TEXAS HOLD'EM POKER
In Texas Hold'em, each player is given 2 pocket cards. The game continues with a total of 5 community cards face up, first 3, then 1 after the other. Between each deal there is a round of betting.
Hold'em is played with two blinds (a bet before the pocket cards are received). The first two players after the dealer pay the blinds. The small blind is posted by the first player and the big blind by the second. In heads-up games, the player seated after the dealer pays the big blind. The first two betting rounds are played with the lower limit while the last two rounds of betting are played with the higher limit.
Although it can theoretically be played by up to 22 players (or 23 if burn cards are not used), it is generally played with between 2 and 10 people. It is one of the most positional of all poker variants, since the order of betting is fixed throughout all betting rounds.
Objective of Texas Holdem
Like most variants of poker, the objective of Texas hold 'em is to win pots, where a pot is the sum of the money bet by oneself and other players in a hand. A pot is won either at the showdown by forming the best five card poker hand out of the seven cards available, or by betting to cause other players to fold and abandon their claim to the pot.
The objective of winning players is not winning individual pots, but rather making mathematically correct decisions. As a result of making such decisions, winning poker players are able to maximize their expected utility and win more money than they lose in the long run.
When only two players remain, special 'head-to-head' or 'heads up' rules are enforced and the blinds are posted differently than expected. In this case, the dealer posts the small blind, while his/her opponent places the big blind.
The three most common variations of hold 'em are limit hold 'em, no-limit hold 'em and pot-limit hold 'em. Limit hold 'em has historically been the most popular form of hold 'em found in casino live action games in the United States. In limit hold 'em, bets and raises during the first two rounds of betting (pre-flop and flop) must be equal to the big blind; this amount is called the small bet. In the next two rounds of betting (turn and river), bets and raises must be equal to twice the big blind; this amount is called the big bet. No-limit hold 'em is the form most commonly found in televised tournament poker and is the game played in the main event of the World Series of Poker. In no-limit hold 'em, players may bet or raise any amount over the minimum raise up to all of the chips the player has at the table (called an all-in bet). In pot-limit hold 'em, the maximum raise is the current size of the pot.
How to play Texas Holdem
Play begins with each player being dealt two cards face down. These cards are the player's hole or pocket cards. These are the only cards each player will receive individually, and they will only (possibly) be revealed at the showdown, making Texas hold 'em a closed poker game.
The hand begins with a "pre-flop" betting round, beginning with the player to the left of the big blind (or the player to the left of the dealer, if no blinds are used) and continuing clockwise. A round of betting continues until every player has either folded, put in all of their chips, or matched the amount put in by other all other active players. See betting for a detailed account. Note that the blinds are considered "live" in the pre-flop betting round.
After the pre-flop betting round, assuming there remain at least two players taking part in the hand, the dealer deals a flop, three face-up community cards. The flop is followed by a second betting round. This and all subsequent betting rounds begin with the player to the dealer's left and continue clockwise.
After the flop betting round ends a single community card (called the turn or fourth street) is dealt, followed by a third betting round. A final single community card (called the river or fifth street) is then dealt, followed by a fourth betting round and the showdown, if necessary.
Omaha may resemble Texas Hold�em in the fact that it is a game played with five community cards but the game is quite different. There are two variations of the game, Omaha High only and Omaha Hi/Lo split.
Omaha is a poker game derived from Texas Hold'em. Each player is dealt four cards ("hole cards"), which belong only to that player. Five community cards are dealt face-up on the "board". All players use three of the five community cards together with two of their hole cards to make the best five-card poker hand.
Players form their best five-card poker hands from nine available cards: four personal and five community cards. Each five-card hand must consist of exactly two personal cards and three community cards.
How to play Omaha Poker
- Collect the ante from each player.
- Begin the game by dealing four cards to each player. Two of these cards will be used to make the player's hand.
- Follow with a round of betting.
- Deal the "flop" - discard, or burn, the top card of the deck and place the next three cards face up in the center of the table. There will eventually be five cards in the center of the table, three of which must be used.
