Omaha Poker: Here’s Where You Get Four Hole Cards Instead of Two

If you’re a poker player you undoubtedly know that Texas Holdem is the number one choice for players at poker room tournaments and cash games. The game is so popular that even James Bond favored it over his preferential game of Baccarat in the 2006 remake of the 1967 movie, Casino Royal..

The lesser known game of Omaha Poker is also offered at most major poker rooms. One version is called Pot Limit Omaha There are two major differences between Pot Limit and No limit Holdem:

· Players are dealt four hole cards instead of two

· Players may only raise to the size of the pot

All the other action is the same. There are five community up cards dealt by the house dealer between betting rounds: three called the flop, one called the turn and one more called the river.

Before play, the dealer places a white disc called the button in front of the player immediately to her left. The button represents a theoretical dealer and holds an advantage for the player because he is the last to act during a hand. The button moves one player to the left after each round.

The first player to the left of the button is called the small blind. The player to the left of the small blind is the big blind. Both players must put a pre-determined amount of money in the pot before any cards are dealt. The blinds also move one position to the left after each round. Their purpose is to incite action by ensuring an ample amount of money in the pot prior to play. The amounts increase after preset timed periods. Four cards are dealt clockwise face down to each player. The first player to the left of the big blind is under the gun and starts the action with one of three options:

o Muck, (fold) all four cards to stay out of the hand

o Call, by betting the amount of the big blind

o Raise, by betting twice the amount of the big blind.

Players may think that having four hole cards to play with may be more beneficial than two as in Texas Holdem but it’s quite the contrary because you can only use two of the cards together with three community cards from the board to make your best possible This makes the game very interesting. Here are some reasons why:

· The size of the pot grows quickly because the four hole cards allow for more drawing hands. Players often see the hands to the end of the betting rounds because the two card choice is not made until the final hand is played.

· In that the drawing hands are more frequent, opponents also have hands that they are more likely to bluff with.

· Double suited hands with high cards such as a Jack, King of spades and an Ace, Queen of diamonds are favorites due to the flush possibilities.

· Unfavorable hands at pre-flop can include three of a kind and two pair because only two of the cards can be used in the final round.

Another version of Omaha Poker is called Hi-LO Omaha, which is played exactly the same as Pot Limit except the pot is divided between the winners with the highest ranking hand and the lowest ranking hand. A winning low ranking hand cannot contain any pair or a card higher than an eight. Also, a straight with ace through five can be used to win a high or low hand.

Next time you’re in the casino poker room you may want to give Omaha a try.

Good Luck!

Open Face Chinese Poker – A New Twist to an Old Card Game

Chinese Poker is a poker game popular with Asian players and now has a new variant called Open Face Chinese Poker. This card game is simple and not much strategy is required for players that like to play poker.

How to Play Open Face Chinese Poker

You will first have to know poker hand rankings. The objective is to have a better poker ranking hand(s) than the other player(s) at the table which accommodates two to four players. Each player will receive a total of thirteen cards to make 3 poker hands. Points (units) are awarded or the various winning hands. A monetary value per point is established before play begins.

Each player first receives five cards from a standard 52 card deck. A dealer button is used to identify a dealer position. the button rotates to he left after each hand is played. This is important because he player with the button is the last to act. This is known as having “position” on the other players. Starting with the first player to the left of the button, players must flip their cards face up and start setting them into what is known as a Chinese Poker 3-5-5 format. These are three separate poker hands:

  • A 3 card hand at the top
  • A 5 card hand in the middle
  • A 5 card hand at the bottom

Each hand must be progressively stronger starting with the 3 card hand at the top. The middle hand must outrank the top hand and the bottom (back) hand must outrank the middle. If you’re lucky and your initial 5 cards are very strong, such as a full house or a flush, you can use all five at the bottom, and build the middle and top during the draws. Once you initially set the three hands they are cast in stone. You cannot switch cards between the three hands.

Each player is then dealt one card at a time to complete the remaining hands into the proper 3-5-5 format. If a hand is miss-set the player automatically receives a “foul” and loses the hand.For example, having two pair on the bottom hand while setting three of a kind in the middle would be a foul, in that three of a kind outranks two pair, where the bottom is supposed to be the strongest.

A player is awarded one unit for winning two of three hands and six units for winning all three, which is known as “scooping”. In addition, royalty points are awarded for achieving certain hands, such as a bottom would win two units for a straight, and up to twenty for a royal flush. The top hand is one point for a pair of sixes ( lowest qualifying hand) and up to twenty for trip aces. Straights and flushes do not count in the three card hand.

Playing Strategy

It is very important to pay attention to the dealt cards to determine which ones are alive or dead. (Dead cards are already dealt.) For example, if you’re waiting for a queen to complete a full house and three of them belong to other players, you’re out of luck.

Is It Legal to Play Online Poker in the United States?

Like many poker fans, you may have been concerned about the passing of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Act last year. Does the Act make it illegal to play online poker?

First of all, you should know that even before the Act was passed, online gambling was already deemed illegal by 11 states. I assume this means that the state laws deem online poker to be illegal–I am not familiar with all of the state laws, but that is what I would conclude. The 11 states in which online gambling was deemed illegal–and remains so today–are Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin. Let me repeat, online gambling remains illegal in these states. However, as far as I can tell, no one has ever been prosecuted by any state for gambling online.

In California, where I live, the law does not equate “poker” with “gambling” but deems it game playing, and professional poker players are not deemed as gamblers, but as professional game players.

After the Act was passed, nothing actually changed with regards to the legality of online gambling. As I have said, it remains illegal in those 11 states. But the Act did not make online gambling illegal in the United States of America as a whole. Following this line of thinking, then logically there are 39 US states in which online gambling is legal, as it was before the Act was passed.

So what did the Act do? In spite of its name, it does not declare online gambling to be legal. Instead, it made it illegal for financial institutions in the US to allow the use of electronic fund transfers and credit or debit cards in connection with online gambling. So players can no longer make bets or collect winnings through these methods. Of course, most US banks and credit card companies already denied the use of their cards on online gambling sites. But the new law has placed even more restrictions on player’s means of transferring funds to and from online gambling sites.

Nevertheless, there remain a number of online poker sites that accept real-money players from the United States. If you are a US citizen and you find yourself barred from one poker site, then don’t fret–you are sure to find one that will allow you to play.

There is controversy, after all, on whether the new bill is even enforceable. After all, online poker sites are situated outside the United States. So how can a United States law be made to apply to them?

Is it legal to play online poker in the United States? The answer is yes, it is legal–at least in 39 out of the 50 states. But the new bill has made it a lot more difficult for US players to make money at it.