Omaha Hi-Lo: Basic Overview
Omaha Hi-Lo (also known as Omaha 8 or better) is often times viewed as maybe one of the most complicated popular poker games. It is a game that, even more than regular Omaha poker, invites action from every level of player. This is the main reason why a once obscure, abstract game has increased in popularity so rapidly.
Omaha Hi-Lo begins like a regular game of Omaha. Four cards are dealt to every player. A round of betting ensues where players can bet, check, or fold. Three cards are dealt out, this is called the flop. Another round of betting ensues. Once all the players have either called or folded, another card is flipped on the turn. Another round of betting ensues and then the river card is flipped. The player must attempt to make the best high and low five card hands based on the board and hole cards.
This is where some players get confused. Unlike Texas Hold ‘Em, where the board can be everyone’s hands, in Omaha Hi-Lo the player must use exactly three cards from the board, and exactly two hole cards. No more, no less. Unlike regular Omaha, there are two ways a pot can be won: the “high hand” or the “low hand.”
A high hand is just want it sounds like. It is the strongest possible hand out of everyone’s, whether that is a straight, flush, full house, etc. It’s the same concept in almost every poker game.
A low hand is more complicated, but really opens up the action. When figuring out a low hand, straights and flushes do not count. A low hand is the weakest hand that can be made, with the lowest being A-2-3-4-5. Since straights and flushes do not count A-2-3-4-5 is the lowest possible hand. The low hand is any five card hand (unpaired) with an eight and lower. The low hand wins half of the pot, as does the high hand. When there’s no low hand available, the high hand wins the entire pot.
While it seems complicated at first, after a few hands you will be able to pick up on the basic nuances of play easily enough. Since you have people betting for the low and betting for the high, and since so many cards are in play, Omaha High-Low offers an amazing array of betting options and because you have several players shooting for the high, as well as several shooting for the low. If you like a game with a lot of outs and actions, it is worth your time to play Omaha Hi-Lo.