Omaha Hi-Lo Poker

If you know how to play Omaha Pot Limit (or Omaha Hi), you are already on your way to learning how to play Omaha Hi-Lo. As the name implies, Omaha Hi-Lo is a split-version version of Omaha with players participating in the “high” and “low” parts of the bank. Omaha hi-lo is usually played with fixed bets and it often appears in “mixed game” formats such as H.O.R.S.E. (in which Omaha Hi-Lo is “O”) or a popular 8-game mix.

Sometimes you will see this game simply called Omaha 8. Pot-limit and unlimited versions of Omaha Hi-Lo are also popular, especially online, like in cash games or tournaments.

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How to play Omaha Hi-Lo?

Omaha Hi-Lo is one of the most popular and interesting types of poker. Today, most poker rooms provide the opportunity to play poker online for free in various Omaha Hi-Lo options. Omaha hi-lo is also called Omaha 8 or less. There are three main types of game. Our online poker training offer will help you understand all three.

  • Pot Limit Omaha Hi / Lo (PLO8)
  • Fixed Limit Omaha Hi / Lo (FLO8)
  • Omaha Hi-Lo No Limit (NLO8)

Mostly playing on the Internet goes to PLO8 and FLO8.

Omaha Hi-Lo Rules

The rules of Omaha 8 and less at first glance are very reminiscent of simple Omaha poker. Inattentive players may not even immediately realize that they are playing a completely different game. The difference appears only when determining the winner after the showdown, otherwise the rules of these two games are the same.

When the showdown time comes, the bank is divided into two halves, which are received by the owners of the best high and low combinations (in other words, the strongest and weakest hands). One player can pick up both halves of the pot at the same time. This situation is called scoop. It’s also possible that there is no low hand, and the owner of the strongest combination takes the entire bank.

A low combination consists of five different cards no older than eight. In this case, the straight and flush are not taken into account, and the ace plays as the lowest card (it is considered as a unit).

To determine the best low, the highest card is compared first, then the second, and so on. The smaller the card, the better the combination. For example, low 6-5-4-3-2 will be older than 7-4-3-2-A, but younger than 6-4-3-2-A.

The strongest possible low (5-4-3-2-A) is called the “wheel.” This combination is considered the strongest in Omaha 8 and less, as it gives an excellent chance to pick up the second half of the straight bank as well.

Flop

After the completion of the first round of bidding, a “flop” is dealt face up. The flop is the first three community cards available to all active players. The first active player goes clockwise from the button. The next round of bidding. In fixed-limit high-low Omaha, all bets and raises are multiples of a small bet (for example, $ 2 in a $ 2 / $ 4 game).

Turn

After bidding on the flop, the turn is dealt face up. Turn is the fourth community card in Omaha Hi-Lo. The first active player goes clockwise from the button. The next round of bidding. In Omaha Hi-Lo with a fixed limit, the size of all bets and raises on the turn is a multiple of a large bet (for example, $ 4 in a game of $ 2 / $ 4).

River

After bidding on the turn, the river is dealt face up. The River is the fifth and final community card in Omaha Hi-Lo. The first active player goes clockwise from the button. The last round of bidding.

Showdown

If after the end of the last round of bidding there are several active players in the hand, the first player to open the card is the player who made the last bet or raise. If there were no bets in the last round, then the active player sitting clockwise from the button is the first to open the cards. The player with the best five-card combination wins the high part of the pot, and the player with the lowest combination gets the low part of the pot. In Omaha, players must use two and only two of their pocket cards and exactly three community cards. If several players have collected equivalent combinations, then the high and low banks are divided equally between them. If no combination meets the criteria for a low combination, then the strongest hand (winning the high bank) receives the entire pot.

After the bank is handed over to the player who won the hand, the next hand begins. The button moves to the next player clockwise.

