5-Card Omaha is an exciting variant of Omaha where each player is dealt 5 hole-cards on the first betting round (preflop). Exactly two of these 5 hole-cards must be used to create a five-card hand.

In regular Omaha games, players are dealt 4 hole-cards, and must use only two of those five, along with three cards from the community board to form the best hand possible. In 5-Card Omaha games, players receive 5 starting cards, instead or 4.

In this article, we’ll examine how having more than the traditional 2 starting cards in Hold’em affects the ability to make hands in 5-Card Omaha.

We will also investigate the ways that cards are assessed in the river and how to declare our hands at showdown.

Let’s get started!

The Basics: Hand Values

5-Card Omaha uses the standard high-card ranking system that is employed in other variants such as Hold’em. Here is a quick recap.

HAND NAME

DEFINITION / EXAMPLE

Royal Flush

A-K-Q-J-T (all in the same suit)

Straight Flush

8-7-6-5-4 (all in the same suit)

4-of-a-Kind

A-4-4-4-4

Full House (Boat)

A-A-A-J-J (three of one denomination, two of the other)

Flush

A-J-8-4-2 (all in the same suit)

Straight

8-7-6-5-4 (of various suits)

3-of-a-Kind (Set/Trips)

A-K-5-5-5

Two Pair

A-A-J-J-2

One Pair

A-A-7-4-2

High Card

A-Q-9-6-3 (different suits, non-connected, unpaired)

Check out a full explanation of how to play these hands here.

There are two ways to win the pot:

  1. By making the best hand and getting to showdown.
  2. When all other players fold after we bet.

The Basics: How to Make Hands

Players coming from a Hold’em background need to be a little cautious when playing Omaha variants for the first time.

We must use exactly two of our hole-cards to formulate a five-card hand.

This setup is not the same as in Hold’em where we may either use two, one, or none of our hole-cards. One of the most common beginner mistakes in Omaha is misreading hands due to incorrectly using less or more than two hole-cards.

Reading hands in Omaha (especially 5-Card Omaha) takes quite a bit of practice.

Let’s see an example -

Our Hand:QdTd7h5h4h

We’ll now look at two board textures.

See if you can figure out the strength of our hand before reading the answer.

Board 1: KhJh9s

Hand strength: King high straight (plus a flush draw). Note that we do not have a direct flush here. While it’s true that we hold 5 hearts in total, we can only use two of the hearts from our hand.

Board 2: QsTs7d

Hand strength: Two pair, Queens and Tens. The fact that we actually have three pairs does not contribute to the direct strength of our hand. However, this is not to say the third pair is meaningless, it increases our outs to make a full house by showdown.

As a final example, we might be used to two players always chopping in Hold’em if the board reads TJQKA. Players cannot play board in Omaha since they have to make use of exactly two of their hole cards.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking we are chopping when we are not!

Poker Rules: 5-Card Omaha

If we are already familiar with regular Omaha or Texas Hold’em, then we already have a good grasp of the rules for 5-Card (five card) Omaha.

For most intents and purposes, the rules are identical.

Here is the full version:

Blinds

Before any cards are dealt, the blinds must be posted. The small blind and big blind are posted by the player directly to the left of the button, and the player two seats to the left of the button respectively.

Preflop

After the blinds have been posted, each player receives 5 hole-cards, face down. Starting with the player to the direct left of the big blind, action proceeds in a clockwise direction, finishing up with the big blind.

Flop

After the preflop betting round is complete, three community cards are dealt face up in the centre of the table. The term “flop” is used to describe both the initial three community cards and constitutes the name for the entire betting round. The betting action starts with the player to the direct left of the button and proceeds in a clockwise direction.

Turn

After the flop betting round is complete, one additional community card is dealt face up in the centre of the table. The term “turn” is used to describe both the community card itself and the entire betting round. The betting action starts with the player to the direct left of the button and proceeds in a clockwise direction.

River

After the turn betting round is complete, one final community card is dealt face up in the centre of the table. The term “river” is used to describe both the community card itself and the entire betting round. The betting action starts with the player to the direct left of the button and proceeds in a clockwise direction.

If there is more than one player still remaining after the river betting round, players reach what is known as showdown. Each player reveals the strength of their hand, with the strongest hand winning the pot.

The Betting Actions

The betting options are identical in the majority of poker formats.

Here is a quick recap of the legal options:

BETTING OPTION

USAGE

Check

Action passes to our left without us making a wager. Can only be used if there is no existing bet in the current betting round.

Bet

We make the first wager in the current betting round. Other players must at least match our bet or be forced to fold. 

Fold

There is an existing wager in the current betting round,and we decide not to match it. Folding means to give up and forfeit all right to winning the pot.

Call

There is an existing wager in the current betting round. To “call” means to match that bet exactly and continue with the hand.

Raise

There is an existing wager in the current betting round, and we decide to increase the size of that wager. The original better must at least match the size of our raise or be forced to fold.

Re-raise

A player has already raised in the current street, and we elect to raise again. Any raises after the initial raise are described as “re-raises, 3-bets, 4-bets” etc.

Additional Considerations

Omaha typically uses a pot-limit betting structure. This differentiates it from Texas Hold’em which commonly makes use of a no-limit betting structure.

In a pot-limit betting structure, the maximum allowed bet size (or raise) is the size of the current pot.

While pot-sized bets are straight-forward, calculation of a pot-sized raise is a common point of confusion for many players.

Calculating a Pot Sized Raise

There is $10 in the middle on the flop. Our opponent bets $5. What is our maximum allowable raise size assuming a pot limit betting structure?

The trick is as follows –

Imagine that we call villain’s bet first before consulting the size of the pot.

If we were to call the additional $5, we see that the total size of the pot would be $20. We can hence raise $20 on top of villains $5 for an overall raise size of $25.

This may seem counter-intuitive at first, and poker players are notorious for miscalculating pot-sized raises. There is a simple check we can run, however.

If we have calculated our raise size correctly, our opponent should be investing precisely 1/3rd of the total pot when he makes his call.

In this scenario, he would have to call $20 into a total pot of $60, so we can confirm that the $25 overall sizing on the flop is indeed a pot-sized raise. (In other words, he gets 2:1 odds on a call).

Check out these 5 card PLO tips by 888poker ambassador, Vivian Saliba.

About the Author
By
Chad Holloway is a 2013 WSOP Bracelet winner who has previously worked for PokerNews as a managing editor and live reporter
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