What is the Difference Between Omaha Poker and Texas Hold'em?

Omaha Poker and Texas Hold’em are two of the most popular poker variants on the market. If you've played poker at a casino before, odds are it will be one of these two. They have many similarities in terms of rules and gameplay, but a few subtle differences that separate them.

Differences Between Omaha Poker and Texas Hold'em

All versions of poker can be put into three different groups, Draw Poker, Stud Poker and community card games. Omaha Poker and Texas Hold’em fall into the last category, but five main differences separate the two poker formats.

1. Starting Cards

One of the main differences between Omaha Poker and Texas Hold’em is the number of cards dealt at the start of play. Hold’em has two per player, while Omaha increases the number to four, significantly increasing the number of possible starting hands.

2. Card Restrictions

The second key difference is the number of cards that can be used to make a hand. In a game of Texas Hold’em, players can use the two in dealt at the start, and any number of the five community cards in the middle, there are no restrictions.

In Omaha Poker, players are required to use two out of the four cards they are dealt at the start of the game, plus three of the five community ones. This stipulation is mandatory and can't be ignored under any circumstances. The best five-card hand wins the pot in both games.

Example:​ If you are dealt four aces in the first round of Omaha Poker, only two can be used to make a hand. It doesn't count as four of a kind. Yep.

3. Best Starting Hands

Omaha Poker and Texas Hold’em are nearly identical in terms of gameplay, but the few subtle changes in the number of cards dealt at the start mean strategies and starting hands have different win percentages across both games. Two aces, or pockets, have a roughly 82 per cent chance to beat two kings. In Omaha, being dealt two aces, along with two other cards, has just under a 60 per cent chance to beat kings and two other cards.

4. Different Betting Structures

Texas Hold’em generally comes in the no-limit or limit format. Omaha has far more options, with limit, no limit, and a unique hi-low version where the pot is split at the end between the highest ranked hand, and the best qualifying low ranked hand.

5. Weak Cards Rarely Win

Because of the extra cards Omaha players receive at the start of the game there is more of a chance to create high ranked hands. In Hold’em it’s not uncommon for a two pair or below to win. In Omaha these hands will rarely make it past the first round and will almost never be the best at the showdown.

In Summary

Omaha Poker has more restrictions on what cards can be used, but more betting options and a larger pool of hand combinations. Texas Hold’em has fewer choices but is more straightforward. They are closely related; however, the few key differences mean the games can require very different strategies and approaches to be successful.