Omaha Hi-Lo Game Overview

As the name suggests, Omaha Hi-Lo poker is a variation of the classic Omaha High - or Pot-limit Omaha (PLO) - poker game. If you’re already familiar with Pot-Limit Omaha poker betting, rules and game play, you should have no trouble learning how to play Omaha Hi-Lo. If you’re not familiar, you can read our guide on how to play Omaha poker which gives you step-by-step gameplay.

Omaha Hi-Lo poker has experienced a bit of a resurgence over the last couple of years, and many players are attracted to the exciting table action that Omaha Hi-Lo offers. Most online poker casinos will offer this variation, so it shouldn’t be overlooked as a game that could win you huge profits. If you can tear yourself away from a No-Limit Texas Hold’em table, you might be pleasantly surprised at how much you like this understated game. 

That said, the play is fast-paced and even lower limit tables can be particularly aggressive. So for beginners and seasoned players alike, the experts at Odds Shark have put together this comprehensive guide to playing Omaha Hi-Lo with all the rules, example hands and finally, tips and strategies that will put you well on your way to a solid win. You might even learn some fun facts along the way.

If you want to become an expert at Omaha Hi-Lo poker, read on for more. 

How to Play Omaha Hi-Lo Poker

Like classic Omaha High poker, Omaha Hi-Lo, also known as Omaha 8-or-better, is played with a 52 card deck and at least 2 and up to 10 players. Players are dealt four cards each, and then the dealer places five cards face-up on the table - these are the community cards. 

Players must then choose from the cards in their hand and the community cards to make both a high hand and a low hand. Both hands must be comprised of two cards from a players’ hand, and three community cards. The players with both the highest and the lowest hands are declared winners and the pot is split between them.

Omaha Hi-Lo Poker Rules

What makes Omaha Hi-Lo poker distinct from the classic PLO Omaha, is that Omaha Hi-Lo is a split pot game. This means that the pot is split in half at the showdown, with one half of the pot given to the best high hand, and the other half of the pot given to the best low hand. If there’s no qualifying low hand, the entirety of the pot goes to the player with the highest ranking hand.

One of the more interesting things about Omaha Hi-Lo, is the pot doesn’t have to go to two different players. If you’re the player with both the highest and lowest hand, you win the whole pot. Keep this in mind. 

The high hand is exactly what it sounds like - it’s the highest-ranking hand you can make from your combination of cards. There will always be a winning hand.

When it comes to the low hands, however, there are some considerations. In order for the low hand to be declared a winner, it has to meet certain qualifications - in other words, it has to be eligible. For the hand to be eligible, all cards in the hand have to rank at or below an 8, hence the name Omaha 8 or Better. Also, the five cards must include two cards from the player’s hand, and any three cards from the community cards. Don’t worry about mixing cards in your hand - the cards a player uses for their best “high” hand can also be used to comprise a low hand.

Here are a few other things to consider when building your low hand:

  • Suits do not count when it comes to a low hand. If you find yourself in tie for the lowest hand, both players must equally split the low part of the pot, regardless of the suit of cards in your hand. This is called quartering the pot. 
  • If you have a pair in your low hand, or any card higher than an 8, it will not qualify.
  • In a low hand, straights and flushes do not count - so that means an A-2-3-4-5 is the best possible low hand regardless of suit.
  • The hand is only as good as its highest card - the hands are counted from the top down.
  • Aces are always counted as a low card in the low hand.

 

Additional Rules in Omaha Hi-Lo Poker

  • If there are no qualifying low hands amongst players, the entire pot goes to the player with the highest hand.
  • In some versions of poker, players must announce which part of the pot they’re going for. This is not the case for Omaha Hi-Lo poker.
  • Both halves of the pot can be won by the same player if they have both the highest and lowest hands.
  • If there are an odd number of chips in the pot, the odd chip is always given to the winning high hand.

Strategies and Tips For Winning

Understanding solid strategy for Omaha Hi-Lo poker is the first step on the road to success at the tables, so we’ve put together a few tips to help you on your way.

Omaha Hi-Lo is considered to be a ‘nut’ game, therefore you always want to look for the ‘nut’ hand—or the strongest possible hand in any given situation. You should be very selective in what you play, and only play hands with ‘nut’ potential. If you don’t have the nut hand, there’s a good chance you’ll lose your share of the pot. 

And while it might be tempting to play for both the high and low hand, winning both halves of the pot is not easy to do. If you have the high hand you’re guaranteed at least half the pot. 

Don’t look for the low hand. Consider the low hand to be a bonus.

Here are a few more key tips:

  • Only play your best starting hands.
  • It’s not advisable to raise before the flop.
  • Statically speaking, you should only play about 30-35% of your hands.
  • When you’re playing a low hand, only play the ones that include Aces, 2s and 3s.
  • You should consider folding hands that include a 7-8 or 9.
  • Hands that have four cards with a value of 9 or better should be played.

Common Mistakes in Omaha Hi-Lo

Here are a few of the most common mistakes that rookies make when learning to play Omaha Hi-Lo. 

