Omaha Hi-Lo Poker
Omaha Hi-Lo is a popular variation of Omaha Hi Poker (or Omaha Holdem) where the pot is divided between the player(s) with the best high hand and the player(s) holding the best qualifying low hand. Although the game appeals to many new players trying Omaha Poker for the first time because of the dual pot, there is a high level of skill involved in betting and selecting the best Omaha starting hands to play with.
Omaha Hi Poker Hand Hierarchy
Standard poker hand hierarchy determines which is the highest value hand when it comes to showdown at the conclusion of a game, however the winning hand has to comprised of two cards from the four “pocket cards” dealt to a player at the beginning of each hand, and three from the five community cards (flop/turn/river) which are dealt while the game is in progress.
Omaha Lo Qualification
To qualify as an Omaha Lo hand, a player must create a hand which has five uniquely valued cards of eight or less. Flushes and straights are ignored for the Lo pot, so the best qualifying Omaha Lo hand would be A2345. If only cards valued eight or lower appear among the community cards, an Omaha Lo hand is impossible to create, and both the Hi and the Lo pots would be won by the player with the best Omaha Hi hand.
Starting a Omaha Hi-Lo Poker Game
At the beginning of each Omaha Hi-Lo hand, the two players pay forced “blinds” into the pot to ensure that there is some money to be won. Thereafter, each player is dealt four cards (the “hole cards”) which only they can see. Following the first round of betting, a flop of three cards are dealt face up in the centre of the table (these are known as “community” cards) and, once the post-flop round of betting is completed, a fourth community card is dealt (the “turn”) and – following a further round of betting – the fifth community card (the “river”).
Omaha Starting Hands
In Omaha Hi-Lo, selecting the best Omaha starting hands can be very tricky. Over-betting a hand because a player holds A2xx is a common occurrence and, on a flop of 9JQ, it is unlikely that that player is going to be involved in the hand when it comes to showdown. Even when three low cards appear among the community cards, more than one player may have A2xx and it is possible to have a winning Omaha Lo hand and still collect less in winnings than you have contributed to the pot. Of course, if you have a Lo running flush – for example A♥ 2♥ 3♥ 4♥ 5♥ – it is possible that you could collect both the Hi and the Lo pot.
Omaha Hi-Lo Betting
Four rounds of betting follow each of the dealing actions – once the hole cards have been dealt, after the flop, following the turn card and subsequent to the river card. In the pre-flop betting round, the action starts with the player immediately to the left of the big blind, whereas in subsequent rounds of betting it is the player to the left of the dealer who is first to act (or player to the left of the dealer who is still in the hand). Minimum bet levels double after the turn, so if you were playing in a $1.00/$2.00 Omaha game, the lowest amount you could bet in the pre-flop and post-flop action would be $1.00 and the minimum bet would increase to $2.00 after the turn and river cards.
Omaha Hi-Lo Poker Betting Formats
As with “regular” Omaha Hi, there are three betting formats for Omaha Hi-Lo Poker:-
- Fixed Limit. In the fixed limit version of Omaha Hi-Lo Poker, players can only bet and raise by the amount of the big blind during the first two rounds of betting, and by double the big blind in the later two rounds of betting. The number of raises permitted in each round of betting is usually capped at four.
- Pot Limit. In Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Poker, players are allowed to bet by any amount between the minimum allowed and the total amount that is already in the pot. Players who have developed good Lo hands often want to maximise the pot and possibly get other players still waiting to complete their Hi hands to fold.
- No Limit. No Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Poker is a variation on the betting formats which has no limit to the maximum amount a player can bet into the pot. Although this format of game generally attracts tight aggressive players, there are some lower stakes No Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Poker is which are very loose and can prove to be a lucrative hunting ground.
Online Poker Sites Offering Omaha Hi-Lo Poker
Omaha Hi-Lo Poker was particularly popular among American poker players and it can sometimes be difficult to find a cash game going on some online poker sites outside of peak hours. A few online poker sites offer tournaments in Omaha Hi-Lo Poker which are well subscribed to – attesting to the popularity of the game. We recommend anybody looking to get involved in a game of Omaha Hi-Lo Poker to visit these sites:-
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