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How to Play Omaha Hi/Lo

Get an edge with these quick tips and basic strategies

Adding one simple twist to Omaha - awarding half the pot to the best low hand - adds a whole new layer of strategy and action to an already fast-paced game.

Omaha Hi/Lo sees players use 2 of their 4 hole cards to make a high hand as in Omaha; but to scoop the entire pot, you must have the best low hand too. 

No one's really sure when Omaha Hi/Lo was invented, but likely in Las Vegas shortly after the birth of Omaha to make the game even more masochistic. There is still relatively little strategy information out there.

Omaha Hi/Lo
Game ComplexityAdvanced
TypeCommunity Card Poker

Gameplay of Omaha Hi/Lo

  • Setting Up

    Setting Up

    • You'll need: a button, small & big blinds.
    • The most common betting structure is limit.
    • Deal each player 4 cards, face down. This is the 'pre-flop' action.
  • Action

    The Action

    • There are 4 betting rounds:  pre-flop, flop, turn and river.
    • After the pre-flop betting, a 3-card "flop" is dealt which can be used by all players. 
    • The turn and river (dealt separately) contain 1 card each for a total of 5 community cards.
  • Who's the Winner?

    Determining a Winner

    • The player with the best combination of his 4 hole cards and the 5 community cards wins the 'high' half of the pot.
    • Any players make a qualifying 'low' (an unpaired 5 card hand 8-high or worse), they compete for the low half of the pot. Straights and flushes are not held against you.
    • Making both a high and a low gives you a shot to 'scoop' the entire pot. 

Basic Strategies of Omaha Poker

  • Pre-Flop

    Beginners should play hands that have high potential to scoop, e.g. A2xx double suited, with another wheel card as backup.

    Hands containing a 9, low pairs, or medium offsuit cards can confidently be folded in any position.

    It's fine to limp into pots, to tempt other weaker hands to play multi-way and make mistakes postflop.

  • Post-Flop

    Bear in mind that two pair and trips are medium strength holdings at best, and flush over flush situations common.

    Jam bets into the pot when you have a strong draw for both halves of the pot, e.g. to the nut low and a nut flush. 

    Don't overplay hands that can't scoop - you can easily be three-quartered by a player with the same nut low and a better high.

  • Betting

    Betting occurs after the first 4 hole cards are dealt, plus after every section of community cards.  There are 4 rounds in total.

    Often you may still be getting the correct price to call for a quarter of the pot, when you're confident you'll be three-quartered.

    Stay aggressive, but make use of bet/fold lines and be disciplined. Bluffing is rarer than in Texas Hold'em.

What You Need to Know About Omaha Hi/Lo Starting Hands

  •  Good Starting Hands

    Play hands with an Ace and one or more wheel cards, preferrably a deuce. High pairs, connected broadways and a suit to the ace also help.

    • Examples include A-A-2-K and A-2-3-4 double suited. 
    • Hands like T-J-Q-K can be played in position - smash the flop or get out.
  •  Poor Starting Hands

    Avoid unconnected, medium cards with no low potential. 

    • Examples include 3-T-J-Q, 3-7-8-9, 3-9-9-K.
    • The 3s shown left are 'danglers', unconnected cards killing your equity.
  •  Marginal Starting Hands

    Limping is fine in Omaha; do so with the following: 

    • Single suited Ax hands like A-4-5-J.
    • Medium double suited connectors with an emergency low e.g. 7-8-9-T.
  •  Positional Hands

    Play in late position when folded to you:

    • On the button and hand contains two cards 8 or lower, and some semi-connectedness or a suit.
    • In the small blind steal aggressively with any playable hand or blockers like Aces and deuces.

Do's and Don'ts for Better Omaha Hi/Lo Play

  • Don't Overplay a One Way Hand

    If you have e.g. no high hand and no backdoor high potential, don't jam with the nut low in a multiway pot. It's likely one of your opponents has the same low and will three quarter you with their high hand.

  • Do Play Your Hands Fast

    Take bet/fold lines for value, i.e. stay aggressive and don't slowplay. Often opponents will call with a weak low getting a good price that you're on a high hand only, and vice versa. As most players are tight in Omaha Hi/Lo, particularly limit O8, you can shut down when faced with a raise.

  • Don't Draw to Second Best Hands

    Easier said than done, but the most punishing situation in Omaha Hi/Lo is being scooped by a slightly better high hand and low hand. This is very common in fixed limit multiway pots where villains are 3 betting and capping the turn/river. Hands like an eight low and two pair are virtually worthless unless heads up.

Omaha Hi/Lo Poker Videos

  • Omaha Hi/Lo: WCOOP $400k MTT

    Live play video of the 2007 World Championship of Online Poker, a L08 event.

    This Video Contains:

    1. Commentary by Greg Raymer & David Tuchman.
    2. Deep stacked tournament strategy.
    3. High profile online MTT pros.
  • Omaha Hi/Lo: No Limit Hyper Turbo

    PokerStars Pro Daleroxxu walks us through a rare NLO8 tourney. Watch in 480p.

    This Video Contains:  

    1. Thinking about stack sizes and blind stealing. 
    2. Shallow, aggro shortstack play.
    3. Moving all in with positive expecation (+EV).

Where Can I Play Omaha Hi/Lo Online?