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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 experience.

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 lowest qualifying low hand
  • Players MUST use TWO of their hole cards combined with three from the board to make their highest and lowest hands.
  • 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 lower
  • Ace plays both high and low
  • Three raise limit per round
  • Cards speak

Card Distribution and Betting Procedure

Omaha High Low player hand and community cards distribution

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 position.

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.

The betting procedure goes like this:

  1. Blinds exampleBefore 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
  2. 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.
  3. Now comes the "Turn" card with more betting that now goes to the $4 level.
  4. 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

Rules

  • 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.
  • Players 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.

General Strategy

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".

With so 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 hand.

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

Other Definitions:

  • 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 "trips".)
  • 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 further consideration

  • 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 Strategy

Texas Holdem Fundamentals

 

 

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