5 Card Omaha Poker
5 Card Omaha Poker is an exciting variation of 4 Card Pot Limit Omaha that is popular among players who enjoy fast action, strategic gameplay and bigger pots. This variation is quite like 4 Card Omaha but features a single exception. In this game, 5 hole cards are distributed to all players instead of 4 hole cards in 4 Card Omaha. As per 5 Card Omaha rules, players must use exactly two hole cards and three community cards to make the best five-card combination.
5 Card PLO is a relatively new variation of Poker that is capturing the attention of poker players worldwide due to its wide availability in online poker platforms. The possibility of making very strong hands and winning bigger pots has spiked further interest among the new generation of poker players.
Here, we shall cover every aspect of the game - how to play, rules of the game and 5 Card PLO strategy to help you get started from scratch.
The objective of 5 Card Omaha poker is to make the best five-card combination by combining exactly two hole cards and three community cards. As per the 5 Card Omaha rules, the player who has the best five-card combination wins the pot.
In another case, the last active player whose bet isn’t matched by other players takes the pot. In Omaha poker, the pot refers to the total amount of money or the number of chips players bet during a hand.
5 Card Game Set Up
The Dealer Button specifies the position of the dealer in a live poker game. In online poker games, the position of the Dealer is marked by a D. In all poker games, the Dealer button moves one spot to the left on the table after players complete a hand.
Blinds are forced bets that are placed by the first two players sitting on the dealer’s immediate left. These two player positions are called the Small Blind and Big Blind respectively. The Small Blind and the Big Blind place compulsory bets to create the pot at the beginning of a new hand. The amount of the Big Blind is usually double the Small Blind in a poker game.
Since the Dealer button moves clockwise after the completion of a hand, all players get their turns to place the blinds. Once the blinds are placed, the player sitting to the left of the Big Blind acts first. The action then moves clockwise on the table and ends with the dealer.
After the blinds are placed, the dealer deals five private cards each face down to all players on the table. These are known as hole cards.
How to Play 5 Card Omaha Poker?
A game of 5 Card Omaha poker is played with a minimum of 2 players and maximum of 9 players using a standard deck of 52 playing cards. Each player receives five hole cards at the beginning of a new hand. These cards must stay hidden during the betting rounds and must not be shown to other players. They are only revealed when the betting rounds are complete to identify the winner.
In addition to these hole cards, five more cards are dealt face up on the table. These are called Community cards and all players can share these cards to make the best five card combination.
However, the most important 5 Card PLO rule should be kept in mind. One can use only 2 hole cards out of 5 to make their best five card hand. Here are the possible combinations of hole cards and community cards in 5 Card Omaha.
- 2 hole card and 3 community cards
- 1 hole card and 4 community cards
- No hole cards and 5 community cards
After the blinds have been placed, the game is played in a series of four betting rounds. Players can choose to act in four different ways in each round depending on the strength of their hand.
These actions are Call, Check, Raise and Fold. In a typical scenario, players often bet more chips in the pot if they have a strong hand or choose to fold if they have a weak hand. Players also bluff their way to victory by pretending to have a strong hand and raising more chips in the pot.
How to Win in 5 Card PLO Poker?
In a 5 card PLO game, there are two ways to win the pot. The simple way is to make the best five card poker hand and win the pot in a showdown. In another scenario, a player can win the pot if he or she is the last active player to bet in the hand at any stage of the game and all other players have folded their cards.
5 Card PLO Rules
If you are familiar with Hold’em poker or 4 Card PLO, grasping the rules of 5 Card Omaha will be easy. The 5 Card PLO rules dictate the structure of the game and rules that you must follow to play. The primary rules of the game are identical to 4 Card PLO. The only difference in rules between the two variations is the presence of five hole cards instead of four.
In addition, both variations of Omaha poker are typically played with a pot limit structure. This means that players can bet any amount of chips up to the current size of the pot.
