Poker Variations – Omaha Hold’em + Omaha Hi-Lo +



All of the posts on this blog this year have focused on Texas Hold’em. While that is my fave form of poker, there are several other forms – some new, some old – and a professional needs to know more than one type. I’ll cover a few forms in a loose series, including Omaha Hold’em, 5- and 7- card stud, California Hold’em and others. This first article in the series is on Omaha Holdem and Omaha Hi-Lo (aka High-Low). I am not making a distinction between Limit and No-Limit games.


Omaha Hold’em, as the name implies, is very similar to Texas Hold’em. The betting is the same, and the same number of community (board) cards are laid down on the table. As with Texas Hold’em, Omaha can have 10 players.


The difference is that each player starts with four hole cards instead of two. To make a hand, a player picks 2 cards from their hole and 3 from 5 on the board.


On the minus side, in a tourney with 10 players, 40 cards from the deck of 52 are in the hands of players, and 5 will be on the board. This obviously becomes a very complex game.


On the plus side, you have a lot of options for forming your top hand. Out of the 4 cards in your hand and the 5 on the board, there are a number of ways you can pick out your final hand. Firstly, of the 4 cards in your hand, you can form C(4,2) = (4×3)/(2×1) = 12/2 = 6 different Texas Hold’em hands. Then, of the 5 cards on the board, you can group them into threes in C(5,3) = (5×4×3)/(3×2×1) = 10 unique groups. [I’m counting, say, A-9-3 as the same group …