Big O is a variant of poker very similar to Omaha, except players are dealt five hole cards instead of four. As in Omaha, players must use exactly two of their hole cards at showdown and exactly three of the board cards to make their best five-card poker hand. It can be played in limit or pot-limit forms, and can be played for high only, or as a hi-lo split game, usually with an eight qualifier (as is typical for Omaha).
Big O (occasionally called five-card Omaha or Omaha-5) began appearing in Southern California in 2008, and had spread to most of the card rooms in the area by the end of the year. Players in smaller card rooms especially like it, and prefer it over standard Omaha, due to the significantly increased action it generates. It is currently typically played with a limit betting structure.
Although it may seem like one additional card would not change the odds of a standard Omaha game that much, that additional card actually more than doubles the number of possible card combinations a player has available to make their hand, making it much more likely that players make powerful hands. Two pair is essentially never a winning hand in Big O, and even three of a kind is only rarely shown down to win. If a straight or a flush is possible with the given board cards, then it is highly likely that a player has it. If the board has paired, it is highly likely at least one player has a full house. When played in a hi-lo form, the nut low is the most likely low to be seen at showdown.
Rules of Play Edit
The play of a hand of Big O operates the same as a hand of Omaha, except players are dealt five hole cards before the flop, instead of four. Because of the increased card count in the hands, Big O can be played by at most 9 players. When played nine-handed, the deck does not have enough cards to allow the dealer to burn before each exposure of board cards. Accordingly, there is no burn card prior to the river. When played eight-handed or shorter, the dealer burns before each board deal, as in standard flop games.
As in Omaha and Hold 'Em, there are four betting rounds:
- after the deal to the players but before the board cards (preflop)
- after the exposure of the initial three board cards (on the flop)
- after the exposure of the fourth board card
- after the exposure of the fifth and final board card
In the limit betting structure, the bet size doubles on the last two betting rounds.
At showdown, a player must use exactly two of their hole cards along with exactly three of the board cards in order to make their best poker hand (or their lowest, if going for the low of a hi-lo game). They cannot play any fewer than two of their hole cards, nor any more than two.
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