Omaha Hi-Lo Rules
Omaha Hi-Lo, Omaha Eight or Better, and Omaha 8/b are all names for the same game. The setup and rules of Omaha 8 are the same as regular Omaha, but the difference comes when it’s time to go to the showdown.
In Omaha 8/b, the final pot is split between the player with the best poker hand and the player with the lowest poker hand. The rules are pretty simple but it can be difficult for new players to get used to the hand rankings for qualifying low hands.
Omaha is quickly becoming one of the most popular poker variants and Omaha Hi-Lo is not far behind. It’s a staple in many mixed game formats in both tournaments and cash games. Players looking for a totally new experience should look into Omaha Hi-Lo.
Omaha Low Hands
A hand qualifies as a low hand if it contains five cards ranked 8 or lower. Aces can count as low or high and straights/flushes do not count against you. With those rules, the best possible low hand is A-2-3-4-5. After that, the next best hand would be A-2-3-4-6 and so on.
Low hands are ranked starting from the highest card and working down. This means that in a showdown between A-2-3-4-9 and 3-4-6-7-8, the latter hand would win the pot. Even though the second hand appears to have more high cards, it still wins because its highest card is lower than the other hand’s highest card.
Sometimes a single hand can scoop both the low and high halves of the pot at the same time. For example, a hand like A-2-3-4-5 could win with the nut low and it could also easily win the high half of the pot acting as a straight. Players may even use different sets of cards when going for both halves of the pot.
Blinds and Dealer
Omaha Hi-Lo uses the same blinds system as regular Omaha. The player to the left of the dealer pays the small blind and the player to the left of the small blind pays the big blind. The big blind is equal in size to one minimum bet and the small blind is equal to half of that.
The position of the dealer moves one seat to the left at the beginning of each hand. This ensures that each player at the table will have to pay the blinds once per round. If the game uses a full time dealer, a small disc called a “dealer’s button” may be passed around the table to represent the position of the dealer.
After the blinds have been paid, each player is dealt four cards face down. The deal begins with the player to the left of the dealer and then goes clockwise around the table, with each player getting one card at a time.
The preflop betting round begins next. The betting begins with the player to the left of the big blind. This player can fold his hand, call the minimum bet to stay in or raise it up. After that player acts, the betting continues clockwise around the table.
The dealer now deals three cards face up in the middle of the table. These three cards are called the “flop” and they are shared by all the players at the table. Each player may use any two of his hole cards in combination with the community cards to make the best five card poker hand possible.
After the flop has been dealt, there is another round of betting. This time the betting begins with the first player to the left of the dealer. This player can bet, fold or check. The action then continues clockwise around the table.
Next, a card is dealt face up next to the flop. This is another community card like the others and this one is called the “turn” card. This card is followed by another round of betting like the last round. From this point on, all bets are made in increments of the upper betting limit.
One last card is dealt face up next to the turn. This is called the “river” card and it too is a community card like all the others. There is one last round of betting just like the last round.
Any players remaining after the last betting round now reveal their hole cards. The players may use any two of their hole cards and any three of the community cards to create their poker hands. The player with the highest poker hand wins half the pot and the player with the lowest hand wins the other half of the pot.
If the same player has both the best high hand and best low hand, that player wins the entire pot. If there is no qualifying low hand, the player with the highest hand wins the entire pot.
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