Omaha Hi-Lo poker is also known as Omaha 8-or-better. This Omaha variant is becoming increasingly popular because the winning is usually a large pot when compared to Hold' em.
The reason for the big pot is that
- Unlike regular variants of the game where those players with low ranking hands fold the hand; in this variant, players with low ranking hands keep playing because the pot split will take place between the highest ranking and the lowest ranking hand.
- Players who have received pockets worthy of making a high rank might not be sure if they are the highest because the player with the lowest will be heads up as well. There is a decision making challenge for those at the table whether for the highest ranking hand or lowest ranking hand. Therefore, when compared to other versions, in hi-low versions players are heads up and the pot value grows.
The qualifier for the high hand
The eight-or-better rule applies to qualify for the pot split for the higher rank share. In a high hand, Ace is considered to be of high rank. The poker hand that is competing for the highest hand should have five cards with a value above 8. The 2 from the hand and the 3 from the board rule will be applied here. Players cannot read the board.
The qualifier for the low hand
The poker hand that is competing for the lowest hand should have five cards. It is important for the cards to have a value below 8. In a low hand, Ace is considered to be of low rank. The 2 from the hand and the 3 from the board rule will be applied here. Players cannot read the board. The best low hand is therefore a Wheel A, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6...
In situations where there are no qualifying low hands, the higher hand takes the entire pot.
The Game Progression
- The small blind and the big blind are posted.
- The dealer deals 4 pocket cards to each player at the table.
Pre-Flop Betting Round
In the pre-flop betting round, the players make a bet considering the value of their individual starting hands. This is before any draw could happen. Technically, other than for those players who are in the blind positions, this is the first betting round. Players with unworthy starting hands choose to fold. Other players who have received a good starting hand decide to make the call, check, raise, re-raise. Those who think they have a scope for improvement in the forthcoming draws on the community board as well choose to continue playing in the pre-flop round.
After the betting round is complete, the game progresses to the flop.
The Flop Betting Round
In the flop round, three cards are dealt in the middle of the table in a face up position. The face up cards is used as common cards for draw for all the players in the table. If the players decide to make use of 1 card from their hand and other cards from the table to make a hand (or) if they decide to make use of 1 card from the board and other cards from the pockets to make a hand, it does not work that way.
For a made hand to qualify for a pot split, the players should make use of 2 cards from the pockets and 3 cards from the board.
To qualify for the pot split, it is important for the players to fulfill the 2 from the pockets and 3 from the board rule. This is applicable for high hand and lower hand rankings.
After the community cards are dealt, players think through their hand rankings and they compare the hand rankings to make the call, raise, re-raise or fold decisions at the flop table and the game progresses to the turn round.
The Turn Betting Round
In the turn betting round, the dealer deals one card face up in the table. The players who are still heads up will be continuing to make the draws. Again, throughout the game, the players will be working out their decisions having in mind the 2 + 3 rule for hand formation in Omaha Hi-Lo.
Those players with an option to win or those who believe they can win make the call, raise, re-raise, or fold depending upon their hand strength. The sooner the betting round is completed, the game proceeds to the River round. Those who are willing to save the last of their poker chips usually fold in this round. However, those dare devils who are planning to bluff to death and those who are actually having a good hand tend to move on to the river round.
The River Round
In the river round, one river card is dealt face up in the table.
The players that are heads up make use of 4 hole cards, 3 flop cards, 1 turn card, and 1 river card and they think through the bets considering their odds for winning the higher rank share of the pot or lower rank share of the pot. They make their call, raise, re-raise and fold decisions basd on their hand strength.
Throughout the game players play with the 2 + 3 rule applicable for hand formation in Omaha.
The sooner the betting round is complete, the show down happens..
The players who are still heads up get their hands compared. The pot is split between the high and lower hands considering the applicable rules for pot splitting. If there is no lower hand the higher hand scoops the pot.