5-Card Omaha is a variation of the Omaha family of Poker. This variant is unique due to the fact that layers are dealt five cards as opposed to four cards in regular Omaha Poker.
Five-card Omaha is a fast-paced game that has become popular in recent years. Below we will explain how to play it step by step.
How to Play 5-Card Omaha Poker?
5-Card Omaha Poker is played using the standard Anglo-American 52-card deck. Jokers are always omitted if present. Due to the high volume of cards dealt to each Player, sometimes a second or third deck may be used in the case of a large number of Players. Generally, 5-card Omaha can be comfortably played with 2-6 Players per deck available.
First-Deal and Blinds (Pre-Flop)
5-Card Omaha, like many Hold’em variations, utilizes a system of blinds. The Blind is a predetermined amount of money that Players must meet in order to participate in the game.
Each Player will be dealt five cards, face-down, before they are required to pay their blinds. Players take turns, choosing to fold or pay into the Blind.
Most Players are free to fold their card immediately at the start of their turn, without paying the blind at all. However, there are two players that must pay the blind on a compulsory basis:
- Small Blind
- Big Blind
The Small Blind sits to the immediate left of the Dealer, and the Big Blind to the immediate left of the Small Blind. At the end of a hand, all of these positions move one seat clockwise. This way, every Player will eventually be the Small and Big Blinds, as well as the Dealer, several times in a given hand.
The Big Blind must pay the entire Blind, while the Small Blind must only pay half. If the Blind is $10, Big pays 10, Small pays $5.
Even if they wish to fold, the Big and Small Blinds must still make their required payments.
Once every Player that wishes to participate has paid their blind, the Dealer will deal out three face-up community cards known as the Flop. Players compare their five-card hands to the three cards on the table, and prepare for the first proper betting round.
A betting round begins, where Players have 5 possible positions:
When folding, Players surrender all of the money they have already paid into the pot, but are free from any obligations to pay further into the pot. However, if a Player folds they do not receive any winnings, even if their folded cards WOULD have won the pot.
Players may check if they are the first Player taking their turn in the betting round, or if all other Players before them have also checked during this round. Players are obligated to match the previously highest bet, and as checking is essentially a wager of 0, if there is another outstanding wager 0 will not match that highest bet. A check is an opportunity to see other Player’s wagers, before making one’s own.
A call is when a Player is matching a previous Player’s outstanding bet, without increasing upon it. “Player 1 wagers $5, Player 2 calls $5. “
A Bet is simple a wager made before any other Players have done so. “Player 1 bets $5.”
A Raise is an increase upon the previously highest bet. In the 5-Card PLO version of the game, there is what’s known as the Pot Limit which is a restriction on the raises a Player can make. This is explained below in the FAQ section.
There is also a special raise, known as the All-In, which forces the creation of a side-pot, and in which a Player bets all of the money they possess.
Once Players have made the appropriate wagers or folds, the Dealer will turn over another single community card, known as the Turn. After this card is revealed, Players undertake another betting round, following all of the same procedures explained above.
After this, another community card is revealed, called the River. Another final betting phase will occur, before the Showdown, in which Players compare the melds they were able to make, with the highest meld taking the totality of the pot.
Remember, you must use two, and only two, of your five hole cards in order to form the best possible 5-card Poker hand. Players may not use any more, or any less, than two of their hole cards.
5-Card Omaha Rules
- Players must pay the blind if they wish to participate. The Small and Big Blinds must pay their required wagers even if they wish to fold.
- Players can always fold on their turn, but it surrenders any money already paid and any chance to win the pot.
- Some versions of Five-card Omaha limit the amount you may raise, but others leave it completely unrestricted.
- Exactly two of your hole cards must be combined with any three of the five total community cards in the Flop, Turn, and River.
Below is a simple table denoting the possible Melds in Five Card Omaha, and examples for them.
If a Player is unable to put together any of the above melds, then their highest individual card will be used to determine their victory.
If there are two Players with no meld, and one has a King, and one has an Ace, the Player with the Ace wins the pot.
Imagine the following are your five hole-cards:
6♠ 2♦ 3♥ J♣ K♠
And the following are the community cards:
4♥ 5♥ 2♣ Q♦ 7♣
Although you are able to form a pair of 2s, this would not be the best possible meld a Player can form with the above cards. Using the 3♥ and 6♠, a Player would be able to form a straight of 3-4-5-6-7.
Basic Strategy and Tips
- As you can only use two cards from your hand, try to use the best possible cards possible. For example, if you have a 3, and a 9, and can form a straight of either 3-4-5-6-7, or a straight of 5-6-7-8-9, form the higher straight. It’s very slim, but your odds of victory increase slightly the higher the value of the cards in your meld, as it will beat another player with the same meld but of worse quality.
- Remember that you’re playing against real people. Real people can be tricked. If you’re in a desperate situation, or if you have adequately intimidated the other Players at the table by only betting high when your cards are strong, you can successfully bluff and fool Players into believing your cards are good or bad.
- The best way to prepare Players for a bluff is to play consistently. This is known as “conditioning”, a psychological concept used in many different card games. Essentially, just like Pavlov and his Dogs, you are conditioning the other Players at the table into believing your behavior when you have good cards. A good Poker Player is able to convince other Players that their hand is very strong when it is weak, or very weak when it is strong, in order to win the highest possible payouts for the lowest possible risk.
What is the difference between Omaha and 5-card Omaha?
In traditional Omaha Poker, Players are dealt 4 cards for the hole. 5-Card Omaha, as the simple name suggests, is merely a version of the game played using 5 hole cards instead.
What is the difference between Pot Limit and No Limit?
The Pot Limit is a game mechanic that is most common in 5 Card Omaha-style games, though it is a rule that can be added to any game of Poker.
A Pot Limit is merely a requirement for Players: They may not bet more than the total value of the pot at the time of their wager, or a percentage of the total pot, depending on how limited the Pot is.
For example, if the pot is $5, then the Player cannot wager any more than $5, or $2.50, depending on the rules.
What is the best starting hand in 5-card Omaha?
Although it might seem that the best starting hand in 5-card Omaha would be a Royal Flush in the hole, this is not the case. Players must use exactly two of the hole cards in their hand in conjunction with the three community cards to form the best possible five-card Poker meld. No more, and no less.
This means the best possible hand would be any hand containing an Ace and King, as this brings up the opportunity to win a Royal Flush.
However, the odds on that are very long and unlikely. Overall, the best hand is probably any hand containing a pair of Kings or Aces, as it gives a guaranteed high pair at the start of the game.
Are there any variations on 5-Card Omaha Poker?
There are many variations of 5-Card Omaha. Generally, any mechanical variation that can be added to other Poker games can be added here. One could play 5-Card Omaha HiLo, or 5-Card PLO (Pot Limit).