Omaha Hi-Lo can be a great game to learn, even if you are already familiar with Texas Hold’em. Although the rules are similar, there are great new twists. You get four-hole cards and can win half of the pot with your worst hand.
Omaha Hi-Lo Rules
You’ll see that the rules for Omaha poker play identically to Texas Hold’em. Some even call it ‘Omaha. Hold ’em. However, there are some exceptions.
- All players receive four holes cards instead of two.
- To create a five-card poker hand, you need to use precisely two hole cards and three community cards.
Omaha Hi-Lo, also known as Omaha Hi-Lo Split or Omaha 8/b (‘eight or better), is a variant of traditional Omaha. Half the pot is given to the lowest qualifying hand. It is where the ‘hi’ in the title comes from and why these poker games are sometimes called split games.
The High Hand
Omaha Hi-Lo gives at least half the pot to the winning traditional five-card poker hand. These are the same rules as other poker games. A royal flush hand is the best, and a hand without pairs, straights, or flushes is known as a high-card hand.
The Poker Hands guide is a helpful page that you can bookmark. Why not open it again the next time your play online poker?
Omaha Hi-Lo is one of many stories. If it qualifies, half of every pot goes to the lowest possible hand.
The Low Hand
How does one qualify to play in Omaha Hi-Lo’s low half? Only a few requirements are required:
- No pairs can be found in a five-card hand
- A hand cannot contain cards more significant than 8 (hence, the name “eight or better”).
That’s it! When you make a low hand, face cards count as low cards. Straights and flushes do not count against you. Therefore, the best soft hand is, A-2-3-4-5 of all suits (also known as ‘The Wheel’).
To create a low hand, you must use exactly three community cards. The board must contain three unpaired cards that rank eight or more down.
If a low hand is impossible or there is no qualifier for low-hand players, the whole pot will be won by the high hand.
Go both ways – scooping the pot.
You can win high and low pots by using different cards or making soft hands that also win straights or flushes.
It is Omaha Hi-Lo’s best strategy for winning the pot. It’s twice as profitable as winning half of the pool. Omaha Hi-Lo is a great place to start hands that have the potential of winning the pot.
Reading Omaha Hi-Lo Poker Hands
It can be more challenging to figure out who the Omaha Hi-Lo winners are than with Texas Hold’em hands, but it is possible with some practice. These are some examples of indicators that you can use to get started.
Each hand ends with the river being dealt. Can you identify who won each pot and what the winning combination was? Remember that each player must only use two cards from their hands to make a high- or low-hand hand.
- Player 3 wins the high half of the pot by using the eight and Q to make three of a kind with an A-Q kicker.
- Player 2 wins the low half of this pot. He uses the 2 and 4 for an eight-high (A2 4 5 8)
Although Player 1 has the straight, Player 3 has the flush. But, if you remember that each player must use precisely two cards from their hand, these hands are technically impossible.
Player 3 has a good low hand, with an eight-high (A2 5 6 8), but Player 2, on the other hand, wins the common. While they may share the same highest card (8), Player 2’s next highest card, a 5, is better than Player 3. It is a lower rank and Player 3’s 6.
- Player 3 has a straight for high hands and The Wheel (A-2-3-4-4-5) for soft hands. So, Player 3 scoops the pot and takes home the whole lot!
The straight and low hands use the same cards in this instance. Straights are not considered against you when making soft hands, but they can still be used to win the high half of the pot.
Although Player 1 might have a full hand, they would still need to use three-hole cards. Player 2 could have a better low hand than Player 3. Their A-3 was lower than A-5. However, pairing their three resulted in them needing a higher hand.
- Player 2 can get straight to 7 using the 6-7 and the 3-4-5 on their board. It will win the high half.
- Player 3 wins the low using the 3-5 cards in their hand and the A-2-4 on The Wheel to win. They win only a little because Player 2 has a better straight.
You will notice that all players must use precisely two hole cards. It is impossible to “play the board” in Texas Hold’em. The straight (The Wheel), made by community cards, is not available for play.
Player 1 was dealt three Kings in their hole cards. However, three-of-a-kind is hard to improve because only two holes cards can be used.
