Omaha Hi-Lo Poker - Strategies
In Omaha Hi-Lo the high hand winner must split the pot with the player with the best qualifying low hand. There is always a high hand winner but not always a low. For your hand to qualify for low, it must have 5 denominations no higher than an 8. Any 2 of your 4 down cards are played for high and any 2 are played for low. Players must play exactly 2 out of their hands for each direction. Aces are played both high and low. Straights and flushes do not disqualify a hand for low, so a player ending with 5, 4, 3, 2, A would have an unbeatable low hand and a 5 high straight to play for high. A player with this hand would have a good chance of winning both ways. He could also have another high hand better than the straight.
The most important thing to keep in mind in split pot games is the big profit difference between winning half the pot and 'scooping' it all. It is a lot more than just twice as much. Scooping the pot usually builds a healthy addition to your stack of chips. Getting half often puts you barely ahead of where you were before you started playing the hand.
Expert Omaha Hi Lo players only play starting hands, like those recommended here, that have a good chance of winning both ways. Omaha is a game of 'nuts'. With so many players with so many cards, finding so many reasons to play, a final hand with a fairly good high and a fairly good low can easily get clobbered by better hands both ways. So after the flop or maybe the turn, if it looks like you don't have an almost certain winner for one end and a decent shot at the other, or the best high hand with no qualifying low probable, you should usually fold up and wait for the next hand.
Throw-Away Starting Hands; these hands should be automatically folded without any further consideration:
- Quads - (including) A A A A.
- Trip Threes thru Trip Kings - 3 3 3 X - K K K X.
- 3 or more unpaired Middle Cards - X 6 7 9.
Playable Starting Hands:
Note: The best possible starting hand is A A 2 3 (DS).
- Some trip Aces and trip deuces - These only: 2AAA, 3AAA, 4AAA(S), 5AAA(S), 222A(S).
- Pair of Aces with low cards - AA23, AA44, AA35 etc.
- Pair of Aces suited with anything - Ah A Xh X.
- A2 with anything - A2XX.
- A3 with low cards - Paired or unpaired. A344, A345, A355.
- A3/ Ace suited with anything - Ad A Xd X.
- Ace suited with 3 unpaired cards - Ac Jc Q K etc.
- 4 unpaired low cards - 2345.
- 2 high pair double suited - Kh Kd Qh Qd etc.