Omaha Hi-Lo Starters

For a successful game in this kind of Omaha it’s very important to choose the right starting hands for the draw. Since our goal is to collect stingy, a strong starting hand should be able to collect both high and low. So, to win a low bank, hands like A-2-x-x, A-3-x-x, A-4-5-x, 2-3-x-x are best suited. A-A-x-x, A-K-x-x, K-K-x-x, Q-Q-x-x, etc. are not bad for winning a high bank. If your hand fits both types, then you need to play it. The strongest starter in Omaha Hi-Lo is A-A-2-3.

Don’t play the randowns (ranks). These hands are very strong in Omaha, but in Omaha 8 they have virtually no value. You should also be careful with hands like A-2-x-x, which do not have high potential, for example, A-2-6-T.

Omaha Hi-Lo with a fixed limit, pot limit and no limit

The rules of Omaha Hi-Lo with a fixed limit, no limit and pot limit are practically the same, with some exceptions:

  • Fixed Limit Omaha Hi / Lo
    Fixed limit Omaha Hi-Lo bet sizes are predefined and structured. On pre-flop and flop, all bets and raises are made in increments equal to the big blind. On the turn and river, the size of all bets and raises doubles. In Omaha Hi-Lo with a fixed limit, up to four bets are allowed in each round of bidding. That is, (1) a bet, (2) a raise, (3) a re-raise, and (4) a cap (last raise) are allowed.
  • Fixed Limit Omaha Hi / Lo
    Fixed limit Omaha Hi-Lo bet sizes are predefined and structured. On pre-flop and flop, all bets and raises are made in increments equal to the big blind. On the turn and river, the size of all bets and raises doubles. In Omaha Hi-Lo with a fixed limit, up to four bets are allowed in each round of bidding. That is, (1) a bet, (2) a raise, (3) a re-raise, and (4) a cap (last raise) are allowed.
  • Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo
    The minimum pot-limit Omaha Hi-Lo bet is the big blind, but players can place any bets that do not exceed the size of the pot.

Minimum Raise: Raise size must be no less than any previous bet or raise made in the same round of bidding. For example, if the first player bets $ 5, then the second player can raise at least $ 5 (i.e. the total bet is $ 10).

The maximum raise. The maximum raise is equal to the size of the pot, which is defined as the sum of the active pot, the bets on the table and the amount by which the active player must first call before raising.

Example. If the pot is $ 100, and there were no bets in the current round of betting, the player can bet no more than $ 100. After the bet is made, the move proceeds to the next player clockwise. The player can either fold or call (add $ 100 to the pot) or raise from the minimum (another $ 100) to the maximum raise. In this case, the maximum bet is $ 400 – the player must first call $ 100, increasing the size of the pot to $ 300, and then raise another $ 300, which will total $ 400.

There is no limit to the number of raises in pot-limit high-low Omaha.

  • Unlimited Omaha Hi-Lo
    The minimum bet in unlimited high-low Omaha is equal to the big blind, but players can place any bets, including all chips.

Minimum Raise: In an unlimited Hi-Lo Omaha, the raise size must not be less than the previous bid or raise made in the same round of bidding. For example, if the first player bets $ 5, then the second player can raise at least $ 5 (i.e. the total bet is $ 10).

The maximum raise. The entire player stack (i.e. all player chips on the table).

There is no limit on the number of raises in unlimited high-low Omaha.
In the PokerStars client program you cannot make a bet less than the minimum or more than the maximum. The slider for choosing the size of the bet will allow you to place a bet in the range of acceptable values.

Omaha Hi-Lo is rapidly gaining popularity, especially thanks to the proliferation of online poker. Therefore, although it will take some time to learn the rules of Omaha Hi-Lo, many players like this kind of poker.

Conclusion

Omaha hi-lo is easy to learn, especially if you already know how to play pot-limit Omaha. The strategy can be complicated, however, it’s most important to understand what strong starting hands are (for example, hands containing an ace with at least one or two low cards, especially a deuce) and not make mistakes when fighting only half the pot (only high or low).