poker

Omaha Hi - Lo (8 or Better)
play online poker
Play Online Poker

 Omaha Hi-Low
(Also known as Omaha 8 or better)


Omaha H/L is a community card game. There are 5 community cards which every player is allowed to use to make their hand.

How to play:

There is no ante, the deal will rotate around the table with the dealer being signified by "The Button".

Basic Game Structure
  • Blinds are posted
  • 4 pocket cards are dealt to each player
  • Pre flop betting occurs
  • The flop is dealt (3 community cards)
  • A 2nd round of betting occurs
  • The turn card is dealt (the 4th community card)
  • A 3rd round of betting occurs
  • The river card is dealt (the 5th community card)
  • A final round of betting occurs
  • Showdown occurs (hands must use 2 pocket cards and 3 community cards)

The two players immediately to the left of the dealer (the button) will post blinds, the small blind typically 1/2 the minimum bet is posted by the player immediately to the left of the dealer and the player who is 2 Players to the left of the dealer will post the big blind, typically the minimum bet.

The dealer will deal the cards clockwise with each player with each player receives 4 individual pocket cards (The player must use two of these card when making a hand.) Omaha 8/b is also a split pot game, so half of the pot will be awarded to the player with the highest hand and half of the pot will be awarded to the player with the best qualifying low hand.

(Betting Round Occurs)

The Dealer will deal 3 community cards (The Flop)

(Betting Round Occurs)

The Dealer will deal 1 additional community card (Sixth Street)

(Betting Round Occurs)

The Dealer will deal the final community card (The River)

(Betting Round Occurs)

Showdown

Players are allowed to use exactly 2 pocket cards and exactly 3 community cards for their best high hand and potentially 2 completely different pocket cards and a different combination of 3 community cards for their best qualifying low hand. One-half of the pot is awarded to the player with the best high five-card hand. One-half of the pot is awarded to the player with the best qualifying low five-card hand (could be the same person who one the high hand pot.) If no one makes a qualifying low hand (a hand where the highest card is 8 or lower) the entire pot will be awarded to the high hand winner.

Example Hand Evaluation for Omaha
To make their best hand in Omaha h/l, players are allowed to use exactly 2 pocket cards and exactly 3 community cards for their best high hand and potentially 2 completely different pocket cards and a different combination of 3 community cards for their best low hand.

Pocket CardsCommunity CardsBest Hand EvaluationBest Low Hand Evaluation
As|Ah|3s|2dAd|3d|5c|2c|10dAs|Ah|Ad|5c|10d
Three Aces
No qualifying low hand
2s|4s|6c|10dAd|3d|5c|2c|10d2s|3d|4s|5c|6c
6 Hi Straight
Ad|2s|3d|4s|5c
Wheel - Lock low
Qd|10s|Jc|2dAd|3d|5c|2c|10dAd|Qd|10d|5d|2d
A - Q Flush
No qualifying low hand
Kd|4d|4h|7dAd|3d|5c|2c|10dAd|Kd|10d|7d|3d
A - K Flush 
Ad|2c|3d|4d|7d

Note that Player 4 (A - K Flush) and Player 2 (Wheel - Lock low) would split the pot 

Analysis: 

Rather than showing you a "dream hand", this example shows how Omaha can really make even the most seasoned poker player squirm.

Player one has a great hand to start, pocket Aces with the 2,3. To make things even better ... he is has suited A,3 giving him a lock flush draw.

Player two has a marginal hand, really only drawing for a low. If Player 1 raises, it is possible that player two would fold depending on the stakes.

Player three has another marginal hand, the straight draw would seldom hold up and the suited Qd 2d is only asking for trouble ... there is no possible low.

Player four is another marginal hand. The pocket fours usually won't help unless there are four of a kind, the 4 - 7 is a very weak low card draw. 

After the flop, Player 1 feels great - a four gives him a wheel, sitting on 3 aces. Player 2 has just readjusted his pace maker just being flopped a wheel with a made straight. If Player 3 stays in, somebody run out and get fish food. Player 4 is hoping for an A-K flush draw and by some miracle has a pretty good 7-5 low

After the turn, Player 1 is now cursing his luck ... Beautiful cards, but no help still on trip aces, needing a four on the river for a wheel or a pair on the board for Aces full. Player 2 realizes that another wheel is probable if any other player has a four and either an Ace, 2, 3 or 5 ... If Player 3 is still playing, throw in more fish food. ... Player 4 has a difficult decision, ride out a marginal low, given the A,2,3,5 on the board and hope for a lock flush. 

