Omaha Hi Lo: How To Play
While No Limit Texas Hold’em’s reign as the quintessential poker version due to its ties to the World Series of Poker’s main event and pop culture following thanks to movies like Rounders. However, like most poker variants, NL Texas Hold’em only offers players one way to win. What if I told you there was a game where each hand provides the table two chances to win? Omaha Hi Lo is gaining in popularity for this very reason. This guide will walk you through the Hi Lo rules, how to play and share some strategy and tips.
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- What are Omaha Hi Lo poker basic rules?
- What’s the difference between regular Omaha and Hi Lo?
- How do you play Omaha Hi Lo?
- What are some Omaha hi lo strategies, tips?
To understand the rules of Omaha Hi Lo, you must first learn regular Omaha, also known as Omaha hold’em or Omaha Hi. If you’re familiar with the standard rules Texas hold’em, the same basic premise applies. However, in regular Omaha poker, each player’s starting hand receives four down cards and is looking to build the best possible five-card poker hand from five community cards. Omaha Hi poker hand rankings look as you would expect.
|Poker Hand Name||Cards|
|Royal Flush||A, K, Q, J, 10 in the same suit|
|Straight Flush||Five cards in any sequence, all of the same suit|
|Four of a Kind||Four cards of the same rank, one in each suit, plus an additional card that doesn’t count|
|Full House||Three cards of one rank, and a pair of another rank|
|Flush||Five cards of the same suit in any order|
|Straight||Any five cards in order|
|Three of a Kind||Three cards of the same rank, plus two more cards|
|Two Pair||Two cards of one rank and two cards of another rank, plus one more card|
|One Pair||Two cards of the same rank, plus three more cards|
|No Pair||All five cards of different ranks and not all of one suit|
The difference between Omaha Hi and Hi Lo is that instead of one pot going to one winner, the pot is split 50/50 and awarded to the player(s) with the best “high cards hand” and best “low cards hand”, but only if there is a qualifying low hand. We’ll explain that in a second.
When building your Hi and Lo hands, you can take any two of your four cards and combine them with three of the five community cards. When building the Hi, the rules rank the best as Ace, King, Queen, Jack, 10, and so on, while the Lo ranks their best cards Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, and so on. So, the Ace can be used both ways when building out your hands. Also, the two cards hole cards you choose DO NOT have to be the same.
If there’s a tie on Hi or Lo, the pots will be chopped (split) among the winners.
Note: most variations of Hi Lo apply an “8’s-or-better” on the Lo, which means the cards in the winning hand can’t be higher than an 8.
It’s easier to play a sample hand to teach you how to play rather than inject too many words, which may cloud and confuse. Omaha Hi Lo consists of three rounds.
Let’s pretend in this sample, we’re playing $5 / $10 Hi Lo. The small blind, player directly to the left of the dealer, bets $5 and big blind, seated to the left of the small blind bets $10.
Each player is then dealt four cards face down.
The first round of betting beings with the player located directly to the left of the big blind. Players can then call the big blind of $10, raise the $10 to whatever amount (if no limit) or the value of the pot at the time (which in this case would be $15) or the player can fold their cards.
The difference between Omaha Hi and Hi Lo is that instead of one pot going to one winner, the pot is split 50/50 and awarded to the player with the best “high hand” and best “low hand”, but only if one of the low hands qualify.
After bets are in, the dealer will flip over three community cards referred to as “the flop”. The first player to the left of the dealer who remains in the hand begins the next betting round. That player can either check (no bet), bet or fold. The players next to the first bettor can either check (if person before them checked), call (match previous bet), raise the bet to their liking or fold.
After the post-flop round of betting is complete, the dealer flips over a fourth card, deemed “the turn”, and another round of betting ensues.
Whomever is remaining in the hand gets to see the fifth and final community card referred to as “the river,” which then enjoys one final round of betting.
After the post-river round of betting is complete, all remaining players flip over their cards. The person with the best Omaha Hi hand win half the pot and the person with the best Omaha Lo hand wins half the pot. This can be same person and referred to as “scooping” the pot.
If no player qualifies for the Lo win, the player with the best Hi hand wins the entire pot.
- Remember, players can win two different ways in the same hand of Omaha Hi Lo.
- Because there are so many ways to win making the odds very different from typical poker variants, you may want to study and observe before joining a table for real money.
- If you are more familiar with other two hole-card poker variations, don’t assume your Hi Lo hand is all that great. With four hole cards, everybody else at the table has just as good of chance of building a strong Hi or Lo.
- Be sure to see the flop, first three community cards, before raising.
- If your four hole cards aren’t strong, it’s OK to fold after the flop
- The best hand is Ace-Ace-2-3 double-suited
- Bluffing isn’t an optimal strategy in Hi Lo