Omaha vs Holdem: what is the difference

Omaha vs Holdem

Texas Hold'em and Omaha have long been hyped poker formats. More recently, however, it is telling that attempts to make profit in Hold'em become increasingly complex task, therefore, many poker fans try to take a crack at Omaha.

Nevertheless, even experienced players make mistakes when moving from one poker discipline to another. Accordingly, you need to know the similarities and dissimilarities of these two disciplines.

Perhaps, it would be more appropriate to start with the common features of these poker formats.

Omaha vs Holdem: what are the common features?

They have similar rules:

  • The players are dealt starting holdings before the betting rounds. After that, two competitors post SB and BB;
  • There are four stages in each hands, namely preflop, flop, turn and river;
  • Betting rounds consists of four stages. During each betting round, the participant are offered the following options: fold, bet, raise, call, check;
  • The pot is awarded to the participant who remains alone in the hand, or he owns the strongest combination and shows it after showdown;
  • Combinatorics for determination the champion is analogous.

Now, let's get down to dissimilarities of Omaha poker vs Texas Holdem.

Dissimilarities between Omaha and Hold'em

There are different number of cards at the very beginning of game: two cards in Texas poker and four ones in Omaha. Surely, the opportunity to hit a good combination is much higher in Omaha, as the more cards you have, the more chances are at your disposal. However, it is worth taking into account that your rivals own the same prospects.

From this, it follows the next difference. In Omaha, it is required to involve two cards from your holding and three board cards. But in the disciplines we compare, any holding includes five cards, namely the combination of both pocket cards and the common ones.  

Betting structure

There are no limit, pot limit and fixed limit structures in Hold'em and Omaha. Commonly, the players prefer No Limit Hold'em and Pot Limit Omaha.

Earlier, fixed limit poker was in favor, but such an option as shoving with all the chips lured thousands of players to Hold'em side (that is commonly played in the no-limit format). 

Omaha vs Holdem: betting structure

Betting structure is one of the key advantages that attracts more players to Hold'em game, rather than to Omaha. Experience shows that many prefer NLH format, but you can also find NL Omaha online tables. You can get acquainted with poker rooms’ review at our site and choose the desired discipline.


Many players like betting structure in Hold'em, that's why they prefer this discipline. However, Omaha has one feature that facilitates hitting a good hand, since the availability of 4 cards allows making a strong poker combination much more often.

This feature fills Omaha with exciting action. Participants commit to their holdings and don’t consider a fold option. This happens because such players are unaware of relative strength of their cards.

For example, the hand with two aces on preflop is considered a strong holding in Hold'em, whereas in Omaha card game, the other two pocket cards are more important. It's worth noting that AAxx hand is more stronger in Hold'em, rather than in Omaha. Therefore, inexperienced players overplay with such cards in Omaha, by creating a bright action.

Features of positions and strategies

Undoubtedly, the position is important in any poker format. Unlike Hold'em, the position in Omaha even more important for the several reasons:

  • Based on the betting structure, the hands can be played several rounds, and you should take this into account when developing a strategy;
  • With a good position, your opportunities to play your holding increase by making you a favorite.

Omaha vs Holdem

There is one more feature in Omaha game – it is difficult to determine the favorite on preflop. Suppose you have a strong hand, but even with such state of affairs, the probability to take the lead against one rival will be only 65%. After the flop, the game will gain momentum. The bets increase and pot size on the turn and river will significantly exceed the size of the previous bets. It follows that Omaha is rather a post-flop game.

As for the game strategy, it is recommended to apply a tight style of play in Omaha, because the nut hands are the “main heroes” in given discipline. The absence of such holding won’t guarantee you success. On the preflop and postflop, it is better to tighten your play if you don’t want to pay a lot of money for the mistakes.   

Bluff in Hold'em and Omaha

Many tries to find out in which disciplines it is more difficult to bluff.  In this matter, Omaha is in the first place, because the weak or mediocre holding is folded not so often, as it may improve to a good hand.

However, the fans of Texas Hold'em will be more frequently inclined to dispose of cards that don’t hit a flop. So, these players are more vulnerable to bluffs. 

Degree of complexity

There is still a debate concerning the degree of complexity in the disciplines we compare. So, NL Omaha is much more difficult than NL Hold'em, but as for PLO game, it is not clear what is more difficult.

Many players don’t fully use the range of possible bet sizes, and it will be much more difficult for a newbie to play in Omaha game. We can understand how two cards interact with a flop in Hold'em, but as for the four cards, things get more complicated.

It may be difficult for a newbie to figure out his combination. You are able to miss combination, or you can think that you have it, by making a mistake when choosing the necessary cards.

The problems in forming a combination is one of the reason why Hold'em remains number one in the poker world. It is easy to study Hold'em rules and combination ranking, however this is much more difficult for Omaha. Some players like additional difficulties, but the other ones have problems with it.  

Omaha vs Texas Holdem: what is better?

Despite the fact that Hold’em popularity is higher, as well as the amount of teaching material for this discipline, the demand for Omaha also grows. Poker rooms actively offer Omaha with different limits. In addition, Omaha tournaments are held both at WSOP and in online events. Many famous players like this discipline, they stream their play and record training videos. For example, poker pro Daniel Negreanu has many educational materials, including PLO videos.

For those who are quite familiar with Omaha, we offer to watch Negreanu's stream. Perhaps you can get some useful tips.

To sum things up, it should be stated that both Omaha and Hold'em are very interesting and profitable disciplines. Hold'em is slightly more popular and easier to learn. Omaha is a little harder, but you can earn a good profit in it. In any case, the ability to play in each of the disciplines will give you invaluable experience. So, make your choice and good luck at the tables!

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Sunrise Editor
Cardmates journalist, news editor and translator since 2016. Specialization: poker news and review of events.
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