Poker Beginners Guide: Introduction to Omaha Hi/Lo
In this section we will be discussing Omaha Hi/Lo, a popular variation of Omaha. In fact, if you play in the US you are much more likely to come across a game of Omaha Hi/Lo than the straight Hi version that we saw in Section 3 (although the opposite is true in Europe).
The Hi/Lo game is played exactly the same way as the Hi game with only one difference (admittedly, it’s an important one!). At the showdown the player with the best high hand takes half the pot. The other half of the pot goes to the best low hand, provided that it meets the required low qualifications. If nobody possesses a qualifying low hand then the entire pot goes to the best high hand.
The full name of Omaha Hi/Lo is actually Omaha Hi/Lo split, Eight or better. Since that is a bit of a mouthful, everyone calls it simply ‘Omaha Hi/Lo’. However, what does ‘split, Eight or better’ actually mean? The ‘split’ part is easy – that is just the fifty-fifty split between the winner of the high hand and the winner of the low. However, ‘Eight or better’ requires some explanation.
The Eight or better clause relates exclusively to the low hand. To be eligible for a claim on the low half of the pot, a player must make a hand containing five unduplicated cards ranked Eight or below (that is to say ‘Eight or better’). For example, if you have an Ace and a Deuce in your hand and there is a Four, a Six and a Seven on the board then you have made a qualifying Seven-low: 7-6-4-2-A. Note that there is no qualifier for the high end of the pot – anything goes for high hands!
In the next section we shall be explaining how the low hand works in more detail. However, in order to play Omaha Hi/Lo, it is essential to develop a full understanding how to play Omaha Hi first. If you have not done so already, please read the Omaha section before tackling this one.
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