Where did the game come from and why it is named after the capital of Nebraska? In the early 70s of the 20th century in the western United States, especially in Chicago, Detroit, and New York, there was a very popular similar game, in which were used not four but five face-down cards. At that time this variant of poker was known under different names. In Detroit, for instance, the game was called “Twice three”. But this predecessor of the modern Omaha had one substantial defect. In connection with the usage of 5 hole cards, the number of players was limited to 8, but the players who want to participate in the game were usually more. Gradually spreading throughout the United States, the game became more similar to the modern. In Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Colorado as well as in several other states, the game was played with 4 hole cards. The rest of the rules were still unsettled and varied from state to state. The same thing was happening with the name of the game. Poker enthusiasts from Oklahoma choose the name “Oklahoma 2 by 4”, in Dallas they preferred the name “Fort Worth”, and in Seattle – “Nine Cards”.
As to this day, the legislator of the poker fashion was Las Vegas and its permanent inhabitants. But none of the aforementioned games won enough popularity. The game became popular when it was introduced in the city of Las Vegas. In 1982 Omaha was first played in the “Golden Nugget” casino. Already in January the following year, the first tournament in Omaha took place and attracted the attention of experienced players. This event became the starting point of the new history of the game since all casinos in Nevada began to organize Omaha tournaments and the game was recognized and became popular.
So, why is the game called Omaha? It has never been popular in Nebraska. The point is, that in Las Vegas there were played two types of Hold’em: Texas Hold’em where players can use any number of hole cards in order to form a combination and Greek Hold’em, where the player had to use 2 cards. This not very popular variant of poker was also called Omaha Hold’em. In this way, when the new 4 cards Hold’em was introduced in Vegas, it became known as Omaha in order to show that the player should use 2 hole cards. The name stayed.