Back to the subject, a game of 5 Card PLO includes four betting rounds and five types of betting actions that players can take during the course of a hand. Let’s discuss them below.
Betting Actions in Omaha Poker
As per 5 Card PLO rules, players can choose to take five types of betting actions during a hand in the game. Let’s talk about them one by one.
Check: ‘Check’ is an option that a player has when no new bet has been made in the current betting round. They can choose to check, meaning they can pass the action to the next player without putting any money or chips in the pot.
Call: To ‘call’ is to match the current bet placed by the previous player in a betting round. It means that the player is willing to put in an equal amount of money or chips into the pot as the previous player to continue playing the hand.
Raise: As per 5 Card Omaha rules, a ‘raise’ occurs when a player increases the current bet made by the previous player in a betting round. They put in more money into the pot forcing other players to call, fold the current hand or re-raise again.
Fold: To ‘fold’ means to withdraw from the current hand in play and fold one’s cards. When a player folds, they lose all the chips they have put into the pot during the hand. Also, they cannot take any further action in the following rounds of the hand.
All-in: In 5 Card Omaha poker, “All-in” refers to an action in which a player bets all their remaining chips on a single hand with the hope of winning the pot. For other players to continue playing, they must match the current raise. In case another player puts in more chips than the All-in bet, it creates a side pot for them. However, the All-in player can only win the part of the pot they contributed to before going All-in.
A game of 5 Card Omaha consists of four betting rounds wherein action begins clockwise from the player to the dealer’s left. As per the Omaha rules, five community cards are dealt in the course of a betting round. The four betting rounds in the game are as follows:-
Picking up from where we left earlier, once the blinds are placed, the dealer distributes five hole cards to all the players. Now, the first round of betting begins with the player to the left of the big blind. This round is called Pre-flop. Betting action moves clockwise on the table and finishes with the Dealer. Players can check, call, raise or fold.
After the first betting round is complete, the dealer deals three community cards, known as the Flop, face up in the middle of the table. The second round of betting starts with the first active player (who has not folded) to the dealer’s left. Players have the same betting options to play the hand.
After the second betting round is over, the dealer deals a 4th community card face up, known as the Turn. A third betting round takes place starting with the first active player to the dealer’s left. Players can check, call, raise or fold.
When the 3rd betting round is complete, the dealer places the final 5th card face up on the table, known as the River. The 4th and final round of betting takes place with the first active player to the dealer’s left. Players can call, check, raise and fold.
Once the final round of betting is complete, the remaining active players reach the final stage of the hand, known as Showdown. Players reveal their cards and the player with the best five card combination according to the poker hand rankings wins the pot.
If two or more players have an identical hand, the pot is split equally among them. Once the pot is awarded to the winner, the dealer deals a new hand to all players in the game.
Types of 5 Card Omaha Poker Game
5 Card Omaha poker games are usually played across three types of formats. These formats define the betting structure of the game. Let’s identify them one by one.
No Limit Omaha
In No Limit Omaha poker games, there is no maximum bet size or amount. Players can bet as many chips they want or all their remaining chips in a single hand. This means you can bet your entire chip stack at any point during a hand.
Pot Limit Omaha
As the name suggests, players can bet a maximum number of chips equal to the current size of the pot and no more. The size of the pot is equal to the sum of all bets on the table in addition to the amount to be called by the first active player before raising.
Fixed Limit Omaha poker features a pre-determined limit to the amount players can bet or raise in each round of betting. This means that the size of bets and raises are fixed and cannot be increased beyond a certain amount as opposed to Pot Limit or No Limit Omaha.
5 Card PLO Strategy: Winning Tips
5 Card Omaha poker is a complex game due to the presence of five hole cards unlike two in Hold’em. As such, playing this variation makes for a highly interesting and engaging experience. If you succeed in mastering this game, this can be a highly profitable game that can reward you with humongous wins.
That being said, here are a few core strategies that players can apply to master 5 Card PLO.
