The Button and Posting Blinds
When playing Omaha, every single hand has to have a dealer assigned. The dealer will be assigned the button, to show that they are currently the one dealing the cards and is last to act post-flop. When you start up a new table of Omaha, the dealer button is assigned automatically by the poker software, usually by dealing all players a card face up and the player with the highest card gets awarded the button. The button will then rotate clock-wise, ensuring that in every round played, all players will have the benefits of being the dealer. The button determines which players have to act first and last in each hand.
After the button has been decided, the two players to the immediate left of the dealer will be forced to post the first bets, known as blinds. The first player after the dealer will have to post the small blind and the second player to the left of the dealer will post the big blind. The blinds have to be posted to create action in the game, ensuring there is always money or chips to be played for. If there would not be blinds, players would be able to fold every single hand for free until they would have the best possible hand, making the game very boring. Blinds are automatically posted when you play Omaha online, so all you need to focus on is playing your cards.
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Pre-Flop (First Betting Round)
The Pre-flop is the first betting round where players are dealt their four hole cards. The cards are dealt face down so the other players cannot see them and players will then have to decide what action they want to take.
The first player to act pre-flop is the player that sits to the immediate left of the big blind; the position is also known as Under the Gun (UTG).
There are three different actions that can be done by players in the first betting round:
Fold: When the hand is too weak to play, you fold it and no longer take part of the hand
Call: When you have a good hand that you want to see the flop with, you call either the big blind or the amount that has been raised with
Raise: When you have a premium hand where you want as much money in the pot as possible, you raise. In Omaha, being mainly a pot limit game, you cannot raise more than the pot size.
After the first player has made his decision, the turn to act goes clockwise around the table until all players have made their decision. If a player raises his hand, the following players will have the option to re-raise, call or fold their hands. When raising in Omaha it can be difficult to understand exactly what the amount you can raise is, luckily the poker software knows it exactly and will not allow you to bet more than possible.
The rule to calculate pot raises are: Multiply the last bet by three and add all other money in the pot.
To give an example of how to calculate a pot limit “pot” raise:
Three players are playing $2/$5 Pot Limit Omaha Game
There have been posted small and big blind, meaning there is $7 in the pot before the first player acts.
Player one announces that he will raise $5. This creates a total pot of $12.
Player two announces he will raise pot. He can raise three times the previous bet plus the additional $7 already in the pot, which amounts to $22 in total.
Player three calls the $22 and the pot is now $44 in total.
Player one folds.
The Flop (Second Betting Round)
The second round of betting is known as the flop, where the dealer deals the first three community cards and a new betting round begins. In the second betting round the first player to act is the player to the immediate left of the dealer, unlike in the first round where this player was the small blind. The last to act on the flop is the player who acts as the dealer, i.e. the button. This pattern continues for the remaining betting rounds, meaning that only pre-flop is where the player to the left of the button will not be first to act.
Players now have to make a new action depending on their hand strength. Until someone bets, it is free to check the hand and the action will simply go on the next player. Should a player bet at some point during the betting round it is not possible to check, but you can call, re-raise or fold the hand. If all players check in the betting round, we simply move on to the next betting round, otherwise it moves on when all players have made their action.
The Turn (Third Betting Round)
The third betting is known as the turn and works in the exact same way as the flop. The dealer will deal the fourth community card and the betting round will begin. Players can now check, bet, raise and fold just like on the flop and as soon as everybody has made their action the next betting round starts.
The River (Fourth and Last Betting Round)
The fourth and final betting round is known as the river. On the river the dealer will deal the last of the five community cards and begin a new betting round for the players. Just like on the flop and turn, the players can now check, call, bet and raise for the last time.
When the betting round has finished the players have to show their hand by going to showdown.
After a hand has gone through the four betting rounds, the players that are left will be forced to show their cards to determine who has the best hand and wins the pot. The player with the best five card combination consisting of two hole cards and three community cards will take the pot.