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!

Craps With Cards Vs Craps With Dice

There are laws in place in certain states where an outcome may not be determined through a toss of the dice. This means Craps games, as we know them, are prohibited. However, clever casino operators have installed Craps games using cards instead of dice. Contrary to popular belief, this is a great opportunity because it offers an advantage to the player that is not available in a standard dice game of Craps.

The game of Craps played with cards is played exactly as is Craps with dice. The table layout is the same (with the possible addition of two colored boxes that determine the shoe to be used. You can also bet on those colored boxes.

The casino uses cards numbered ace through six (1 – 6) instead of dice. They also use a shuffle machine known as a “constant shuffle machine” because they don’t bury cards as they are exposed, instead, they are immediately returned to the shuffle machine (that’s why it’s called constant). The same cards used to get a point on the come out roll may not be available to be drawn again until a new shelf is hit, making it disproportionately likely to throw a seven instead, resulting in a win for the wrong bettor. Remember that fact – we’ll use it later.

After the point is established, two more cards are dealt to represent the next roll of the dice. That continues until the point is made or the “shooter” sevens out.

For the purpose of this article, I’m not going into the rules and/or strategies of the game of Craps. I’m assuming you already know them, and the purpose of this article is to point out differences and similarities of the Craps game played with cards as opposed to the dice Craps game.

The short and very sweet difference between the two is this: there is a very distinct and big advantage to playing Craps with cards if you are a “wrong bettor”. You, the player, actually have the advantage over the casino and that is not found in any other game nor in any dice version of Craps.

Conversely there is a bigger advantage for the house if you’re a “right bettor”.

Is there any question as to how you should play the card version of Craps? The answer is obvious – you must be a wrong bettor. Put aside all objections you ever had to betting with the house and against the shooter. You are playing Craps to make money – not friends.

Why are the wrong bettors now in a position of positive odds? In other words, why do we players have an advantage over the casino? That’s unheard of – after all, there are strategies that get the house advantage down towards “0” where the house advantage is small (in dice Craps as well as in other games), but nowhere at any time has the player actually had the advantage over the house – until now.

Here’s the amazing news:

first, as stated above, the cards that established the point cannot be used again during a shooter’s attempts to make the point. This makes a seven even more likely to come up before the point, resulting in a win. That’s important, but that’s not the best part…

In a game of Craps played with dice, laying odds is the way we get the overall odds against winning down to the lowest (best) number possible. That means we can reduce the house advantage to near zero.

However, in a game of Craps played with cards, by knowing when to lay odds against a number and how much to lay against a number, we get the odds down, past zero and into a very healthy advantage for the player. Here are the numbers:

laying odds against a 4 or 10 in a dice Craps game, results in zero advantage to the house (after figuring the don’t pass and or the don’t come – the actual odds give the advantage to the house: 1.364)

but, laying odds against the 4 or 10 in a card Craps game has the house advantage at -0.253. Yep – that is a negative number, and thus the advantage goes to the player – absolutely unheard of! California casinos like the Viejas in San Diego generously offer 10x odds (up to $1,000 winnings), so you should take full advantage of maximum odds against a 4 and 10.

Laying odds against a 5 or 9 in both games remains at zero – no advantage to the house nor to the player. So, lay your “normal” odds against a 5 or 9.

Laying odds against a 6 or 8 in a dice Craps game, results in zero advantage to the house.

But, laying odds against the 6 or 8 in a card Craps game has the house advantage at -0.207. Yep, another advantage for the player! Again, in California, lay maximum odds.

So, if the player laid the maximum odds on points of 4, 6, 8, and 10, then the overall player edge between the don’t pass and laying odds would be +0.022%. That’s amazing!

So, take advantage of this golden opportunity, and gratefully play Craps with cards instead of dice!