Hi/Lo starts out just like Omaha. The player to the left of the dealer puts in
the small blind, and the next leftmost player puts in the big blind. Players are
each dealt a “pocket” hand of four cards, called “hole cards.” The action starts
at the left of the big blind and goes clockwise, ending at the big blind.
Players have a choice to act in one of the following ways: call (match the pot),
raise (raise the pot), check (no action if they are already in the pot), or fold
(withdraw from the hand).
Just as in Omaha and Texas Hold ‘em, betting rounds proceed in the same
manner, the first rotation of betting is followed by the “flop,” which is the
deal of the first three of five total community cards. The second betting round
is followed by the “turn,” or the fourth card dealt face up on the table, and
the third betting round follows the “river,” which deals the final community
card. Both the turn and the river are preceded by a “burn” card (a card that is
dealt out of the game and discarded). A final betting round follows the river,
and then hands are shown or “mucked.” Players can muck their hands if they
choose to retreat from the action without showing their hands. Rather than
revealing their cards and possibly revealing insight into their playing styles,
they fold their hands without showing them.
The only difference between Omaha Poker and Omaha Hi/Lo Poker is the way the
winner is determined. Like Omaha, one player will always win the high hand,
using exactly two of their pocket cards with exactly three of the community
cards. If this is the only qualifying hand, this player will take the pot.
However, there is also an opportunity for the lowest ranking hand to win also,
which is the “Lo” in Omaha Hi/Lo. The low hand is also made with two of a
player’s hole cards and exactly three of the community cards. In the event that
there is a qualifying high hand and a qualifying low hand, the pot is split.
Sometimes, one player will win both the high hand and the low hand, taking the
Keep in mind that if your hand consists of cards with values over 8, it is
not possible for your hand to win the low. Alternatively, cards equal to or less
than 8 will qualify for a low hand. Cards with values in the mid-range will
neither benefit a low or a high hand, unless your best hand combination includes
pairs or a flush. Essentially, players must keep in mind the low state and the
high state of their hands simultaneously throughout the game, which complicates
the general thought process of regular Omaha Poker.
You should also take note that in Omaha Hi/Lo, Aces are valued as both low
cards and high cards. As a result, the lowest hand is A/2/3/4/5. This hand is
called the “wheel.” When two players have made the same low hand, they split the
low pot. This is a “quartered” pot and is not always more profitable than
With so many potentially qualifying winning hands, Omaha Hi/Lo gets pretty
serious, and the pots get pretty big. Learning this game is easy… mastering the
intense concentration takes practice.
Omaha Hi/Lo is a more complicated version of Omaha poker. It takes the game
of Omaha and doubles the complexity, requiring a player to divide his thought
process between both the high and low of his hand. It takes a bright mind to
grasp all aspects of Omaha Hi/Lo at the same time. It’s a challenge for those
who seek to stretch and strengthen their poker abilities.
One of the most fundamental strategies to Omaha Hi/Lo is knowing which hands to
Familiarizing yourself with hand evaluation techniques before you sit down at
an Omaha Hi/Lo table will benefit your game significantly. Beginning players
often make the mistake of playing every hand based on the theory that any
combination of a player’s pocket cards has the potential to win the pot, which
is not always the case. The smart Omaha Hi/Lo player will know before the flop
whether or not their hand has potential.
By definition of a hi/lo game, two players are ultimately intended to split
the pot, the one holding the best high hand and the one holding the best low
hand. A better result would for one player to win all with both the high win and
the low win, or “scoop the pot” (take it all without a split). Winning the whole
pot should be your primary goal. Keeping this in mind will help you evaluate
your starting hand based on the value of your cards and the number of players in
In Omaha Hi/Lo, Aces are the most valuable cards. Since the amount of hands
dealt from the deck affects the chances of all Aces being in play, the number of
players should be considered when evaluating your hand. If ten players are dealt
into a hand, there will be 40 cards used, which means it is very likely that the
winning hand will have to be the nuts. Therefore, a lot of players fold if they
are not initially dealt an Ace. But this isn’t always the best option.
At fuller tables, hands that have no chance of winning the low should be
played with caution and should not prompt a raise or attempt to withstand
another player’s high raise. Hands full of mid-range cards (6-9) should always
be folded. It is safe to play pocket cards that have potential to win only the
low hand against a full table because the pot will be substantial enough to be a
lucrative split. But keep in mind, low hands frequently tie with other low
hands, resulting in a quarter pot, which will only get you a refund of your bet.
At a table with less than five players, a quartered pot will result in a
deficit, but here you don’t necessarily need the nuts to win, and more hands can
be played. For instance, you can play hands without Aces freely. You can also
cautiously play hands with middle valued cards (6-9) but these hands should be
folded if a decent hand doesn’t come up on the flop. One disadvantage to playing
at a smaller table is that fewer players means smaller pots. Therefore, split
pots are less profitable, and high hands and hi/lo hands are more substantial.
Hi/Lo games are refined variations of poker and attract many deep-thinking
players, who at experienced levels are very hard to beat, and they won’t
hesitate to take you down when they smell a novice at the table. Play smart and
practice often, and you will be among them in no time.