Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Play Omaha Poker

Hands That Work Together
In Hold'em, because you start with only two cards, you have only one combination of two cards. In Omaha, you start with four cards that can create six unique two-card combinations. The best starting hands have all four cards working together. Hands that have three cards working together with one card that doesn't (often called a dangler) are weaker than ones with all four working in conjunction.

Here are some examples of starting hands that work together:

Best two low cards
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.

You have the best two low cards (A,2) with counterfeit protection (4) and the possibility to make a straight -- A, 2, 3, 4, 5 -- or an ace high flush in spades with the A-9.

This hand has a low draw
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
This hand has a low draw (A,2) and three high draws (ace high flush, king high flush, and straight possibilities with the A, K; K, 9 or A, 2).

arguably this is the best starting hand
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
Arguably this is the best starting hand in Omaha/8 since you have the three lowest cards, two flush draws -- both ace high, a pair of aces, and a wheel possibility.

cards all work together
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
These cards all work together as any combination of low cards while giving you a straight draw, and if an ace hits the board you will have the best possible low if a low is possible.

In the next section, we will view three examples of hands that don't work together.

For more information on Omaha poker and other variations, try the following links: