Omaha Hi-Low: Fundamental Summary

Omaha Hi-Lo (also known as Omaha/8 or better) is frequently seen as one of the most difficult but well-loved poker variations. It is a variation that, even more than regular Omaha poker, invites play from all levels of players. This is the main reason why a once invisible game, has grown in acceptance so quickly.

Omaha 8 or better begins exactly like a normal game of Omaha. Four cards are dealt to each player. A sequence of betting ensues where players can bet, check, or fold. Three cards are given out, this is called the flop. One more round of betting ensues. Once all the gamblers have in turn called or folded, an additional card is revealed on the turn. Another round of betting happens and then the river card is flipped. The gamblers must attempt to make the strongest high and low five card hands based on the board and hole cards.

This is where some entrants often get confused. Unlike Hold’em, where the board can make up every player’s hand, in Omaha Hi-Lo the player has to utilize exactly three cards from the board, and exactly 2 cards from their hand. Not a single card more, not a single card less. Unlike regular Omaha, there are 2 ways a pot can be won: the "higher hand" or the "low hand."

A high hand is just how it sounds. It is the best possible hand out of every player’s, whether that is a straight, flush, full house, etc. It’s the very same concept in nearly every poker game.

The lower hand is more complicated, but certainly opens up the action. When determining a low hand, straights and flushes don’t count. A low hand is the weakest hand that might be put together, with the worst being A-2-3-4-5. Considering that straights and flushes don’t count, A-2-3-4-5 is the smallest value hand possible. The lower hand is any five card hand (unpaired) with an eight and smaller. The lower hand takes half of the pot, as does the higher hand. When there’s no lower hand available, the high hand takes the whole pot.

While it seems difficult at first, following a few rounds you will be able to get the fundamental subtleties of the game easily enough. Seeing as you have individuals betting for the low and betting for the high, and seeing as so many cards are in play, Omaha/8 provides an overwhelming range of wagering choices and because you have many individuals trying for the high hand, as well as many battling for the low. If you enjoy a game with a plethora of outs and actions, it is worth your time to play Omaha/8.

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