Omaha High/Low (also called Omaha Eight or Better or “O8”) is more complex version of Omaha that can be an exciting and extremely rewarding game. It is a split pot game, which means that players attempt to make both high and low poker hands. After reading this article, you should feel fairly comfortable with the rules of Omaha High/Low, and will be ready to read our Strategy page before practicing at the tables.
First, you will need to understand how a low hand inOmaha works (if you are unfamiliar with how traditional high hands are ranked, please refer to our poker hand rankings page for information). In order for your five card hand to qualify for a low, it must contain no pairs and also no cards ranked above an eight. Please note that straights and flushes are ignored when creating a low. Because Aces can be both low and high, they are extremely valuable in Omaha High/Low.
If you can create a hand that qualifies for a low, you may compete for both the best low hand as well as the best high hand. If you do not have a qualifying low, you can only compete for a high hand. The pot will be split accordingly among players; half will go to the best low hand (if one qualifies) and half will go to the best high hand. Sometimes a lucky player will create both the best high and low hand and will receive the entire pot. This is called “scooping.”
[twocol_one_last]Omaha High/Low is similar to Hold’em in many ways. It is a Flop game, meaning that players use a combination of their “hole cards” (dealt face down) with the community cards (dealt face up to be shared with all players) to create their hands. However, unlike Hold’em, Omaha players receive four hole cards rather than two, and it is important to remember that you must use exactly two hole cards to create your five card poker hands (no more, and no less).
At an Omaha table, you will see a miniature round disc with the word “Dealer” on it. This is the dealer button, and it is positioned in front of one player and moved clockwise after the end of each hand. The two players sitting on the left side of the dealer button are required to post a small blind and a big blind before the deal. These blinds help to drive the action once the cards are out, and establish the betting amounts. [/twocol_one]
[dropcap]P[/dropcap]lay begins when each person at the table is dealt four hole cards. There is then a round of betting, starting with the person sitting to big blind’s left. They have an option to call the big blind, raise, or forfeit their hand by folding. The action then continues clockwise around the table until all players have acted. The big blind players are last to act during this preflop betting round, and will forfeit their blinds if they opt to fold.
Next, the first three community cards, called the Flop, are dealt facing up in the middle of the table. Another round of betting begins, this time starting with the player sitting directly on the dealer button’s left. After all players have acted, a third community card (known as the Turn) is dealt, and another betting round ensues. Finally, the last community card comes out, known as the River. Players have one more chance to bet before a Showdown is reached and they must compare holdings to determine a winner.
Omaha High/Low is traditionally played as a limit game, meaning that the bets and raises are made in specific increments. During the first two betting rounds, the bets are small ($5 in a $5/$10 game) and they double to big bets for the last two betting rounds ($10 in a $5/$10 game). While Limit Omaha High/Low is certainly more common, Pot Limit Omaha High/Low (or PLO8) is becoming more and more popular, particularly in online card rooms. In this variation, players may bet or raise any amount between the minimum and the amount that is currently in the pot.
While Omaha High/Low may feel a little foreign for those of you aren’t used to playing split pot games, it can be a fun and rewarding experience that, with a little practice, will eventually feel like second nature.