Omaha Hi / Lo

Omaha Hi/Lo is one of the many variations that the regular Omaha, which is also commonly referred to as “Omaha high”, poker game has. Omaha and Omaha Hi/Lo are the second most popular poker games that are being played currently; following closely behind Texas Hold’em. It is played on most, if not all, casinos as well as online poker rooms, not to mention that it is also played during the events of many big name poker tournaments like the WSOP. As Omaha Hi/Lo is a community card game, it shares some similarities with its counter-part Texas Hold’em, but it also has many differences that make it a unique poker game all in itself.

Omaha Hi/Lo History

To know the history of Omaha Hi/Lo it is necessary to split the two terms and talk about the history of each. The Hi/Lo term came long before the poker variant of Omaha was ever invented. It is not accurate, but it is presumed that the Hi/Lo split in poker was developed in 1903. Even though it was developed at such an early stage, it did not start to become a popular variant in poker until much later. The Omaha poker variant was said to have been invented much later, some say in the 1980’s. The reason Omaha is so popular is that it attracted poker players early on and has ever since become a fan favorite. It can now be played in almost every venue where poker is played; at casino, online or even in tournaments.

How to Play Omaha Hi/Lo

Omaha Hi/Lo is a community card game, which means that players use cards that are dealt to them, as well as cards that are dealt in front of them which can be used by all the players at the table. In order to play there needs to be at least 2 players; most commonly it is played with 2 – 9 poker players. The dealer hands each player a total of 4 cards, these are the initial cards that they will be playing with.

There will be a total of 4 betting rounds during an Omaha Hi/Lo game. The first round of betting is called the pre-flop bet, where players place a bet based solely on the cards in their hands. When the dealer flips over the first 3 community cards, called the Flop, there is another round of betting. The third round of betting happens after the fourth community card, the Turn card, is dealt. The fifth community card to be dealt is the River card, and this is when the last round of betting happens. This round is also called the Showdown when there are two or more players still in the game and they must show their cards to see who the winner is.

Omaha Hi/Lo Rules

When playing Omaha Hi/Lo it is important to know what the Hi/Lo portion means. In regular poker, the highest hand is the winner, but when Hi/Lo is introduced it completely changes the rules. The Hi portion simply means that there can be a hand that is the highest, whether it is the highest single card or a Royal Flush. In regards to the Lo portion, there are several factors that must happen for them to qualify as low hands.
In order for a low hand to qualify, the player must have 5 unpaired cards that are 8 or lower. The Ace can count as both highest or lowest, so in this case it would count as the lowest card. If the player has a straight or a flush, these do not affect the low value. The best low hand that a player could have is an Ace through 5 straight; which is also referred to as “Bicycle”. In Omaha Hi/Lo it is totally possible for a player to have the best low and high hand.

When and if players reach the Showdown, players must use 3 of the 5 community cards, and exactly 2 of the 4 cards they have in their hand in order to create the high, low, or both. If a player has the best low hand, and another has the best high hand, the pot will be split.

Now that you know more about Omaha Hi/Lo, you should consider any of your multiple poker rooms recommended here, and give the poker game a try.