The basic rule for Omaha Hold ’em Hi/Lo is that there are two winning hands for each game: the highest hand, splits the pot with the lowest qualifying hand. To qualify for the low half of the pot, the low hand must be 8 or lower, which means the low hand cannot have a card higher than 8 in it. Ace plays both high and low.
An important thing to know about the low hands games is that straights and flushes do not disqualify a hand for low. If you have the A-2-3-4-5 all of hearts, even though it’s a straight flush , it’s also a wheel, or the lowest possible hand. This hand would have an excellent chance of winning both ways.
Omaha Hold’em Hi-Lo Poker Rules
The rules for regular Omaha Hold ’em and Omaha Hi/Lo are very similar, but the strategies for the Hi/Lo game are very different. To determine the best low hand, the highest low card is used. If two players share the same high card, then the next lowest card is used, and so on. If there are no hands qualifying as a low hand (i.e. every hand holds a card higher than an 8), the highest hand will take the whole pot.
Omaha Hi/Lo is played the same as regular Omaha Hold ’em with 2 to 8 players and a standard deck of fifty two cards. The game begins with the two players to the left of the dealer (the button) putting a predetermined amount of money into the pot before any cards are dealt, ensuring that there’s something to play for on every hand. This is called “posting the blinds.” Most often, the “first blind”, the player to the left of the dealer, puts up half the minimum bet, and the “second blind” puts up the full minimum bet.
Each player is dealt four cards, face down. (This is the first key difference from Texas Hold ’em, in which players only get two face-down cards.) These cards are known as the “hole cards.”
Then the player at the left of the big blind is first to act and he must either call the big blind, bet, raise, or fold his hand. Continuing in turn clockwise, all the players around the table either call, raise or fold. When the betting gets back around to the small blind, he or she can fold and lose only the half minimum bet placed earlier, call the amount necessary to get up to the betting level or raise if there is a raise left. The big blind is then the last to act before any cards are turned up in the middle. The blinds are played in the first round only.
After the first betting round, the dealer turns three cards face up in the center of the table. This is the “Flop”, another round of betting takes place beginning with the player at the left of the button making the first action. There are no more forced bets and the players can check, call, raise, or fold when it’s their turn to bet. Bets right after the flop are at the minimum bet level.
After the betting action has concluded on the flop, another community card is placed face up in the center of the table, called the Turn. Bets generally double on the Turn.
Finally the last community card is placed face up in the center of the table and the final round of betting takes place. Double bets are used on the river. Then the active players reveal their hole cards and the highest hand wins the pot.
Once all players have had the chance to act, there is a showdown. The last player to bet or raise must reveal their cards first and then all challenging players can choose to either muck their hand in the event that cannot win, or they can reveal their hand if it is the highest or lowest possible hand enough to take the pot. Important: Each player has to use exactly two of his hole cards and three from the community cards on the board to build their best five card hi/lo hand. The player(s) with the highest or lowest standard five card poker hand wins and takes the pot or the dealer determines the winning hand (best hi/lo 5-card hand out of 2 hole cards and three from the community cards on the board to build the players best five card hand) and awards the player(s) the pot.
Uneven Split Pot:
If the pot doesn’t split evenly, the player with the highest hand takes the extra chips.