Everything a Novice Needs to Know about Omaha Hi-Lo
Omaha has a large number of interesting variants, the most popular of which is Omaha Hi/Lo, which bears a striking similarity to Omaha Hi, but has a small difference. This small difference is very important because it completely changes the strategy that must be used to play Omaha Hi-Lo. The jackpot, in case of Omaha Hi-Lo, is shared equally between the player with the strongest hand and the player with the weakest hand, provided this weak hand qualifies by being an eight or better. If no player shows a weak poker hand that qualifies, the entire jackpot goes to the player with the strongest hand.
What is 8 or better?
Omaha Hi-Lo is the short form of Omaha Hi-Lo Split Eight or Better. Split simply indicates the fact that the pot is split equally between the player with the best hand and the player with the qualifying weakest hand. However, beginners often find it difficult to grasp the “8 or better” aspect of the game.
The term “8 or better” is used only for the weakest hand. In order to claim the half of the jackpot meant for the player with the weakest hand, players should create a weak hand that qualifies by being eight or something lower than eight. For example, a player who has a seven low qualifies for the pot. If a player has a weak hand, but does not qualify because it isn’t an “8 or better,” the entire pot is paid to the player with the strongest hand.
Fortunately, the strongest hand does not have to qualify, and a player who shows the strongest hand takes the pot.
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Omaha Hi-Lo Poker is based on standard Omaha rules, but gives players the opportunity to share the jackpot by challenging players to take half of it by creating a qualifying 8 or better low hand. Players are required to create their hands by using four cards in their hand and five community cards.
Omaha Hi-Lo comprises four betting rounds.
- During the first round of betting, the player who is dealt the cards first has to place the small blind, and the player sitting next to this player has to place the big blind. Four cards are dealt to each player at the table.
- During the second round, three community cards, called the flop, are placed on the board. Players now have to study the gaming situation and place another bet.
- The fourth card, known as the turn, is now placed on the board, followed by the third betting round.
- The fifth card, known as the river, is placed on the board, followed by the fourth betting round.
- The last part of the game is the showdown, when players still in the hand display their cards and receive their prizes, if any.
There are four different ways in which Omaha players can bet:
- Call – Players can place a bet equal to the bet placed by the player who last made a move.
- Raise – If a player wants to exert pressure on his/her opponents and force them to fold poor or mediocre hands, he/she can raise by placing a bet double that of the last player. The other players are then required to call this bet if they want to continue playing.
- Check – A player may check or bet nothing if it is his/her turn to bet and nobody has bet before him/her.
- Fold – Players can give up their hand and leave the game whenever they wish. This is called folding.
Omaha Hi-Lo players have two major aims:
- Create the best five-card poker hand
- Create a weak poker hand, taking care to see that all the cards are below nine
Omaha Hi-Lo games are available in three formats:
- No Limit
- Pot Limit
Two Omaha Hi-Lo Tips
- Omaha is a game of big hands – Although one hardly sees any big hands in Texas Hold’em, Omaha is a game of big hands, and it isn’t uncommon for players to get a hand as strong as a full house.
- Omaha Hi-Lo strategy is different – The strategies used for usual Omaha games cannot be used for Omaha Hi-Lo because of the presence of the “split.”