Omaha Hi Lo 8b

Pot Limit Omaha Hi/LO, also known as Omaha/8, is a variation of the popular game of Omaha which uses a split pot, where both the high hand and low hand split it. Omaha, with its 4 hole cards instead of just the 2 with Hold’em, already is an action packed game, with many more people seeing the flop and beyond, but when you add in the fact that now you have players playing cards that are shooting for both high and low hands, then it’s not hard to see that Omaha Hi/Lo is the ultimate in action packed poker.

Why is more action better? Well you don’t have to look any further than what has happened to Hold’em over the last few years. In the earlier days of online poker, very loose games were the norm, and you would often see over half of the players see the flop at a full ring game. They didn’t just fold on the flop though, and they would chase all sorts of hands with poor drawing odds.

In other words, people simply played badly. The worse your opponents play, the more opportunity there is to make money from them. Of course, this will require us to play better than the crowd, but which crowd would you rather look to play better than? A fairly accomplished Hold’em group of players who generally play pretty tight and are generally pretty well versed in correct play, or a wild bunch of Omaha players who may never achieve an adequate level of competence?

As poker players, we make money from people’s mistakes, and in the long run, where luck evens out and the game becomes purely a game of skill, we make all of our money from these mistakes. So the more mistakes that players are prone to making, the more money we are able to make from them. This of course requires us to play more correctly, but with Omaha in general, and in particular, Omaha Hi/Lo, the bar is set much lower than with other games, making success for us considerably more accessible.

Another benefit of Omaha Hi/Lo is that this increased action makes it profitable for us to play more hands as well, due to the increased pot odds that the bigger pots and the more participants in them provide. So this of course makes playing Omaha Hi/Lo a lot more interesting than other variations. You can go a long time playing Hold’em before you get into an interesting spot, but with Omaha Hi/Lo, due to both having more hole cards to work with and two ways to win money from the pot at showdown, the excitement dial is turned all the way to the max.

Hold’em has become so tight these days that it’s crazy, where now you see flop percentages in the teens with most of the action limited to blind stealing. If you miss the excitement of the old days, or just want more, then you will love Omaha Hi/Lo.

Rule Differences With Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo

As with all variations of Omaha, players are dealt four cards face down, which they will use to make hands, in combination with the community cards that become dealt. The community cards and the betting rounds are the same as Texas Hold’em. After the hole cards are dealt, there is a pre-flop betting round.

Then the flop becomes dealt, consisting of 3 cards, and another betting round takes place. Then a single card is dealt for both the turn and river, each with their own betting round. If more than one player is left in the hand at the conclusion of the betting at the river, then the surviving hands get shown down.

Omaha Hi/Lo does involve eligible low hands qualifying for half the pot, but these hands must not contain a card higher than 8. This is the reason why you’ll see this variation described as Omaha 8 or better, or simply Omaha/8. If there is no qualifying low hand that gets shown down, the entire pot goes to the player with the high hand.

As is generally the case with games that pay out to the lowest hand, straights or flushes don’t matter for the low component, although the five cadrs needed must all be unpaired. So in other words, a straight flush of A2345, or a wheel, could be used to win both the high and low component of the pot. In fact this would be the nuts for the low end, and very close to the nuts on the high end, as it would only be beaten by a royal flush of a different suit.

As is also the case with low variations, it is the highest card in a players’ hand which determines its strength. For instance, 34567 would beat A2348, since the highest card of the first hand, a 7, is lower than the 8 high of the second hand. Aces can be either high or low. If both hands had the same high card, we would then look to the next highest cards of each hands to decide things, and so on.

As is the case with Omaha generally, players look to make the best hand they can while using exactly 2 of their hole cards, no more and no less. In Hold’em, there is no such restriction and you can use none of your hole cards and just play the hand on the board if need be. With respect to the high and low component of the pot in Omaha Hi/Lo, while you do need to use 2 cards in your hand to make each, they need not be 2 different cards, and you can even use the same two to make both hands.

With All This To Shoot For, You Still Want To Be Fairly Selective

Just because there are so many more ways to make hands and two ways instead of one to win the pot, you want to resist the temptation of seeing an opportunity in every hand. One of the big keys to success with Omaha is being selective enough with your starting hands. There are two main principles you need to pay attention to here in order to play wisely pre-flop.

