Omaha Hi-Lo Poker - Rules
Omaha Hi-Lo is a community card game. Every player is dealt 4 cards face down, followed by 5 community cards dealt face up in the middle of the table. The 5 community cards may be used by every player.
When played in casinos, Omaha Hi Lo is played with a dealer button to mark who the dealer would be if the casino weren't providing one for the table. The button rotates clockwise around the table between every hand. This is important as the 'dealer' is the last to act, and thus has the greatest advantage for that hand.
To make both your best 5-card high hand, and your best 5-card low hand, using exactly 2 hole cards and 3 board cards. You may use different hole cards in making your low hand then you used in making your high hand, so long as you use exactly 2 hole cards and 3 board cards for each. The player with the best high hand wins half the pot, and the player with the best low hand wins the other half. If there is no qualifying low hand, the player with the best high hand wins the entire pot.
A qualifying low hand is made with 5 cards that are all 8 or lower, an Ace counting as the lowest. No pairs can exist in a low hand, but a Straight and/or a Flush may. The lowest possible hand is A2345. The highest possible qualifying low hand is 87654.
Note: Winning both the high and the low hand is called 'scooping the pot'.
Omaha Hi Lo occasionally has an Ante (usually only in tournament play) where every player must place a nominal amount in the pot prior to the beginning of each hand. Ante is often 1/10 of the low limit bet size. The Ante does not count toward any future bets.
Omaha Hi Lo rules dictate that there be 2 forced bets every hand, called blinds. There is a small blind, which is 1/2 of the low limit bet size, and a big blind, which is equal to the low limit bet size. Before the hand begins, the player to the immediate left of the dealer button is forced to post the small blind, and the player to the left of that person is forced to post the big blind. These bets count towards that player's first round bet, and are considered live, meaning the player may choose to raise even if nobody else has.
Note: In a heads up match (1 on 1), the player with the dealer button posts the small blind, and the other player posts the big blind. The player with the dealer button is the first to act before the flop, but acts after his opponent in the 3 betting rounds to follow.
There are 4 rounds of betting. In fixed limit Omaha Hi Lo game, in the first 2 rounds of betting, all bets must be equal to the size of the low limit bet. In the last 2 rounds of betting, all bets must be equal to the high limit bet. If, for example, you're playing 3-6 Omaha Hi Lo, all bets in the first 2 rounds will be in increments of 3 dollars, and all bets in the last 2 rounds will be in increments of 6 dollars. A maximum of 3 raises are allowed per betting round.
Note: In a heads up match, some Poker rooms will allow more than the customary 3 raises per betting round. 5 is common, as is unlimited raises.
The player to the immediate left of the dealer button is forced to post the small blind. The player to the left of him, or 2 to the left of the dealer button, is forced to post the big blind. 2 cards are dealt to every player face down, starting with the small blind. The action begins with the player to the immediate left of the big blind, who must decide to fold, call (by putting in the low limit bet), or raise (by putting in twice the low limit bet). Action proceeds clockwise around the table. The small blind may call (assuming nobody has raised) by adding the other 1/2 of the low limit bet he was already forced to put in. The big blind may simply check (assuming nobody has raised), as he has already put in the full size of the first round bet.
2. The Flop
3 cards are dealt face up in the middle of the table. In this round, and in the following 2 rounds, the player to the immediate left of the dealer button is the first to act. Play proceeds in a clockwise manner around the table. All bets and raises must be equal to the low limit bet size.
3. The Turn
A fourth card is dealt face up in the middle of the table. Play proceeds as in the previous round, except now all bets and raises must be equal to the high limit bet size.
4. The River
A fifth and final card is dealt face up in the middle of the table. Play proceeds as in the previous round. All bets and raises must be equal to the high limit bet size.
Anyone who has not folded after the last round of betting will now have the option of showing their hand and possibly winning the pot. The person who bet last is the first to show their hand, and then it proceeds clockwise from there, with each remaining player either choosing to show their hand, or muck it. Often times a player will muck their hand if they aren't going to win the pot, and don't want their opponents to see what they played.