Omaha Hi/Lo Strategies

Omaha Hi/Lo is an exciting poker variant which works on the split pot concept. Each player has to make a high hand and a low hand and the pot is split between the best high and the best qualifying low hand. Thus the game requires a high level of skill and practice to master. Omaha Hi-Lo requires a player to have the skills of a high game as well as a Lowball game. In this section, we have listed out some of the best strategies to excel at Omaha Hi/Lo Poker.

Play to Scoop the Pot

The fundamental goal of playing Omaha Hi-Lo is to scoop the pot, i.e., winning the both- the high and low hands of the game. Many times, you may have experienced chopping of pot into two but scooping is always better than chopping. It helps in building the huge stack of chips in a short period of time. In this poker variant, ace two suited and ace three suited are considered the best starting hands because there is foolproof opportunity to win both sides of the pot. Another hand that can scoop the pot in Omaha Hi-Lo is a ace king suited and a ace jack suited. This hand has the potential for a straight or a flush, and can be fruitful if there is no qualifying low hand at the showdown.

Determining the Low

In Omaha Hi-Lo, the most important task is to determine the nut-low. A low hand is usually five unpaired cards with the highest card not greater than 8. In the same way, any hand of 5 cards that contains cards of 9 or higher do not qualify as a low hand. A-2-3-4-5 is the best-ranking low hand and 8-7-6-5-4 is the worst-ranking low hand. In Omaha Hi-Lo, straights and flushes do not apply to low hands. Furthermore, low hands are known by their highest-ranking card. For example, 8-6-5-4-2 is called "an eight-six" and is lower than "an eight-seven"- 8-7-5-4-A. As a poker player, you should also know about a smooth low hand wherein the remaining cards after the highest card are very low (8-4-3-2-A), and a rough low hand wherein the remaining cards are high (8-7-6-5-A).

Throw Away Starting Hands

Quads (four-of-a-kind) are considered as good hands in Texas Hold’em but in Omaha Hi-Lo, quads are the hands that a player does not play. Also if you receive three-of-a-kind as hole cards, you can only use two from them. Third card of the same rank does not hold any value because it cannot be used with community cards on the board. For example, if a player is dealt 7♥-7♠-7♦-K♦, he can only use two 7♠ and the third 7 is of no value for him. In this situation, player can throw away his cards. Hands like 8♥-9♥ are also considered weak hands because to make the high end of a straight, the cards you need are also qualifying low hands. You can fold hands with four of the same suit like 2♥-8♥-9♥-4♥. Here, you required three hearts as community cards to make a flush. The extra hearts in your hole cards do not help you anyway. Other starting hands that should be folded are lowest cards from 4 through 9 paired or unpaired (4-5-6-7, 6-7-Q-Q, 4-7-J-K).

Manage your Bankroll

Omaha Hi-Lo is considered to be a high-variance game, and a player needs to be skilled in bankroll management in order to handle and survive in the game. In Omaha Hi Lo, even when strong players come across weak hands, they have to ride them out. Following a strict bankroll help you to play in disciplined manner and master the game. For example, you started playing at Rs. 25 PLO. You should continue playing at this stake unless you built the bankroll of Rs. 2000. And later you can move ahead to play at Rs. 50 PLO game. However, many times, you will find players who get into playing high stakes because they are losing at low stakes. This is an unworthy thing to do as you will lose everything and end up with nothing in hand. Therefore, for a bright poker future with a steady income, you need to follow bankroll management rigorously.

Avoid Playing High Hands

By high hands, we mean hands like K-K-Q-Q, K-Q-J-10. The value of these cards is low in Omaha Hi-Lo because players are well aware that they are playing for half the pot. Though in this poker variant, you may not come across a low hand at times but it is always worthwhile to play high hands if the flop dealt is competitive. For instance, a hand like 8-9-10-J double-suited is an imperfect hand because it has no crack for the low hand. Or, if you hold 10-J-Q-A with no spade and flop runs 7♠-9♠-10♣ you will not at all qualify for a low draw, or a flush draw. Moreover, high cards are always the inferior cards to any two low cards in a heads-up Omaha Hi-Lo game.

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