Texas Hold ‘em poker – known simply as Hold ‘em amongst the gaming community – is undoubtedly the most popular form of poker in the world today. Indeed, the vast majority of newcomers introducing themselves to the gaming world through the free online poker games offered by skypoker.com will gravitate towards Hold ‘em, and this is understandable. The catchy name, and extensive press coverage of big money international tournaments over the last decade or so, has made Hold ‘em a recognisable name far beyond the gaming world. Close relation Omaha Hold ‘em, on the other hand remains obscure to most novices, which is a shame as Omaha frequently delivers more action. Here is the lowdown on what appears to be a slight variation of its famous Texan cousin, but is in fact a game with a quite different dynamic. First tip: it’s commonly known simply as Omaha.
Omaha shares the same basic structure as Hold ‘em, in that each player is dealt private hole cards, after which community cards are laid on the table in the three stages known as the Flop, Turn and River. Just like Hold ‘em, there are four rounds of betting following each deal of the cards. Omaha also shares the same finale as Hold ‘em, with a final showdown occurring if more than two players remain in the hand after the fourth and final round of betting. So what’s the big difference with Omaha?
In Omaha, four hole cards are dealt to each player at the start of each hand (rather than the two received when playing Hold ‘em). If play progresses to a showdown, the best five card hand made by each player must contain two hole cards, and three of the five community cards on the board. By contrast, the final hand in Hold ‘em can be constructed of any of the seven cards available to the player, which means both, one or none of the hole cards can be used to make the strongest hand in Hold ‘em.
While the difference may seem subtle, having the two extra hole cards in Omaha tends to generate a lot more action. More players will stay in the round to see the flop, and it is not uncommon for three or more players to make it right through to the showdown. This is where the value of taking an introduction to Omaha through free online poker games really becomes apparent, as the game often gets a lot more complicated than Hold ‘em.
This is largely due to the additional hole cards in Omaha, which tend to mean that you need a stronger final hand to win. This means that being a good Omaha player requires knowing more
More showdowns also means the use of bluffing must be more selective. Perhaps more importantly, the greater likelihood of multiplayer showdowns means taking into account the tactics of more than just one other player (in contrast, the majority of showdowns in Hold ‘em involve just two players).about things like card odds when compared to Hold ‘em. Card odds concern the likelihood of favourable community cards appearing over each round of dealing, given the hole cards that you started with – for a more detailed description of this calculation, look here: http://www.omahabee.com/omaha_poker_odds.php.