Omaha Hi Lo Rules for Beginners

Dennis  «Dennis_Stets» 
27 Jun 2024
Omaha Poker Basics
27 Jun 2024

Poker is not just about Texas Hold'em. Some players in search of action go to other disciplines: for example, Pot-Limit Omaha and Omaha Hi/Lo. So what kind of poker game is that, where not only the strongest (high) combinations are considered, but also the weakest (low) ? As you might have guessed, in this material we’ll tell you more about Omaha Hi Lo rules and its specifics.

What is High and Low?

A High is the strongest possible combination. In popular poker games (Texas Hold'em and Omaha) this combination is a royal flush. 

Low is the absolute opposite, i.e. the weakest possible combination in the game.

And there are several requirements for its collection:

  • Low can not have cards older than eight.
  • Ace is considered to be the lowest card.
  • Straights and flushes are not taken into account for the low. For example, a hand of A-2-3-4-4-5 diamonds would be considered the best low hand.
  • One hand can be both a low and a high combination.

How does PLO8 differ from regular Pot Limit Omaha?

Omaha High Low (PLO 8) is the most popular hi low poker game. Its main difference from classic or 5-card Omaha is the splitting of the poker bank between the participants. Half of it goes to the player with the best high combination, when the other half — for the best low ones. 

However, there can be cases when none of the players have collected a low card combination. Then the whole pot, as in classic Omaha, is given to the poker player with the strongest combination of cards (high hand).

Here the mechanics of dealing, betting, moving the dealer button are the same as in classic Omaha. The only difference is the split of the pot into two parts.

This imposes certain changes on the strategy of poker players. For example, in this variety of poker it is advantageous to collect a "Wheel" (A-2-3-4-5). In PLO8 such a combination can simultaneously win both parts of the bank.

How to play Omaha Hi Lo: examples of combinations

Analyzing starting hands here is more complicated due to the presence of the low combinations. The best low starters are poker hands like A-2-X-X-X, A-3-X-X-X, A-4-5-X, 2-3-X-X-X. 

The strongest cards to close, which claim to collect high combos, will be hands like A-A-X-X-X, A-K-X-X-X, A-Q-X-X-X, K-K-X-X, Q-Q-X-X-X.

The best starting hand in Omaha is considered to be the A-A-2-3 combo, where A-2 and A-3 are two different suits. The next strongest poker hand is A-A-2-4.

It’s also important to play hands like A-K-Q-J, K-Q-J-T, Q-J-T-9, which can make strong high combos. After all, the second half of the pot will not always be paid, as your opponents' low combinations may not be collected.

PLO8 starters

In order to play this type of Omaha successfully, it’s very important to choose the right starting hands for the draw. Since our goal is to raise a stack, a strong starting hand should be able to raise both the high and low combinations. So to win the low pot, hands like A-2-x-x, A-3-x-x, A-4-5-x, 2-3-x-x are best. 

A-A-x-x-x, A-K-x-x, K-K-x-x, Q-Q-x-x-x, etc. also will be perfect for winning the high pot. If your hand fits both types, it needs to be played. 

The strongest starter in Omaha High-Low is A-A-2-3.

You should not play with rundowns (suited connectors). These hands are very strong in a classic Omaha, but they have little or no value in PLO8 discipline. You should also be careful with hands like A-2-x-x that have no high potential, such as A-2-6-T.

Main Mistakes in Omaha Poker High Low

Beginners make several common mistakes in the game:

  1. Playing too many starting hands, overestimating their strength.
  2. Entering a poker hand with starting combinations that have a chance of picking up a low.
  3. Going into the game with middle cards that are difficult to make a winning low or high. For example, 6-7-8-9.
  4. Playing too aggressively with hands like A-2-X-X-X, which leads to passes from other players. As a result, only 2-3 opponents are fighting for the pot on the flop, and the pot itself is not that big. With such a hand it is better to look at the first three common cards more cheaply, giving your opponents a chance to improve their hands and put more money in the bank.

Omaha Hi Lo Strategy

Omaha strategy can be complicated at first glance, but the most important thing is to figure out which starting hands are the most profitable to enter the game with. Also, don't make the common mistake of fighting for only one part of the pot.

Don't overlook the fact that PLO8 strategy varies, depending on the size of the poker table.

Short tables with 3 or 4 players should be more aggressive. If there are 8 players at the table, it is better to use a tight style. 

If you get to the flop and have a pretty strong hand, try to play more aggressively. But don't continue to play postflop unless you have nuts potential.

However, you must realize that poker, especially Omaha Hi-Lo, is a very unpredictable game. So there always will be situations that do not lend themselves to general advice. Here everything comes with practice.

What other games have high and low?

In addition to Hi Lo poker, there are other games where more than just strong combos count:

  • Lowball. There are no strong combinations here. The player's task is to put together the worst combination in classic poker. Ace is the highest card here, and straight and flushes are taken into account. Therefore, the absolute nuts in lowball is 2-3-4-5-7;
  • 2-7 Single Draw. The essence of the game is similar to lowball. Players are dealt 5 cards each. They have one opportunity to exchange, after which they have to show their combination to the dealer and opponents.

Actually, learning the rules of PLO8 is not that difficult, especially if you are not new to traditional Pot-Limit Omaha.

The distinguishing element of this game is the rules when a poker player can win the pot (when the cards are revealed) by collecting either a high or low hand.

Players can also take the entire pot, i.e. win both parts of the bank, if their hand is determined to be the senior and junior hand at the same time. Probably, that’s the main reason why millions of players choose Omaha Hi Lo Poker. And, if you want to learn how to play Omaha on the professional level, you can contact our poker coaches, who specialize exactly in this discipline.


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