Play Quality Hands Only
In 5 Card PLO, you are dealt five cards instead of two in Texas Hold’em. This results in higher frequency of making bigger hands and Flushes and Straights are common sights. Therefore, your 5 Card PLO strategy should be highly specific. The quality of starting hands you play is crucial. Remember all five cards are not worth playing. You should be very selective and aim for only those hands that have connected and suited cards and carry the potential to make bigger draws.
Be Mindful of the Board
Keep a strict eye on the board texture as it evolves in each betting round. If the board favours you, continue playing with aggression. If the board texture opens up possibilities of multiple draws such as Straight, Flush and Full House, play cautiously. All the while, keep your game tight to avoid falling prey to tricky spots and making costly mistakes.
Slow Play Pocket Kings and Pocket Aces
Unlike Hold’em poker wherein Pocket Aces and Pocket Kings are regarded as premium starting hands, such hands fall short of strength in 5 Card PLO because there are 3 more cards in play. Be wary of investing your chips in single pairs, play them slow, and focus on making stronger hands such as Straights and Flushes.
Choose Your Stakes Wisely
Omaha games are well known for thrill and lofty rewards but can be equally daunting because of its heavy swings and higher variance. As such, it is quite easy to lose your entire bankroll in a single hand. Until you master the dynamics of the game, stick to games with minimum buy-ins and don’t play for more than you can lose. Look for tables with weaker opponents so that you can play steady with strong hands.
It's All About the Nuts
A Nut hand is the strongest hand one can possibly make on a given board. When you devise your PLO strategy, focus on drawing to the nuts. You must always pay attention to the board and aim to draw to the nuts whenever possible. For instance, even if you make a flush, it is highly likely someone else will beat you with a higher flush. Therefore, playing the nuts aggressively is your best bet in 5 Card Omaha poker.
Raise or Fold Only
PLO is all about big bets and raises. Hence, a safe 5 Card PLO strategy is to either raise when you have a strong hand or simply fold when you are in doubt. When you raise with a strong hand, there will be others who will fatten the pot for you. Calling to big raises only indicates hesitation and limping your way to the river is a sure shot path to drain your bankroll quickly.
To make a poker hand in PLO 5, you need to use exactly two of your 5 hole cards and three community cards on the board to make your best five card poker hand. Hole cards are the private cards dealt to each player and community cards are those that are dealt face up on the table.
The key difference between PLO 4 and PLO 6 is the number of hole cards that are dealt to each player. In PLO 4, four hole cards are dealt and in PLO 6, six hole cards are dealt to players. However, players must use exactly two hole cards and three community cards to make their best possible five-card in both poker variations.
The order of poker hand rankings in PLO 5 are identical to all poker games. The list of poker hand rankings start from the highest to the lowest poker hand combination. They are:
- Royal Flush: Top five cards of the same suit make a Royal Flush.
- Straight Flush: Five cards of the same suit in a serial order make a Straight Flush.
- Four of a Kind: Four cards of the same rank and a random card make Four of a Kind
- Full House: Three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank make a Full House
- Flush: Any five cards of the same suit but not in a sequence makes a Flush
- Straight: Five cards of different suit arranged in a sequence makes a Straight
- Three of a Kind: Three cards of the same rank and two random cards make Three of a Kind
- Two Pair: Two cards of one rank and two cards of another rank make Two Pair
- One Pair: Two cards of the same rank and three random cards make One Pair.
- High Card: When your hand doesn’t meet any of the ranks above, it is a High Card.
The key to winning in PLO 5 is to develop a solid understanding of the game’s unique aspects. Starting hand selection, playing from position, reading your opponent’s hands and taking control of the pot with continued aggression are some of the key strategies to winning in 5 Plot Limit Omaha.
The key advantage of playing 5 Card PLO over 4 Card PLO is that it creates more action and bigger pots. Since each player has 5 hole cards instead of 4, there are more possible hand combinations, which can lead to bigger and more complex pots. With more cards in play, it becomes challenging to accurately reward your opponent’s hands and make the best decisions.
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