In recent past, Omaha High-Low (Hi-Lo) has gained immense popularity in both live and online platforms, with online poker sites also introducing this variant. Thanks to its bountiful action and multiplicity of play, it is considered a popular ‘split-pot’ poker variant. Besides knowing the rules of Omaha High-Low poker, which are different from Texas poker rules, to become a professional Omaha Hi Lo player, a poker player should possess ability to calculate pot odds. A player also needs to be well-conversant with the strategies of the game to be a consistent winning player.
Throw-Away Starting Hands
In Omaha Hi Lo, if at anytime you receive the following hands, then all you need to do is fold the cards.
- Quads – J J J J
- Triple 3s thru Triple Ks – 7 7 7 X
- 4 High Cards – K K J J2 High 2 Low – K Q 5 6
- Lowest Card is 4 to 9 Paired or Unpaired – i.e. 47JJ, 56TK, etc.
Avoid Playing High Hands
In Omaha Hi-Lo, many players try to win with hands that are definitely negative expected value. In Omaha Hi, a hand like 8-9-Q-J double-suited is a great hand, and a coin-flip with AA hands. In Omaha High-Low, it is a terrible hand since it is drawing high with no shot for the low. These high only cards cannot be good low cards. Hence, while playing this poker game, try to win where all your pots are raked at 50% with no cap. You should not be risking much amount when high cards fall in your hand because the high cards have a very low return on your investment. So, you can drop them from your starting hands range without losing much value. This is one way to learn poker and start playing like a pro.
Determining the Low
Identifying the nut-low is the most difficult aspect of Omaha Hi/Lo. To determine who has the best low hand, you need to compare the highest card in the hand. The low hands are counted from the top down. So a player holding the highest card 8 is not better than the player holding 7. Generally, the hands with 8 are considered the worst possible low hands. A player with 8-4-3-2-A (an 8 low) would lose to a player with 7-6-4-3-2 (a 7 low). Likewise, all 7 hands are worse than all 6 hands. The best low will be the one with the five lowest unpaired cards. The best possible low hand is a wheel of 5-4-3-2-A or A-2-3-4-5. The worst qualifying low hand is 4-5-6-7-8. Further, A-2-2-3-4 would not qualify because the twos are paired. Furthermore, straights and flushes do not affect the low. Moreover, if there is no possible low hand, then the person with the highest hand wins the entire pot. An ace works as the best card on both ends of the pot. It is the key card in making a nut low, and a kicker value card in the high side of the pot.
Play to Scoop the Pot
The main goal of Omaha Hi-Lo is to scoop the entire pot – to win both the high and the low. Although winning half the pot is sufficient, but you can yield larger profits by winning the entire pot. If you want to productively scoop the pot, you should have a strong understanding of how to win the low side of the pot, and what hands tangibly work as quality starting hands. As a matter of fact, scooping is the challenging and rarest thing to accomplish in Omaha Hi-Lo.
Manage your Bankroll
Bankroll preservation should be the top priority of any poker player. You will find many poker players who play Omaha Hi Lo at the tables with the same buy-in as they were playing in Texas Hold’em. It is advisable to play Omaha Hi-Lo at a higher stakes table than Texas Hold´em because pots in this game have relatively higher value than pots played in Texas Hold´em. Moreover, as the pots are split between two winners, so you should double the stake limit in this split pot game. To further manage your bankroll in Omaha Hi Lo, you should not bring all of your money to the table when playing real cash poker. And, if you’re playing Omaha Hi Lo tournaments then make sure you have the qualifying skill-set.