  • Mixing up your Poker Variations. Omaha Hi-Lo is not the same as Pot Limit Omaha. It feels good to play high hands, but don’t forget about the low hands in this game. They also count.
  • Overvaluing Hands. It’s easy to get over confident when you see face cards come up, but don’t fall into this trap.
  • Drawing Too Many Cards. Everyone has four hole cards and this creates lots of opportunities for all kinds of different draws. 
  • Counting Cards Incorrectly. Remember, in this variant your hand is made up of two hold cards and three from the community. Often, new players will add extra hole cards and forget about community cards.

Hand Rankings in Omaha Hi-Lo Poker 

Best Low Hands in Omaha Hi-Lo Poker

Like any poker game, there are many unique hands and rankings. Here are some of the top “low” hands in Omaha Hi-Lo poker:

  • 5-4-3-2-Ace
  • 6-4-3-2-Ace
  • 6-5-4-3-2
  • 7-5-4-3-2
  • 7-6-5-2-Ace

Best Starting Hands in Omaha Hi-Lo Poker

Remember, only hands with an 8 or less will count as a low hand, so here are some of the best starting hands you can have in this game variation:

  • Ace-Ace-2-3, suited or double-suited
  • Ace-Ace-2-4, suited or double-suited
  • Ace-Ace-2-5 double-suited
  • Ace-Ace-3-4 double-suited

Highest Ranking Omaha Hi-Lo Poker Hands

That said, you always want to watch for the coveted poker hands that are considered high in just about every classic poker game:

  • Royal Flush - the 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace cards in the same suit.
  • Straight Flush - five cards in order of sequence in the same suit. For example; the 5,6,7,8 & 9 of hearts.
  • Four-of-a-Kind - just like it says, four of the same cards in different suits plus an extra card. 
  • Full House - a pair of cards, and three of a kind. For example; 2,2,Ace, Ace, Ace.
  • Flush - Five cards in the same suit. They do not need to be in order of sequence.
  • Straight - Five cards in order. They do not need to be the same suit.

These are just the shining stars and there are many more, of course. For the full list of high-ranking poker hands, you can check out this guide.

Variations of Omaha Hi-Lo Poker

Like classic Omaha Poker, there are several variations of Omaha Hi-Lo that you can play online. These include games such as Pot-limit Omaha Hi-Lo—in which your bets are limited to the value of chips in the pot—or Limit Omaha Hi-Lo, where the betting limit is set for each round. These are just a couple of the exciting variations you can try.

Omaha Hi-Lo Poker Outs

Generally speaking “outs” refers to the number of cards available that will improve your current hand. For example, say you have three hearts in your hand and one is on the board. That means there are nine hearts left in the deck, so you now have nine “outs” to assemble the flush. 

In order to really count outs, you have to fully understand all the poker hand rankings. Here’s a few examples of poker outs that could come in handy:

Hand # of Outs
Open-Ended Straight Draw 8
Flush Draw 9
Open-Ended Draw and Flush Draw 15
Gut Shot Draw 4

Omaha Hi-Lo Odds and Statistics

If you’re at all mathematically-inclined, you’re in a really good position to succeed at Omaha Hi-Lo Poker online. After all, poker is a numbers game. If you can work with odds and statistics you’ll start off in a really strong position, which will give you an edge over other players. 

Of course, luck will always play a role—that’s what makes the game fun—but a little logic never hurt either, so be smart and make solid decisions with our expert guide to poker odds. After all, we’re called Odds Shark for a reason.

Where to Play Omaha Hi-Lo Poker

We hope you enjoyed our guide on how to play Omaha Hi-Lo Poker, but reading about it is no substitute for the hands-on learning you’ll get by playing real Omaha Hi-Lo Poker online. The experts at Odds Shark have scoured the internet searching for the best places for you to play Omaha Hi-Lo. You’ll find all the best sites including our latest reviews here

Omaha Hi-Lo Poker FAQ

What makes Omaha Hi-Lo poker different from Omaha poker?

Classic Omaha Poker and Omaha Hi-Lo poker are essentially the same game with a twist. In Omaha Hi-Lo, you’re required to form both a high and a low hand. The pot is split between the players who have the highest ranking poker hand, and the best qualifying low hand.

How do you win in Omaha Hi-Lo Poker?

In Omaha Hi-Lo poker, you can win two ways. By having either the highest hand, or the best qualifying low hand. Both hands are considered winners and the players split the pot. If there’s no qualifying low hand, the player with the high hand wins, and if you’re lucky enough to have both the high and low hand, you win the whole pot!

Where are the best places to play Omaha Hi-Lo Poker online?

There are many places to play Omaha Hi-Lo Poker online, but we’ve rounded up some of the best ones here. Always make sure you read an expert's reviews before deciding which casino to play at.

What’s the best low hand in Omaha Hi-Lo Poker?

The best possible low hand card combination in Omaha Hi-Lo Poker is Ace-2-3-4-5.

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