Omaha Poker, Hi Lo Qualify 8 - Rules and Strategy Tips
The basic principles and strategies for Omaha High Low Holdem Poker
shown here are those generally agreed to and
recommended by the experts for bet limit games. An
understanding of these basics is needed for all levels of
competitive play. Solid intermediate and expert level poker
normally require study of the more advanced game tactics and
considerable hours of online or actual card room playing
Omaha Hold'em Hi Lo
Omaha is similar to Holdem in using a three-card flop on
the board, a fourth boardcard, and then a fifth boardcard.
Each player is dealt four holecards (instead of two) at the
start. In order to make a hand a player must use precisely
two holecards with three boardcards. The betting is the same
as in Hold'em. At the showdown, the entire four-card hand
should be shown to receive the pot.
How to Play?
Highest hand splits the pot with the
- Players MUST use TWO of their hole cards
combined with three from the board to make their highest and
- Any two of the player's four cards can be used
for high, and any two can be used for low
- To qualify for
the low half of the pot, the low hand must be 8,7,6,5,4 or
- Ace plays both high and low
- Three raise limit
- Cards speak
Card Distribution and Betting Procedure
At casino Hold'em tables, a round plastic marker called
the dealer "button" is placed in front of the player who
would be dealing if a house dealer were not provided. The
button is moved one seat clockwise after each game and the
card distribution and betting starts to the left of that
Each player is dealt four cards face down. Then, a
total of five community cards are dealt face up in the
center of the table in three betting segments (3-1-1). After
all the cards are dealt the players make the best hand that
they can by combining any two of their two hole cards with
any three of the five community cards. Using the
illustration above, a player holding a jack and a four would
end up with a full house, jacks over fours. If he is also
holding a six and an ace, he would have a qualifying low
hand of 8,6,5,4,A.
betting procedure goes like this:
Before each player is
dealt four down cards, the player at the immediate left of
the button, called the "Small Blind" is forced to bet $1
(half the minimum bet). Then the player to his left and two
seats to the left of the button, called the "Big Blind", is
forced to bet $2. Each player is then dealt a four card
hand. Then the player at the left of the big blind is first
to act and he must either call the big blind's $2 bet,
raise, or fold his hand. Continuing in turn clockwise, all
the players around the table either call, raise or fold.
When the betting gets back around to the small blind, he or
she can fold and lose only the half minimum bet of $1 placed
earlier, call the amount necessary to get up to the betting
level or raise $2 if there is a raise left. The big blind is
then the last to act before any cards are turned up in the
middle. The blinds are played in the first round only
- The dealer turns three cards up in the center of the table.
This is the "Flop". As always, the player at the left of the
button is first to act. There are no more forced bets and
the players can all check around if they want to. Bets right
after the flop are at the $2 minimum bet level.
comes the "Turn" card with more betting that now goes to the
- Finally the last, or "River" card is turned
up. The last $4 betting round takes place. The players still
in the contest reveal their hole cards and the highest hand
wins the pot or splits with the lowest qualifying low hand.
Of course, the ideal result is to win the high end with no
split or have the cards to win both ways.
Omaha Hi Lo Strategy
- In Omaha High-Low the high hand winner must split the pot
with the player with the best qualifying low hand.
- There is
always a high hand winner but not always a low.
- For your
hand to qualify for low, it must have five denominations no
higher than an eight.
- Any two of your your four down cards
are played for high and any two are played for low.
must play exactly two out of their hands for each direction.
- Aces are played both high and low.
- Straights and flushes do
not disqualify a hand for low, so a player ending with 5 4 3
2 A would have an unbeatable low hand and a 5 high straight
to play for high. A player with this hand would have a good
chance of winning both ways. He or she could also have
another high hand better than the straight.
The most important thing to keep in mind in split pot
games is the big profit difference between winning half the
pot and "scooping" it all. - It is a lot more than just
twice as much. Scooping the pot usually builds a healthy
addition to your stack of chips. Getting half often puts you
barely ahead of where you were before you started playing
the hand. Expert Omaha Hi Lo players only play starting
hands, like those recommended here, that have a good chance
of winning both ways. Omaha is a game of "nuts".
many players with so many cards, finding so many reasons to
play, a final hand with a fairly good high and a fairly good
low can easily get clobbered by better hands both ways. So
after the flop or maybe the turn, if it looks like you don't
have an almost certain winner for one end and a decent shot
at the other, or the best high hand with no qualifying low
probable, you should usually fold up and wait for the next
Glossary of Terms
Four Basic Card Groups
- ACES - A
- LOW CARDS - 5, 4, 3, 2
- MIDDLE CARDS - 10, 9, 8, 7, 6
- HIGH CARDS - K, Q, J
- WHEEL - (5 4 3 2 A). Can be played as the lowest
possible hand, a straight for high or both.
- SUITED PLAYER HAND (S) - Two of the players four
cards of the same suit.
- DOUBLE SUITED PLAYER HAND (DS) - Two of the players
cards of one suit and two of another suit.
- SET - Three of a kind with two of the three in your
hand. (One in your hand and two on the board is
- NUT HAND - An unbeatable high or low hand. Sometimes
called a "lock".
- FLOP, TURN. RIVER - The community cards in the order
of distribution. See top illustration.
- SCOOP - Win both high and low ends of the pot or win
it all with a high hand when there is no low.
- FAST PLAY - Bet, raise and re-raise to get as many
other players out as possible.
- SLOW PLAY - Just check or call along to keep other
players in the game and increase the pot odds.
- CHECK-FOLD - Check when you can and fold if you are
bet into. Gladly accept all free cards offered.
Throw-Away Starting Hands
These hands should be automatically folded without any
- Quads - (including) A A A A
- Trip Threes thru Trip Kings - 3 3 3 X - K K K X
- Three or more unpaired Middle Cards - X 6 7 9
Playable Starting Hands
Note: The best possible starting hand is AA23(DS)
- SOME TRIP ACES and TRIP DUECES - These only: 2AAA, 3AAA,
4AAA(S), 5AAA(S), 222A(S)
- PAIR of ACES with LOW CARDS - AA23, AA44, AA35 etc.
- PAIR of ACES SUITED with ANYTHING - Ah A Xh X
- A2 with ANYTHING - A2XX
- A3 with LOW CARDS - Paired or unpaired. A344,A345, A355
- A3/ ACE SUITED with ANYTHING - Ad A Xd X
- ACE SUITED with THREE UNPAIRED HIGH CARDS - Ac Jc Q K etc.
- FOUR UNPAIRED LOW CARDS - 2345
- TWO HIGH PAIR DOUBLESUITED - Kh Kd Qh Qd etc.
Omaha Hi-Lo Split