same as hold´em with the exception of two important rules:
- Before the flop, each player is dealt four hole cards instead of two.
- Each player MUST use two of their four hole cards in combination with any three community cards to make their best five-card poker hand.
You may recall that in hold´em, you have the option of using your two hole cards and the five community cards in any combination to make the best five-card hand. This gives you some degree of flexibility. Omaha is more restrictive. You MUST use two of your four hole cards and three community cards. Therefore, you cannot use one hole card with four community cards or three hole cards with two community cards to make the best five-card hand. Such combinations are not permitted.
For example, if the community cards in hold´em are 4-5-6-7-10 and you have A-8 as your hole cards, you have a straight to the eight. That is, you are using 4-5-6-7 (four cards) from the community cards in combination with the one of your hole cards: the 8. If the community cards were the same, but we were playing Omaha and your hole cards were A-K-Q-8, you would not have a straight. In other words, you must use two hole cards with three community cards to make the best five-card hand and there are no exceptions to this rule whatsoever. Therefore, you would not have a straight in the above example because you would be deviating from the rule by using four community cards and one hole card. Aside from these two important differences, hold´em and Omaha are identical in all other respects.