The first is to realize that big cards matter but not in the same way as they do in Hold’em. A high pocket pair for instance is a monster in Hold’em, but they do get drawn out on, much to the chagrin of a lot of players. Omaha on the other hand is a game of drawing, due to every player having so many hole cards and therefore so many more good drawing opportunities.

So in full ring games it generally takes some real big hands to win pots, and this extends into the low end of things as well. So what you need to keep in mind here is that you need hands which can become monsters, and playing cards which can only become just big hands is usually a mistake.

The worst thing here is that when you do hit your hands and get some real money in the pot with them, your non monsters will simply lose too often and this can be a far more expensive strategy than just folding every time and playing nothing. So there are two reasons here to be more selective, with the first being that you will miss too often and have to throw them away, and the second being that when you do hit them you may lose more than you make.

The other aspect of Omaha that it bears to keep in mind is that you generally should be looking for potential in all of your cards to make a starting hand playable. For instance you might have 2 good cards and 2 garbage ones, which doesn’t sound too bad until you realize that you are probably up against people with more good cards, and therefore, more chances to beat you. It’s always about your chances of winning money with your starting hands, and a lesser chance to do so overall must be accounted for.

Making Sure You Qualify For The Low End

There are two things that need to happen for you to have a qualifying low hand. First, you need 2 cards in your hand to be an 8 or lower. Unlike playing for the high end of pots, which don’t require you to have anything but the best hand, with going for the low, you often are shooting not just for the best hand, but for a hand that you can use to win the low end of the pot in the first place.

So this can really make a difference in what you want to chase the low end of the pot with, what kind of hands you should be chasing, and how far you should be willing to chase. We know for a fact that we need at least 3 cards on the board that are 8 or lower for a low hand to be even possible.

So if the flop has all cards 9 to K, then we already know that a low hand isn’t possible for anyone to make. Obviously, only an idiot would be still working to make the low hand in this case, but what about if there is only 1 qualifying card on the flop? Now you need to hit runner runner to have the low end of the pot still alive, and more than half the time this won‘t happen. So now you’ve got to look at both the chances that your hand is best and the chances that you’ll be able to use it.

So even without thinking about these things too much, you can see how much more complex that Omaha Hi/Lo can be than even Omaha Hi. This is definitely a good thing, as the more complicated a game is, the more mistakes that players will tend to make. You won’t be playing anywhere near perfect poker here, but that doesn’t matter, as long as you’re making better decisions than your opponents are, and the added complexity of things will definitely be in your favor here.

The Hi End Benefits When The Lo Misses

When there is no qualifying hand, the high hand wins the entire pot. So it then follows that when we are looking to play high hands, in addition to looking at our hand strength and the potential for winning that end of the pot, we also want to account for our chances of winning the entire pot when we win with high. So in the situation where there is less than 3 qualifying low cards on the board, this will increase our money odds and allow us to play more hands.

In other words, if there is a 60% chance that the high hand will win the whole pot, then our pot odds are 60% higher than if we knew that a low hand would be out there. So this means the chances of the pot being bigger when we win are that much higher. Even if a low hand is possible, a player may not have the needed 2 hole cards to fill it, and this doesn’t just mean 2 low cards, it means 2 low cards not pairing the ones on the board. So this must be taken account of as well, and the less the number of opponents you are up against, the less the chance that someone may have a low hand.

So Omaha Hi/Lo Is Definitely Worth Trying Out

Many players consider Omaha Hi/Lo to be the ultimate in poker, and it’s not hard to see why. It has the most action, it has the most variation, and it is clearly the most exciting. It requires the most skill to play, and rewards skill the most. It also has the lowest amount of relative skill of all poker variations, meaning it’s the fishiest. Fishy is definitely good, and the fishier, the better.

If you would like to learn more then you should bookmark our dedicated Omaha Hi-Lo strategy page and absorb all the information on offer. If you know it all already and in also like the idea of playing against fishier competition, just by clicking on one of our links to the very best that the internet has to offer for Omaha Hi/Lo, you can get in on the fun right this very minute.