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Omaha Hi-Lo Rules

Page summary: Omaha Hi-Lo rules and how to play Omaha Hi-Lo poker along with strategy and round by round playing steps.

Omaha Hi-Lo Rules - How to Play Omaha Hi-Lo Poker

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Omaha Hi-Lo is a widely played version of Omaha Poker. The rules are similar to Texas Holdem and the betting rounds are identical. Omaha Hi-Lo has become the most popular split-pot game. The differing amount of hole cards and the hand requirements throws a lot of Holdem players off. The focus in Omaha Hi/Lo is to take the entire pot and knowing hand selection and how to effectively take the high and low ends of the pot is essential to become a good Omaha Hi/Lo player.

Omaha Hi-Lo Rules

The rules for Omaha Hi-Lo are similar to Texas Holdem and identical to Omaha Hi. However, in Omaha Hi-Lo, there is a low side to the hand that is entitled to half the pot. The low side has to be a qualifying hand. If there is no qualifying low, then the high hand wins.

The format is similar to other poker games by being played with blinds. The player to the left of the dealer is the small blind. The player to the left of the small blind is the big blind. The action goes clockwise starting with the player to the left of the big blind. This player is referred to as under the gun. The player sitting in the dealer position is referred to as the button.

Each player is dealt four cards. The four cards are face down referred to as hole cards. After the first round of betting, the flop is dealt. The flop consists of three face-up community cards. After the flop, a second round of betting begins.

The turn (one more community card) is then dealt. The table will then have a third betting round. The fifth card is called the river and is also a community card. After the river, there is a final betting round and a showdown will take place if necessary. The showdown is used to reveal the hands and determine the winner.

The highest hand is entitled to half the pot if there is a qualifying low hand. The low hand has to consist of a five-card hand that contains no cards higher than eight. In Omaha Hi/Lo, you have to use two of your four hole cards and three of the community cards. There is no way around this, you must use two and three perspectively to make your best five-card hand.

The lowest hand is entitled to the other half of the pot. It is possible for someone to win the low and high end of the pot. Also, if there is not a qualifying low hand, the high hand wins the entire pot. If two players tie for the high end, this is called quartering. The two players will split half the pot and the low end will win the other half.

Omaha Hi-Lo Strategy

The object of Omaha Hi/Lo is to try to take the entire pot or at least be sure that you are certain to win half the pot. The tighter the player in Omaha Hi/Lo usually means the better the results. In Texas Holdem, sub-par hands often win the pot - sub-par meaning top pair or bottom set. Sometimes, even high card wins. In Omaha, the average pot is won with the nuts.

A great deal of Holdem players have difficulty adjusting to the hand rules and the low end of Omaha Hi/Lo. The high end is simple because it mimics the rankings in Texas Holdem. However, the low end makes things a little interesting. Straights and flushes do not affect the low aspect of the hand. That being said, A,2,3,4,5 is the best low hand in Omaha Hi/Lo. You have a 5 high low hand and a 5 high straight hand. This presents the high possibility of winning both ends of the pot with this hand.

There are many split-pots in Omaha Hi/Lo. So, if you have the nuts on the high end, you very well may be splitting the pot. Prepare for that. For example, if you have A,5,4,Q and your opponent has K,K,3,5 with the board being K,6,6,2,7, there will likely be a split pot. Your opponent has a full house with Kings over Sixes. However, you win the low end with 2,4,5,6,7. This is an example of the high nuts splitting with the low end.

Position is very important in Omaha Hi/Lo. Remember, the focus of Omaha Hi/Lo is to get the nuts and sub-par hands are not played like in some other games. Position bets while keeping track of the play styles for the players around you can be quite advantageous. If you're being called on continuation bets, look at the board and know that your opponent either already has the nuts or is on a major draw.

Some professionals use the strategy of never playing an Omaha Hi/Lo hand that doesn't have an Ace. If you're new to poker, you may want to consider this strategy. Granted, this is a little overboard. However, the tightest player usually sees the best results in Omaha Hi/Lo. Take the pots you know you can take and shoot for scooping the whole thing. Never stay in and draw to perhaps take half the pot. If you're in to the showdown, half the pot should already be yours.


Omaha Hi/Lo is one of the most popular (if not the most popular) split games in the world. Get used to folding in Omaha Hi/Lo. Play position poker and know your hand strengths. Select your hands carefully based on your position and the players around you. In Omaha Hi/Lo, make sure you are not looking at your hand or the community cards as if you can use more of them than you are allowed to. You have to use two from your hand and three from the community cards.