On the river, Player one has cursed the very cloud he was born under having gotten no help ... Player 2 is hoping he doesn't split the low too many ways and that his baby straight holds up ... if Player 3 is still playing, throw in more fish food ... Player 4 being realizes that without a pair on the board, her flush is a lock.

Notes: 

Player 1 is probably kicking himself ... thinking if he aggressively bet, or better yet check raised before and after the flop that this was a hand that could easily be taken by making it too expensive for Player 4 to chase ... forgetting that Player 2 was flopped a wheel and there is no way to have gotten him out and the trip Aces still lost to a wheel straight. Don't get to emotionally involved ... there are times where the cards look great but your just not going to win with them.

Player 2 was made on the flop, he should have capped the betting whenever possible. If there are more than 4 players and you have a lock hand (NOT NEARLY A LOCK!) then make sure you maximize your profits. If there are 3 players and you are fighting another wheel, you can actually cost yourself money by raising if you only get 25% of the pot.  (If you have to split the low)

We will all see players like Player 3 who play 52 cards and wonder how there good hands don't hold up ... be nice ... 

Player 4 did win half the pot, but it might only be on loan ... many of your serious Omaha players would have mucked the hand long before the final diamond fell so she's either lucky or good.

IMPORTANT: Make sure you know what the best possible hand is for both the High and Low hands... remember that you must use three cards from the board so sometimes a straight or a flush will not be possible. I once saw a player fold 3 Queens - The board was 2s,3d,7d,8c,Qc - and he got spooked because of all the raising - 3 players had Ace, 4! Trip Queens was the lock high hand.

Strategy:

There are many similarities between Omaha and Hold'em, but strategy is not one of them. I have seen many great Hold'em players try to use Hold'em tactics such as positional raises and raising on pocket Aces only to watch their bankroll disappear. In Hold'em you have two personal cards ... but in Omaha, you are dealt four personal cards - so there are many more combinations of cards. You need to be more selective in Omaha although most players will try to catch possible outs on the turn and the river. After the flop, you should determine the best possible hand ... for both high and low ... and try to calculate the number of outs - and only stay if the amount of money that can be won warrants the risk:

Example:

Personal Cards: As - Ks - 3d - Kd

Flop: 4c - 5s -10s

Analysis:

The best possible hand at the flop is Trip 10's. There is no possible straight and no flush.

You have several possible outs: On the turn you have the following outs.

  • (9) A spade gives you the nut flush
  • (4) A two gives you a straight and lock low - possible for both high and low.
  • (2) A King gives you a set - and a draw for a full house or quates
  • Note - I don't count this towards an out but J-Q would give you the highest straight.. If either the Jack or Queen were to fall on the turn - then consider the outs for filling the straight.

The Turn: 3 c

Ok, the plot thickens

The best possible hand is now a straight - anyone with either an A-2 or a 2-6 or a 6-7 now has a made straight. It also puts anyone with two clubs on a club flush with a flush draw - Expect anyone with A-2 to be raising.

Here are your possible outs: 

  • (9) A spade gives you the nut flush
  • (4) A two gives you a straight and lock low - possible for both high and low.
  • Note that we no longer are concerned with the Kings - pulling the third King would be of little use to us now.

So with that in mind - let's assume there were 6 players who saw the flop after a raise. (3+3=6 x 6 = 36) and 4 players who called after the flop again with a raise (3+3=6 x4 = 24) and 3 players who have called (6 x 3 = 18) and the action is to you ... do you see the river card?

You are betting $6.00 for a possible return of what?

The pot will be $84.00 - so 50% for low is $42.00 - What are your odds of winning low?

You have one lock out for low - (4) pulling a two on the river for a wheel. Anyone else who was holding an Ace would also share that pot provided that they had another low card (2,3,4,5) since you MUST PLAY TWO FROM YOU HAND. So the odds of pulling the two would be 4/43 or about 1 in 11. Now I can run down the odds for you but you need to understand that if you EVER have A-2 and the flop creates a possible low ... you are playing for a lock hand. With that in mind - The best you can possibly hope for is to tie for low. Since it is a split pot - you will probably loose money on the low.

Now for the high.

There is no pair on the board - There is a probable draw for a spade flush and a club flush - this assumes someone else has two clubs. If the board were to pair - there is a lower probability that there would be a full house ... why ... because most people tend to stay on higher pairs ... 

So you  have a 9/43 chance of pulling a flush or about 21%. Your expected return would be $42 or about 7 for 1 ...

Some other thoughts -

Wouldn't the 2s be a great card - lock flush and a piece of the low - Recognize what the lock hand is and if you have it RAISE ...

 

Click here to go to Party Poker and play Omaha for fun or with real money against live players. 


Copyright © 2002 - 2009 Winning In Las Vegas