Limit, Pot Limit, or No Limit?
Omaha Hi-Lo was once a limited game. All bets were placed in two units, a smaller amount at the turn and a more significant amount at the river. Although you can still find limit Omaha Hi-Lo online and live, it is more common to see this game played at no-limit or pot-limit tables.
What is Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo?
The pot size determines the maximum raise in any pot-limit poker game. It is essential to consider how much you can raise when calculating the pot size.
Suppose you are under the gun and the first to act preflop. Now you want to raise the pot. How much money can you grow with the small blind at $0.50 and the big blind at $1?
First, by calling the big blind, you add $1 to a pot that already has $1.50, totaling $2.50. It is your maximum raise. It would be best if you raised the bank by putting $3.50 into the pool ($1 for your call and $2.50 to increase).
You can quickly raise your maximum stakes in online poker rooms by hitting a button! You can find more information on how pot-limit games work on our Pot Limit Omaha page.
No-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo
You might have played No-Limit Texas Hold’em or other no-limit games. This version of O8 allows players to bet whatever they want whenever it’s their turn. These types of big-bet games are becoming more popular. Many Omaha Hi-Lo online games will be no-limit versions in both cash games and tournaments.
Omaha games offer more options than Texas Hold’em, allowing players to make possible hands. Omaha Hi-Lo and Omaha Omaha Hole-Lo have four hole cards, meaning there are six possible two-card combinations. It makes Omaha’s hands stronger. These two additional cards can create different combos.
Four of these six combinations have the potential to form strong hands, depending on how the flop is constructed. The K 2 does not add any value, nor does the A K, which compares favorably with the K 2. These hands have the potential to make big hands, both high and low.
Draws are becoming more frequent and more powerful. It is why it’s a good idea to have large bets to discourage players from drawing to stronger hands. Limit games have a much stricter limit on the number of bets you can place.
Omaha Hi-Lo Strategy
Many players who start with Omaha Hi-Lo are challenged by the fact that they have to rethink some of the fundamentals of Texas Hold’em.
Omaha is dominated by big pairs, such as aces or kings, and high-card combinations, like A-K, A-Q, and A-K, but not in Hold’em.
Because more card combinations are available, chances of hitting straights, flushes, or other draws are much higher; it is doubtful that a single large pair will still be ahead at the river.
We recommend following these basic rules when it comes to Omaha Hi-Lo strategies:
- The potential for many hands (or draws) on a flop depends on how well your four-hole cards work together.
- If you have a middle card in your hand (e.g., 7, 8, 9, T
- Keep in mind the importance of the position. If you are in a place where no one has demonstrated strength, relax your starting hand requirements.
- When calculating your pot odds, adjust your draw limit if you only draw half.
- Stay attached to your hand. You can easily be outdrawn while flopping the nuts.
The last thing we want to mention is what happens if you share half of the pot with someone who holds the same hand as you. It can be detrimental to your stack and challenging to avoid, especially if you have a strong hand like the nut high.
Omaha Hi-Lo’s nut low is a clearly defined pair of cards. Anyone who holds that combination at the river will know they are unbeatable for the lower half of the pot. Although this can lead to sure betting and calling, it is common for multiple players to have that unbeatable combination.
The winners of the halfway pot must split it when that happens. It can be more harmful if fewer players are in the pool. It means that you have contributed more of the pot. For example, you could put 33% of chips in a 3-handed pot and then take back 25%. Or, imagine putting nearly 50% of chips in a heads-up pot but only taking 25% back.
Pay attention to the betting patterns of your opponents to know when you are splitting the low. Even if you’re holding the low nut, it’s essential to read carefully through a hand. It is contrary to how we view the nuts in Texas Hold’em.
You can try it for yourself.
Omaha Hi-Lo offers a thrilling, exciting game that will challenge even the most experienced Texas Hold’em players but is easy to pick up and start playing. Check out our recommended poker websites to find a new place to play today.
Are you looking for more variety in your poker game? Try a new draw poker game, Badugi, or a more unusual type of poker like Open Face Chinese Poker. These and other games are covered in our Poker Games section.