Few games are as much fun as Omaha Hi-Lo poker. This game is played fast and furious, and anyone who hasn’t experienced it for real is missing out. Not only does Omaha Hi-Lo poker have monster pots, it’s also got huge poker hands.
You can certainly try your luck and jump straight into the action – but it’s better to have a solid grounding in poker strategy first. We’re about to introduce you to the top tips, tricks, and strategies needed to succeed at Omaha Hi-Lo poker. In no time at all, you’ll be cashing in with the best poker hands. 888 Poker USA offers you plenty of exciting Omaha Hi-Lo poker games to play.
Before we get started, let’s take a few moments to go over the most important strategy points. Everything you need to know about winning Omaha Hi-Lo poker is included in this comprehensive guide.
Let’s cut to the chase: One of the most important things you need to know about Omaha Hi-Lo poker is that there are 2 winning hands at the showdown stage. A High Hand, and a Low Hand. These hands get to split the pot right down the middle. That’s 50/50 for the non-mathematicians out there. But that’s not the best of it – if you can make the best Omaha Hi hand and the best Omaha Lo hand, you can cash in with the whole pot.
The betting format for Omaha Hi-Lo poker is pot limit (PL). However, there are many other formats available, including fixed limit (FL) poker games. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to determine what type of betting format you should play. Pot limit (PL) games play out in a similar fashion to no limit (NL) poker games. With fixed limit games (FL), the betting amount is limited to a maximum 4 x BB (the Big Blind) on each Street.
In Omaha multitable tournaments, it’s important to use an Omaha Hi-Lo poker tournament strategy. This can help you to go deep into the tournament, and to successfully reach many more final tables. You’ve essentially got to balance premium starting hands with a solid understanding of how low hands work in this game.
Right! Let’s switch our attention to the inner mechanics of Omaha Hi-Lo game strategy. We will begin with the pre-flop hand selection:
Remember there are 2 ways to win in Omaha Hi-Lo poker – the high hand and the low hand. It’s important to choose starting hands that can win both the high and the low hand. One of the most important strategic rules in these split-pot poker games is the following: Go for the Low Hand and Back into the High Hand.
Let’s consider a hand like Ace-Ace-2- X double suited. This gives you the opportunity to play for the Nut-Low and the Nut-Flush draws.
Here Are the 10 Best Starting Hands in Omaha Hi-Lo Poker:
Many poker aficionados love any Ace-2-X-X hand, but not all these Ace-2 hands have equal value. That’s take a look at one particular hand – Ace-2-Queen-Queen (double suited) and we will compare it to Ace-2-Jack-8 (non-suited). Both have Ace-2 cards, however the pair of Queens easily beats the Jack-8 hand. This is anything but a fair contest.
We can clearly see that while the low part of the hand is really important, it only makes up half of the winning hand. You should always look for poker hands that include cards that can help you make a winning high hand as well.
Poker hands with suited Aces, high cards, or big pairs will often help you to form those nut flushes and straights that you’re looking for.
Here’s another curious fact: If you going for the low hand, it’s not the same as having the best low in Omaha Hi-Lo poker. Too often, players called huge River bets with a low hand that is easily beaten. Let’s have a look at the following board and the starting hands that Sami Jim, Harry, Daniel and Adam have.
Do you know which low hand scoops the pot?
The low hand of player #1 is as follows: 7 of spades-6 of spades-4 of diamonds-2 of diamonds-Ace of clubs. This player used several cards from the board (7 of spades-6 of spades-2 of diamonds) in addition to Ace of clubs, and 4 of diamonds from their hand (Harry’s hand) to make a low.
Player #2 has a low hand which reads as follows: 7 of spades-6 of spades-3 of diamonds-2 of spades-Ace of hearts. This player used the 7 of spades, 6 of spades, and the Ace of hearts from the board in addition to the 2 of spades and the 3 of diamonds to form the best low hand.
You should always try and calculate from the top to the bottom, with the Ace being at the bottom. In the above example, both players have the Ace-2, but from the top down, player #2 has a 3 of diamonds which instantly beats player #1’s 4 of diamonds. Clearly, player #2 has the best hand.
It’s so important for you to know how to calculate the best low hand in Omaha Hi-Lo. You can easily get beaten by a single card if you don’t understand the rules. If you find yourself in a similar situation where your low hand could easily be beat, it’s always a good idea to simply fold or call.
In the above example, player #2 may have felt that he/she was holding the best low hand. This player would probably contribute to a huge pot. Unfortunately, this is your fast-pass to losing streak.
Once you become more familiar with the rules of forming low hands in Omaha Hi-Lo, you’ll know when you’re holding the nuts. If you feel that you’ve got a good read on the game and one of your opponents is just bluffing with a low, you should go all in. Chances are they don’t have your low beat, and they are simply trying to get to the showdown without losing their chips.
A hand such as Ace-2-X-X is no doubt a powerful starting hand. An even better hand is Ace-2-3-X. Why is this the case? Since you now have a great backup card – cards that will back-up your draw if one of your low cards falls on the board, you’re in the money.
In Omaha Hi-Lo poker games, players must use 3 cards from the board – the Flop, Turn, and River – to form a poker hand. For this reason, if you have Ace-3-4-X, the 2 will slot neatly in between the Ace and the 3. If your unknown card – X - is a 4, then, your low would be beaten.
It’s so important to be aware of the low cards which can counterfeit (match) your other low cards to make them irrelevant. And remember to use your backup cards as well – that’s a great way to ensure that your low trumps the competition.
You read that right! Omaha Hi-Lo is a game of big draws. It’s so common to see a low hand, or multiple flush hands of the same suit on the River. Players typically draw to lots of many different highs and lows, filling this game with plenty of action.
It’s important not to get all your chips into the pot during the pre-flop stage. If possible, always try and see the flops for cheap. If you got low draws and nut highs, you should always go for a big one. In this situation, push as many of your chips into the middle as you can. During pot limit (PL) games, it’s easy to do. Be sure that when you draw, it has a great chance of winning.
You read that right! Position is so important in Omaha Hi-Lo poker. Only play premium starting hands in early position, like the ones we highlighted in our top 10 listing above. This will help you to preserve your chip stack and prevent you from playing draws out of position.
It makes much more sense to play drawing hands when you are close to the button. You’ll also control the pot and your opponents’ betting. If players try to check-raise you, you can always check behind. If they are leading on you, you can start building a pot for yourself by raising.
Bear in mind that Omaha Hi-Lo poker is extremely volatile, owing to the drawing hands and multiple hand combinations. Get the biggest bang for your buck with the draws. If you play more hands in position, and you limit your play with weaker hands, you will be in the money.