Texas Hold'em - as its name clearly suggests - was invented in Texas and it was three Texan gamblers that introduced the now so popular game to Las Vegas, which was disseminated thanks to the WSOP in the 1970s.
Hold'em was used to refer to the cards on the table that were shared by the players (community cards). This is nowadays the most famous way to play poker, but it's certainly not the only one.
Omaha Hold'em - whether in the pot limit high, pot limit hi-lo, fixed limit, fixed limit hi-lo or the no-limit versions - has become increasingly popular and the major online and live casinos have included it as an option for poker lovers.
Although unlike in the case of the Texan version, the exact origin of Omaha remains unknown, what is certain is that California-based professional player and WSOP bracelet winner Robert Turner introduced it to William "Bill" Walter Boyd, who at the time was the manager of the Las Vegas Golden Nugget Casino card room.
This is why as the game made it to the casino's tables, it was originally known as "Nugget Hold'em". In the first versions of Omaha, players had to use the only two cards they were dealt in combination with the community cards. This has come a long way and today there are even internal variations to it such as the Five-Card Omaha (the Big O) or Courchevel.
Being the second most popular option after Texas Hold'em, it is now a well-establish variant and some renowned professional players sometimes choose it over the former, including Phil Ivey, Sammy Farha, Howard Lederer or David Benyamine, who have also occasionally proven that it is possible to win at low stakes tournaments and not only high-stakes ones by using different online poker strategies.
It is not surprising at all, either, that Omaha has gained so many followers because although it is a challenging variant of poker, some aspects of it are very controllable, as Turner himself has highlighted: "in Hold'em you are never sure if your hand is strong enough; in Omaha you know exactly where you are".
In any case, and carrying on with the history of this variant, opposite of what many people think, it did not get its name from the Nebraskan city. It is believed that its origins are connected to the Twice Three game, which was played in Chicago and Detroit.
In fact, it was in this second city that the game gained popularity at the end of the seventies, a few years before Turner introduced it to the poker-playing circles. It wasn't long before it spread to several other parts of the United States and many nicknamed it after the city they were playing it in.
In spite of the fact that there is no real evidence about the origin of its name, theory has it that Omaha - which is towards the central part of the country - was the most democratic option to name the variant after, instead of Oklahoma Hold'em or other designations that were once considered. And so, three decades after it was born - not long compared to other forms of poker that are much older - it has undeniably become a favourite among players.