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The competition is heating up between Texas Hold'em and its increasingly popular younger cousin, Omaha poker. First introduced by the Las Vegas Golden Nugget Casino, recommended by American professional poker player Robert Turner, Omaha is now one of the most-played poker games online.
Omaha differs from Texas Hold'em in that players must create a poker hand from two of their four "hole" cards and three "community" cards, where the former uses any combination.
If you’re not already an Omaha fanatic, the first question to ask yourself is: why play? There are plenty of reasons to get stuck into this steadily growing favourite, not least that it’s quickfire fun, but here are the big three:
Skills you’ll need to develop for Omaha include the patience and discipline to wait for a good hand, as well as a talent for reading other players and finding the best online table for you.
There are several different kinds of Omaha out there, so before choosing your site, decide which you’d like to play:
Of course, Hi-low may also be pot or fixed limit. Check to see if the site offers sit ‘n' go tournaments, which begin once a table has enough players, rather than on a set schedule. These can fit around your plans, and have a strong community feel, so you’re likely to meet the same players regularly.
Most sites give bonuses to both new and known punters, so you’ll be able to find something that appeals to you. Shop around for the best bonuses, and compare first deposit and sign-up bonuses carefully, as they have slightly different features.
Lots of sites will also reward longer term players, and if you’re planning to be loyal to a particular poker room, look for a good loyalty programme. They might give you points that can be converted into cash, chips or big tournament entry fees; with some sites you can even convert them into prizes like iPads and holidays.
You don’t want anything to get in the way of your game experience, so ensure the site has good, responsive customer service. Increasingly, sites have a live chat option you can go to with your concerns, which is a quick and effective way to resolve a problem.
Atmosphere is important in an online poker room, so make sure you scope the place out before committing to anything. On some sites, you can play a free hand or two, so make the most of it – check that the game progresses well and no outdated software disrupts your play.
Software from programs like the iPoker Network are renowned for slick graphics and smooth transitions between screens, improving your online experience. If you’re on the go and playing on a mobile or tablet, pay extra attention to the software, as some programmes will show the board much more clearly on a smaller screen than others. Sites are improving their mobile experience all the time, so re-visit to see the changes.