Many poker games can be divided into two categories: Community or Stud. Here’s how they break down:
In Community poker games, hands are made using a combination of personal cards players receive directly from the dealer (called “hole” cards), and community cards the dealer places on the table for all to use.
In Stud poker games, hands are made using only the personal cards a player receives directly from the dealer.
This exciting variation of Omaha follows the same gameplay as its namesake with an innovative twist. In Omaha Hi/Lo, the pot can be split between the player with the highest poker hand and a player who produces the best qualifying low hand. Omaha Hi/Lo can be played with or without betting limits.
Object of the Game
As the name implies, the objective of Omaha Hi/Lo is to produce either the highest-ranked poker hand or the best qualifying low hand at the table using two personal cards and three community cards. It works like this:
1. If no player produces a qualifying low hand, the entire pot goes to the player with the highest hand.
2. If a player produces a qualifying low hand, the pot is split between themselves and the player with the highest hand at the table.
How to Play
1. To get started, the dealer places a “button” in front of the player to their left. This player is said to be “on the button”. The two players to the left of the button make blind bets.
- Player 1 posts a small blind that equals half of the minimum bet
- Player 2 posts a big blind that equals the minimum bet
2. Once the “blinds” are placed, and before the “Flop” is dealt, the dealer distributes four personal “hole” cards to each player, face down. When everyone has their cards, the player to the immediate left of the big blind—the third player after the button—starts the first round of betting.
This player has three options:
3. Next, the dealer deals “the Flop”—three community cards dealt face up in the centre of the table. Players can now start evaluating their hands by combining their two best “hole” cards with the visible community cards. This kicks off another round of betting, starting with the small blind—the player to the left of the button.
In this, and all following rounds of betting, players have four options:
4. After bets have been placed the dealer deals “the Turn”—a fourth community card that leads to a third round of betting.
5. After bets have been placed the dealer deals “the River”—a fifth and final community card that leads into the final round of betting.
6. Finally, the round ends. Player hands are compared to see who has the highest and lowest-ranking hands. Here’s how they’re scored:
- Scoring works according to the rules of poker hands
To qualify, the low hand winner must have a hand with:
- No cards higher than an eight
- No pairs, triples or four of a kind
Best possible qualifying low hand: A-2-3-4-5 (Aces are low in a low hand)
Worst possible qualifying high hand: 4-5-6-7-8
Like Omaha poker, the odds of Omaha Hi/Lo can be quite different from other poker games. With four cards per hand, there are 16,432 possible hands you may be dealt.
Because of this, the game is considered a “nut” game. This means that if you don’t have the “nuts”, the best possible hand given the options, the chances of winning the pot are extremely low.
Like all poker games, the outcome of Omaha Hi/Lo depends on the random distribution of cards from a shuffled deck. That said, the following strategies may help extend your time at the table.
- Don’t raise on the Flop very often
- If you don’t have great cards, don’t feel bad about folding on the Flop
- If you have a great starting hand, you can play more aggressively