- Follow with a round of betting.
- Burn the top card and add the fourth community card.
- Follow with a round of betting.
- Burn the top card and add the fifth and final community card.
- Finish with a round of betting.
- Determine the winner.
OMAHA HI/LO POKER
You may hear the split game called Hi-Lo, Omaha 8, or simply Eight or Better. It is all the same game. Hi-Lo seems to be the most popular with the players an you will find more of these games than you will Omaha high only in the card rooms. Low Limit Hi-Lo is gaining in popularity as the players like the chance of having a split pot. Because the high and low are splitting the pot there are more players staying in for the River card making many of the pots very large.
The player with the best five-card hand for high wins half the pot, and the player with the best hand for low win the other half. In Omaha, players must use two and only two of their four hole cards in combination with three cards from the board. In the event of identical hands, the high and low shares of the pot will be equally divided between the players with the best hands. In the event that no hand qualifies for low, the best hand(s) for high wins the pot.
For a five card hand to qualify for low, it cannot include cards higher than 8 or contain any pairs. Aces can be used for both high and low. When comparing low hands, the winner is the hand with the lowest high card, thus 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 is better than Ace, 2, 3, 4, 8. The best possible low hand is Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5.
In order to have a hand qualify as low there must be no cards higher than 8 in your five card hand.
A flush or straight is ignored when making a low hand. Therefore the lowest hand is A 2 3 4 5. Since in Omaha you must use two cards from your hand, there must be three cards on the board that are eight or lower. If there is no qualifying low hand the winner with the highest hand will win the whole pot.
Start Playing Omaha hi/lo Poker at BookMaker
The Best Starting Hand
There are 5,277 four card combinations that can be dealt with a 532 card deck. When you figure in the suited combinations there are 270,725 combinations that can be made. Most of these will be losers. Because you want to scoop the pot in Hi-Lo your will usually need to hold of an ace if you expect to win the small half of the pot. According to simulations run by Bill Boston and published in his book, Omaha High-Low, the best starting hand is A-A-2-3 Double suited. Double suited means that the A-2 is suited and the A-3 is suited as well. This gives you a good chance at the nut flush in two different suites. It also has possibilities for a straight as well. If an Ace 2 or 3 appears on the board your hand will not be counterfeited and you have the best shot at the nut low as well.
Choosing Your Starting Hand
One method for choosing a starting hand is to use a point count method.
To do this each card combination in your hand is assigned a value and you add together all the points to determine the strength of your four card hand.
When I started learning Omaha HI-Lo, I picked up Wilson�s Turbo Omaha Hi-Lo Split software program to practice with. In the manual was a simple point count system that is very easy to learn and has helped me in choosing a starting hand. Here is how it works.
The basic premise is that there are two winning hands for each game: the strongest (highest) hand and the weakest (lowest) hand split the pot. There is no qualifying for winners on the "High" side - the best high hand automatically wins half the pot and could win the whole pot. To win the "Low" side of the pot, however, you must qualify with a certain type of hand.
To qualify for Low: It takes a five-card hand with different numerical values from Ace through eight (with the Ace being the lowest). The best "Low" hand is A, 2, 3, 4, 5 (also known as the "wheel" or "bicycle"). The winning "Low" hand goes to the player with the lowest high card. For example, a player with a 2,4,5,6,7 would have a better "Low" hand than someone with an A,2,4,6,8. If two or more players have the same high card, the player with the second lowest card (or third, fourth, or fifth if necessary) in their hand wins the low side of the pot.
Ties: In case two or more players "tie" for one side of the pot, they will split that half into equally divided portions. If there is an odd chip(s), it will go to the person(s) closest to the left of the "button". (One player winning the "High" side and two players who ties for the "Low" side is not uncommon in Omaha Hi-Lo.)
Some things to Remember
Straights and Flushes do NOT count against you when qualifying for "Low".
You are permitted to use different cards in your hand for the "High" side and different cards for the "Low" side or the same cards for both the "High" and "Low" sides. In a split pot, any leftover odd chip goes to the "High" side of the pot.