Omaha and Holdem

The two big diiferences between Hold'em and Omaha are, first, that in Omaha you receive four facedown (or "hole") cards, instead of two and, second, that in Omaha you must use two and exactly two of the four cards in your hand, along with three and exactly t hree of the five board ( community) c ards. This distinction makes s witching from Hold'em to Omaha very difficult for some players, because in Hold'em you're allowed to use one, both, or neither of y our hole cards i n putting t ogether your final hand.

For e xample, i n Hold'em, i f t here i s a flush or a straight on the board, your hand is a flush or a straight, even if your hole cards don't contribute t o it i n any way. Of course, it's possible for your hole cards to improve a flush or straight that is on the board: if the board shows 7-8-9-10-, and you have a queen in your hand, then you have a queen-high straight. Or perhaps the board wiil be \ - \ - -_V , and the \ in your hand makes you the best possible hand. Often a Hold'em board wiil come down 7-8-9-10-, and all t he active players in the hand end up spliiting the pot because they all end up playing the board (no active player has a queen).

But in Omaha, that 7-8-9-10- board does not give you a straight unless two of the four cards in your hand allow you to complete a straight. For example, if your hand is A-A-9-10, the 9-10 that l ooked so i nsignificant to you when you started the hand, compared with your fine pair of a ces, now gives you the straight. Similarly, you can play the j ack-high straight if you hold 7-J-X-X (7- from your hand and 8-9-10 from the board) or 8---XC-X (8- from your hand and 7-9-10 from the board) or any other combination of 7 through J in your hand. With a board of 7-89-10-, you would have a queen-high straight with 8-Q (8-Q from your hand and 9-10- from the board) or 9-Q or 10-Q or J-Q as part of your four s tarting ("hole") cards. You would need exactly a Q-K as part of your four-card hand to make a kinghigh straight.

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