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How to Play No-Limit Omaha Hold 'Em

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Published on Feb 25, 2008

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Omaha Hold 'Em looks a lot like Texas Hold 'Em at first, but it usually involves better action, and higher hands. So if you play it at your next poker night, get ready for a wild ride—and hold onto your shirt.

Step 1: Choose dealer
Choose a dealer for the first hand and denote that person with the dealer button, placed on the table.

Step 2: Shuffle & cut
The dealer shuffles and cuts the deck of cards.

Step 3: Blinds place bets
The player to the left of the dealer is given the "small blind" button, indicating that he or she posts the small blind bet. The player two places to the left of the dealer is given the "big blind" button and places the big blind bet. These are considered the ante and vary from game to game.

Step 4: Deal cards
The dealer deals four cards face-down to each player. Everyone assesses his or her hand.

Step 5: 1st round of betting
The deal is followed by the first round of betting, starting with the third player to the dealer's left. Each player can call and/or raise the blind bet, or fold their hand.

Step 6: The flop
After the first round of betting, the dealer turns up three communal cards, called the "flop," in the middle of the table.

Step 7: 2nd round of betting
The flop is followed by a second round of betting, starting with the player to the dealer's left.

Step 8: The turn
After the second round of betting has finished, the dealer turns up a fourth communal card, called the "turn."

Step 9: 3rd round of betting
The "turn" is followed by a third round of betting.

Step 10: The river
Next, the dealer turns up a fifth communal card, called the "river."

Step 11: Final round of betting
The "river" is followed by the final round of betting.

Step 12: Single player left
If everyone but a single player has folded, that remaining player is the winner and doesn't have to reveal his or her cards.

Step 13: Reveal cards
If two or more players remain, they reveal their cards (in what is called the "showdown"). The winner is the player with the highest five-card poker hand that uses exactly two of the four cards they were dealt and any three of the communal cards in the middle of the table.

Tip
The communal cards are shared, meaning multiple players can include the same card or cards in their hands—so don't try to pick them up or you'll embarrass yourself.

Step 14: Begin next hand
When the hand has been played to completion, the dealer, small blind, and big blind buttons rotate clockwise one player to begin the next hand.

Did You Know?
Omaha was the hometown of actor Marlon Brando—so feel free to do your best Godfather impersonation at the table.

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