Omaha Hi Lo Rules
Nowadays Omaha Hi Lo rules can be useful for you to learn one of the most exciting varieties of poker. This is a very exciting and driving game that is becoming more and more popular among the players because it has a lot of action.
Omaha Hi Lo poker is part of the mix game format, such as the H.O.R.S.E. where it is represented by the second letter. It is also an element of the 8-Game Mix (also known as T.H.O.R.S.E.H.A.), which is also in high demand.
In this article, you will get acquainted with the rules of this discipline, the main differences from regular Omaha, as well as all possible varieties to play.
How to Play Omaha Hi Lo Poker
In fact, the rules of this format are very similar to classic Omaha poker. The difference appears only in determining the winner at the showdown stage. Otherwise, the basic rules of these games are identical.
As in traditional PLO, each participant receives 4 hole cards to himself (also called pocket cards). Players are required to use 2 of their 4 cards in combination with any 3 cards laid out on the board (also called community ones) to form a 5 card hand. Betting action also proceeds clockwise: it begins with the UTG player (or under the gun) who sits to the left of the BB (big blind).
This is also a format of the Omaha game, but with some important differences. The fundamental rules are the same, but each player receives five pocket cards at the start of each hand. This version of the game is considered less popular, but more aggressive.
There are also standard poker hand stages: preflop, flop, turn, river, showdown.
If a person bets and the other participants fold before the showdown, then the entire pot is given to that person (there is no need to show the hand). However, if two or more players reach the showdown stage, then their hands must be compared to determine who has made the highest high and winning low hand (each one must consist of five cards). At the same time, for each of the winning hands (high and low), half of the pot in the hand is due (it is divided into two equal parts).
There is also the possibility that one player will take both halves of the pot at once. This situation is called "scoop". There may also be no low hand, so the player with the best high hand gets the entire pot.
There are three main modifications to the game of Omaha Hi Lo poker:
- Pot Limit Omaha (PLO or PLO8). Here, the size of bets is limited by the size of the pot.
- Fixed Limit Omaha (FLO8). In this option, each betting stage has special restrictions, that is, there is a betting limit.
- No Limit Omaha (Omaha 8 or NLO8). When playing NLO8, a player can bet using all the poker chips that are in front of him on the table.
Card Combinations in the Game
In this game, the "high hand" is determined based on the standard rating. That is, these are the usual combinations of hands, as in the game of Texas Hold'em. Whereas the "low hand" requires more attention, especially if you have never played hi-lo poker.
The low hand includes 5 different cards, but no higher than the eight. Note that neither flushes nor straights are counted here, and the ace is considered the lowest card. However, when making a high hand, the ace is considered the highest card. This is the main difference in the rules from the 2-7 draw game, where there are also low combinations, but the ace cannot be considered a low card.
To determine the winning low hand, you must first compare the high cards. Then the second highest card, and so on. The weaker your cards, the stronger the hand. For example, 6-5-3-2-A clearly outperforms 7-4-3-2-A, but worse than 6-4-3-2-A.
The most powerful 5 card low you can make is 5-4-3-2-A. This combination of cards is considered the strongest according to Hi Lo Omaha rules. Here is a list of all low combinations, ranked from strongest to weakest:
- 5, 4, 3, 2, A
- 6, 4, 3, 2, A
- 6, 5, 4, 3, 2
- 7, 5, 4, 3, 2
- 7, 6, 5, 2, A
- 7, 6, 5, 4, 2
- 8, 4, 3, 2, A
- 8, 6, 4, 2, A
- 8, 7, 6, 5, 3
- 8, 7, 6, 5, 4
Omaha Hi Lo rules say that straights and flushes do not count and do not affect the strength of the low hand; therefore, a low hand that is a straight or a flush can be strong enough to win both parts of the pot. As mentioned above, this situation is called "scoop".
Poker Hand Examples
Let's look at some examples of Omaha Hi Lo poker combinations.
Hand example #1
Your cards: 3-4♥-T♥-Q
You had a strong starting hand preflop, but you don't have a low hand on the river. Also, your high hand is not the strongest nuts on this board. Here you only have 6-3-A from the board plus your 4, which is not enough to make a low hand. As for the high, you have a flush thanks to A♥-4♥ in your hand. But there is a pair on the board, which means that the opponent could have made a full house or even four of a kind (all of which will be stronger than your flush) with cards like 33, 66, KK, AA, K3, K6 or AK.
Hand example #2
Your cards: A-Q-3-3
Board: Q-7-5-7-7 (rainbow)
In this example, your best combination would be a full house of 7-7-7-3-3. The queen on the board cannot be used, so you by no means have a full house 7-7-7-Q-Q, as beginners may decide. Any opponent who has a seven or a pair stronger than 33 beats you. It should also be noted that in this situation it is impossible to make low combinations, since there must be three lower cards of different denominations on the board.
Hand Example #3
Your cards: 4-2-J-A
Board: 3-A-7-J-A (rainbow)
You have a very strong hand here: the ace and jack give you the highest possible hand on this board (full house of A-A-A-J-J). Also, the 4 and 2 complete the best possible low hand of 7-4-3-2-A. This means that you will receive the entire pot. With this nuts, you should bet whenever you can, as these monsters don't come up often.
Poker rooms to play Omaha Hi Lo
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In fact, learning Omaha Hi Lo rules isn't that hard, especially if you're not new to traditional PLO game. The distinctive element of this format is the "law" according to which a poker player can win the pot (at showdown) by making either a high or low hand. Players can also take the whole pot, that is, win both parts of it, if their hand is determined to be high and low at the same time.
Omaha strategy can be complicated at first glance, but the most important thing is to figure out which starting hands are the most profitable to enter the game. Also, don't make the common mistake of only fighting for one part of the pot.
Also, don't lose sight of the fact that the strategy varies depending on the size of the poker table. At short tables with 3 or 4 participants, you should behave more aggressively. And if there are 8 people at the table, it is better to use a tight style. If you get to the flop and make a pretty strong hand, try playing more aggressively. But don't play postflop if you don't have nut potential.
However, you must understand that poker, especially Omaha Hi Lo, is an unpredictable game, so there are always situations that require an individual approach and quick solutions.
To play this discipline, you first need to learn poker combinations (from high card to royal flush), which are the same for Omaha and Hold'em. After that, you need to understand the formation of low hands. Then you need to determine good starting hands with which you can take part in the game. This will be enough to try the real game in this discipline at the poker tables.
To successfully play in the Hi Lo format, you need to be able to form both high hands (usual combinations) and low ones. These rules are described in more detail in our special material. This approach is used not only in Omaha Hi Lo poker. You can also name such types of the game as Stud Hi Lo, Razz, Lowball, 2-7 draw.
Many high rollers often play this type of poker outside of hold'em and achieve good results. An example is Daniel "KidPoker" Negreanu, who even makes Omaha Hi-Lo educational videos.