Omaha at Sky Poker

Whether you are looking to play a Cash Game, Sit & Go or a Tournament, you can play a variation of Texas Hold’em on Sky Poker called Omaha. Novices to the poker world may be unfamiliar with this version of the game so in this article, we’re going to look at how you play the game and the differences and similarities between it and the more frequently played Texas Hold’em.

The Aim of Omaha

The aim of Omaha is exactly the same as Hold’em in that the player must make the best poker hand by using one or two of the cards in their hand (pocket cards) and any of the five community cards that are revealed as the betting rounds progress.

Betting in Omaha is exactly the same as in Hold’em with rounds of betting both pre-flop and after the flop, after the turn and after the river is revealed. The winning player is the last player standing in the hand (if all the other players have folded) or if one or more players call, then the player with the best poker hand based on traditional poker rankings win the game.

The Differences between Omaha and Hold’em

Reading the aim of Omaha above, it may seem that it is the same game as Texas Hold’em and while the aim of the game is absolutely the same, there is one crucial difference; in Omaha each player at the table is dealt FOUR pocket cards rather than two. The player can select  two cards from their pocket cards to make the best hand with any three community cards.

Indeed, this is the critical difference between Omaha and Hold’em and it seems a relatively small issue when viewed in this way, but in terms of actual game play and the odds of success, it actually is a huge difference.

In Hold’em, top players will know the statistics of the game almost as well as they understand the rules. They know the rankings of each pocket hand and the relative strength that hand has in terms of statistical percentages to win. For example, an A A hand in Hold’em is the strongest you can get.

In Omaha, because each player has double the amount of cards, the odds change considerably. Strong hands in Hold’em, such as A A, are not necessarily as strong in Omaha as other players have considerably more options to make hands that beat it.

As such, one of the key differences in Omaha is that players should not assume that because they hold pocket aces or pairs, that they are in as strong a position as they would be in Hold’em. Omaha also magnifies the importance of your betting position, with those players betting later in the round in a much more enviable position having seen how other players bet before them.

How the Game Progresses

The game of Omaha progresses in the same way that Hold’em does. Once the small and big blinds have been laid and each player has been dealt their four pocket cards, the players view them and can then decide whether to make a bet (call or raise) or to fold their hand.

After the first round of betting, the flop is then forthcoming and another round of betting takes place. The turn is then produced and another round of betting follows before the final community card, the river, is laid down and the last round of betting takes place.

Any players still in the game at the end of the final round of betting (including those who have gone all-in) reveal their cards.

The Winner

The winner of Omaha is the player who has the best poker hand using five cards, however the poker hand must consist of three cards from the five community cards and two cards from your hand. This is where Hold’em regulars can easily be confused,  regardless of the strength of your pocket cards alone, you can only nominate two cards from your pocket cards to make your hand.

So for example, if you have 7 7 7 Q as your pocket cards, you can only nominate a pair of sevens or a Q 7 to make up your final hand with any three of the community cards.

Strategy differences

The additional pocket cards do make strategy in Omaha different to Hold’em in several ways. Firstly, position in the betting is much more important and you’ll often find players less willing to make large wagers based on their pocket cards early in the betting.

Secondly, what appear to be strong hands in Omaha can quickly dissolve into much weaker positions. The statistics bear this out, a pocket hand in Omaha with two aces or similar high pairs is much easier to beat when all your opponents have four pocket cards in their hand to use with the community cards. Indeed, it is often said that the hallmark of a top quality Omaha player is not winning, but knowing when to fold a high pair against lesser cards that have become stronger due to the flop, turn or river.

Lastly, remember that in Omaha, there are no big favourites pre-flop. The sheer number of combinations of hands available to players mean that what appears to be a strong hand initially, can dissolve into nothing once the community cards are laid down. Bet sensibly pre-flop and don’t take undue risks.

Where can I play Omaha on Sky Poker?

The good news is you have plenty of choice of tables to play Omaha on the Sky Poker platform. Omaha games are played in all the three types of games on offer, Cash Games, Sit & Go and Tournaments and are available for a range of different buy in fees, including Sky Poker Points entry fees.

However, before you play for hard cash, it may be worthwhile hitting the Sky Poker Free Play tab first and seeing if there is a free game of Omaha in progress you can join in with to sharpen up your skills without risking any of your bankroll.

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