Poker: What is (Pot Limit) Omaha and how do I play it?

Pot Limit Omaha (or PLO) is one of the most action-packed and popular games around. It's a great balance of skill and luck; with a far greater chance of making the big, exciting hands than - say - Texas Hold'em. You can expect lots of action and lots of big pots!

How is it played?

Pot Limit Omaha is effectively structured exactly the same as Texas Hold'em but players begin with four hole cards instead of two. Unlike Hold'em, where you can use one (or even none) of your hole cards to make the best hand, Pot Limit Omaha requires you to use two of your four hole cards in conjunction with three of the community cards come showdown. For example, holding the ace of clubs in your hand when there are four clubs on the board would give you a flush in Hold'em regardless of what your other card is. However, PLO requires you to hold two clubs in your hand in order to have a flush in this situation.

What are the blinds like?

Pot Limit Omaha uses a system of forced bets called 'blinds' just as in Hold'em. These are two bets made before the cards are dealt, one small and one big, that slowly move around the table each hand to ensure everyone pays them equally. The Blinds always fall to the left of the dealer button, with the small blind on the immediate left of the dealer, and the big blind to the immediate left of the small blind.

How much can I bet during the game?

Omaha can be played as both a limit or a no limit game, but is almost always played as a pot limit game because neither of the other formats suit so well. This means that you can bet up to and including the size of the pot at any point, but no more.

Are there any other variants of Omaha?

Yes - Omaha is also played as a High/Low split game. You can find a full guide to this varient of Omaha in the Poker School.

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