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Omaha Hi-Lo: Fundamental Overview
November 6th, 2009 by Leilani

Omaha Hi-Lo (also known as Omaha 8 or better) is commonly seen as one of the most complicated but popular poker variations. It is a variation that, even more than regular Omaha poker, aims for action from all levels of players. This is the primary reason why a once invisible variation, has increased in acceptance so rapidly.

Omaha/8 begins exactly like a regular game of Omaha. Four cards are dealt to each player. A round of betting ensues in which gamblers can bet, check, or fold. 3 cards are dealt out, this is called the flop. Another sequence of wagering happens. Once all the players have either called or folded, an additional card is revealed on the turn. Another sequence of betting ensues and then the river card is revealed. The players must attempt to make the strongest high and low five card hands using the board and hole cards.

This is where many entrants can get confused. Contrasted to Texas Hold ‘Em, where the board can be every player’s hand, in Omaha Hi-Lo the player must use precisely three cards on the board, and precisely two hole cards. Not a single card more, no less. Unlike regular Omaha, there are two ways a pot could be won: the "high hand" or the "lower hand."

A high hand is exactly what it sounds like. It is the best hand out of everyone’s, it doesn’t matter if it is a straight, flush, full house, etc. It is the same notion in just about all poker games.

The low hand is more complicated, but really opens up the action. When figuring out a low hand, straights and flushes don’t count. A low hand is the weakest hand that might be made, with the lowest being made up of A-2-3-4-5. Seeing as straights and flushes do not count, A-2-3-4-5 is the lowest possible hand. The lower hand is any five card hand (unpaired) with an 8 and below. The lower hand takes half of the pot, as just like the higher hand. When there is no lower hand available, the high hand wins the whole pot.

While it seems complicated at first, after a couple of rounds you will be able to pick up on the base nuances of the game easily enough. Seeing as you have people betting for the low and betting for the high, and seeing as such a large number of cards are in play, Omaha/8 offers an exciting range of betting choices and because you have many individuals trying for the high hand, as well as a few trying for the low hand. If you prefer a game with all kinds of outs and actions, it is not a waste of your time to compete in Omaha 8 or better.


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