Oh boy, Omaha!

May 13, 2003 5:52 AM

Omaha poker is the new kid on the block.

The game can be played in a number of ways. It can be played limit or pot limit or high hand wins all the pot or Hi-Lo split with an eight card low for a qualifier. Or any number of other variations.

Different rules may be used. Any rules that consenting adult poker players can think of can be used if agreed upon by all players in the game.

I’ve played with all kinds of rules. I once played in Tulsa years ago in a poker game of four card Omaha Hi-Lo with some very unusual rules ”” joker in the sky, no limit, buy’em (but that’s for another day).

I’ve been told that the poker game, Omaha, originated in Omaha, Nebraska. It seems that a traveling salesman who loved to play poker found himself in a little hold’em poker game in Omaha.

The salesman thought he was playing two card hold’em when he noticed the other players were playing with three cards in their hands. But that the players quickly threw one of the three cards away after the flop.

While he was playing poker with two cards, they were playing with three.

Well, he didn’t want to accuse the other fellows of cheating him. He was a stranger in town and it was the first time he had played with the local players but he did not want to give them his money, and he sure did not like being cheated.

So he mustered up some courage and mentioned there must be some error. But the local players explained to him that they were playing pineapple, a variation of two card hold’em where it was a rule of the game that you just discarded one of your three cards after the flop and from there on the game played just like two card hold’em.

The salesman had noticed that the other players were playing with three cards and he was playing with only two cards. So they now agreed that it would be fair for him to also have three cards.

This made the salesman feel really good and he felt like he was now accepted as one of the group and could make himself right at home with them. He just knew the game was on the square because he now had an equal chance to win the pots.

But my goodness, after a little while the salesman noticed that now that they were giving him three cards, they were playing with four!

He did not know what to do. Should he complain again? He did not want to mention it again, but something was very wrong with the game.

So again he said, hey fellows, I only have three cards while you are playing with four.

He was told, well, that’s the way we play poker here in Omaha. But since they wanted to keep the game fair for traveling salesmen, they made a rule. "We can only select and use two out of the four cards that we have in our hands. Then just like you do, we match those two up with the three in the flop plus the turn card and the river to make our best poker hand.

"Or in other words, so that we do not take any advantage of you and to make it fair for you, we will always just use two cards from our hands and three from the board. That way it will always be fair for you because we cannot use the other two cards and we just throw away those two other cards. And that is the way we play poker here in Omaha, Nebraska."

What do you think, Carol? Were they cheating the salesman? Did the players get caught holding out cards when the salesman discovered that the other players had too many cards in their hands? Was the game of Omaha invented as a cheating game?

Did the Nebraska players just make up the story of four card Omaha poker?

At least dear, it is food for thought, and I will give you 8-5 that it is true. Because I cannot think of any other good reason whey a poker game with four in your hand and five common cards in the flop and board should be called Omaha.

Oklahoma Johnny’s Poker Tip

When playing Omaha poker, play the game like porcupines make love ”¦ very, very carefully.

Never raise the pot unless you already are holding the nuts (best possible hand). Never ever pay to call to draw to your hand unless you are drawing to make the nuts

Follow these rules and you can take the money home.