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Omaha Hi-Lo (8 or Better) Poker Rules

Omaha Hi-Lo (8 or Better) Poker Rules

Omaha Hi-Lo

Omaha Hi-Lo is a popular Omaha poker game offered by most of the online poker rooms. The main game rules and procedures in this poker variation are almost the same as in Texas Hold'em. However, there are some important differences which make Omaha Hi-Lo a very popular poker game filled with action. Just like in Omaha High, the players receive four hole cards each, two and only two of which must then be used in their card combinations. Omaha 8 or better is a high-low game which means that the players can use two of their cards along with the three from the table to form the highest or the lowest card combination.

High-Low Split

In high-low poker games, the pot is split between the biggest and the smallest hand. In order to collect the lowest hand, the players must use three lower than 8 community cards. The best lowest card combination is A2345, whereas 87654 – the worst lowest hand. In Omaha poker ace can act both as the lowest and as the highest card, so it can be used in the high as well as in the low combinations. If there are no three cards on the table that could be used in a low combination, the players may only play to collect the high hand. To collect the low, the players have to use two of their hole cards from 8 and lower, connecting them with three community cards. The only condition is that the cards should not overlap.

Example

The player has A A 2 5 with 2 4 8 9 K on the table. The low combination includes the ace and 2 from the player's cards + 3 4 and 8 from the table, making 8432A. Please note that only two of the hole cards can be used to form the combination therefore 5 cannot be included. in order to compete for the high pot, a pair of aces can be used to form a AAK98 combination.

Notes

Straight and flush are not considered to be a disadvantage in a low hand, therefore A2345 is the best low, whereas a straight may even win both pots.

In Omaha Hi-Lo it sometimes happens that two or more players collect similar hands. It is a more common case with the low combinations, but it can also happen in high with similar straight or full house. If two or more players have equal low (or high) combinations, the low part of the pot is split into two parts.

Should there be an uneven number of chips when splitting the high and the low pots, the additional chips go to the winner of the high pot.

Omaha Hi-Lo Strategy Tips

  • Remember, in Omaha you're playing in order to win the whole pot, therefore if your hand after the flop is not the one that would win the game, or would probably be beaten by the low it is better just to check or fold and leave the game as soon as possible. It is the same if you are collecting the low hand and you're not sure whether you would beat the high hand.
  • Play your Omaha Hi-Lo hands slow, don't rush. It is rather hard to kick your opponents from the game, as early raises are risky if you're not sure of having the superior hand.
  • It is always better to avoid playing medium suited connectors. Combinations like 8h 9h, which are rather strong in Hold'em or Omaha Hi, are not considered to be good in Hi-Lo. In order to draw a high straight you would have to use the cards that would be also used by your opponents to form low hands. To play such a hand you would need a suited ace or an A2.
  • Do not overrate A2, A3 and 2 3 in low as they are often shared with the other players' hands which brings the risk of getting only a quarter of the pot. In other words, if two players collect the low hands and one has the high, every next bet makes 1/3 of the pot whereas the win would only contain 1/4 of it. In such situation the best move is to check. Only if there are three or more players with high or low hands, it is possible to win by playing fast. Beware of the coordinated flops like 8 7 6 as they might easily turn into straights that would surpass your high pair or some other good hand.
  • Watch out for the suited flops that may improve the flush. In this case you need to have the same suit, a set or a two pair that might complement.
  • If the opponent makes a raise, it is very important to check how much chips they have left in their stack. Players who make a bet close to all-in often raise all of their chips with significantly weak hands.
  • Analyze your opponents, especially when you're out of the game and may spend some time observing their play. What are their usual moves: do they stay in the game or fold? Do they bluff? Is it possible to bluff against them? Are there any “tells” that would allow you to read their hands etc. Try to bluff sometimes. It will make your game more diverse, harder to predict and to follow. Once your bluff works you will collect the pot that you would otherwise not get. Although if it doesn't, you might loose some chips, but this would provide you with a few additional calls once you will actually receive a good hand.
  • Pay a lot of attention to your cards. Omaha Hi-Lo hands can be very tricky – sometimes it is very easy to think that your hand is superior when it is not, and not to see a strong one when you actually have it. Be careful in order to avoid the mistakes that might cost you some big money.
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