Omaha Hi/Lo Split is a very intricate and complex form of poker that has remained somewhat popular for many years. Like Stud Hi/Lo, Omaha Hi/Lo is almost always played with an eight qualifier for low in modern poker, so that there is balance in the game – otherwise the strategy would be too simple as you would just always just play for the low. Omaha Hi/Lo Split is most often played with a structured limit betting format, and can be found as a standalone game in either cash games or tournaments and is also often featured as part of series of mixed games in order to add the very different feel of a split pot game to the mix. Omaha Hi/Lo Split tends to reward patience combined with solid fundamentals and mathematical skills more than a lot of games, and while aggressive play is still important, big bluffs and mind bending hero-calls are seen much less in this game than in a game like No-Limit Hold’em or Lowball Draw. In order to maximize your profits at the Omaha High/Low tables, you might want to follow our suggestions below.
Starting Hand Considerations
When you play Omaha Hi/Lo Split, you generally want to have four high cards, four low cards, or two of each. The idea is to try to play hands that have potential to win both ways, and luckily the ace is simultaneously the best card for low and for high in this game, making it truly the key card to have. Frankly, it is fairly difficult to construct a very strong Omaha Hi/Lo split hand without an ace, and you should make sure that the rest of your cards are working well together (such as KQJT or 2345) before putting your chips in the pot without one of the coveted aces. Hands such as AK23, AA35, or four low cards with suited aces and low straight potential (such as A234 or A356) are generally considered the most premium hands because they all give you the chance to scoop (notice all of these contain at least one ace). Four high cards can work well too, such as AKQJ, KKQT, or JJTT, because when you hit the board well with these hands, there often aren’t enough low cards out to make a low possible and thus you are playing for the whole pot.
Draw Mostly to the Nuts
With each player having four cards to work with and most pots being contested multi way, whenever there is a lot of betting and raising going on, it is quite likely that someone is going to show you the nuts – at least in one direction. Therefore it is very important in Omaha Hi/Lo Split to remember that if you are drawing to a hand – whether it is to a straight, a flush, or a low – you usually need to be drawing to the nuts, especially if you are only going one way. Players new to the game often make the mistake of drawing to the second nut flush or the second nut low. Sadly for them, if they make their hand on the river they are likely to lose the hand because someone else was drawing to the actual nuts.
Be Wary of Overplaying the Low
When a lot of people begin playing Omaha, they often overvalue their hand when they have a draw to the nut low, and play it too aggressively when they make it. Pretty much everyone plays ace-duece in this game, regardless of what their other two hole cards are, so if a low is possible and there is a lot of action, you have to ask yourself if you really stand to gain by putting in raises. Especially in cases where the pot is heads up, if you get into a raising war with another player and all you have is the nut low, you are often going to be splitting the low and losing the high (a situation known as getting “quartered”). If, however, the pot has four or more players in it, this is much less of a concern because even if you’re only winning half the low side of the pot, you’re at least getting your money back with four players and may even be winning a little if there are five players in (assuming that only two of you have the nut low).
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