Limit Omaha Hi-Low

Limit Omaha Hi-Low or Omaha 8-or-better is one of the most popular variants and is commonly played in mixed game rotations such as HORSE and the 8-game and 10-game rotations seen at online poker sites. Though Omaha Hi-Low is a popular game, it lags far behind Texas Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha in terms of popularity. The key difference between these games and Omaha Hi-Low is that Hi-Low is a split pot game, meaning that the player with the lowest hand at showdown wins half the pot.

How to Play Fixed Limit Omaha Hi-Low

The action in an Omaha Hi-Low hand is very similar to that in No Limit Holdem and Pot Limit Omaha. The two players to the dealer’s left are forced to put in bets before looking at their hands, known as ‘blinds’ The players to the left of the dealer puts in the small blind, and the player to his left puts in the big blind, which is typically twice the amount of the small blind. Each player is then dealt four ‘hole cards’ faced down and the action begins on the player to the left of the big blind who may call the amount of the big blind, raise to an amount that is twice the big blind or fold, giving up his chance of winning the pot.

Because Limit Omaha Hi-Low is a fixed limit game, all bets and raises on this betting round must be in increments of the amount of the big blind. Furthermore, there is a maximum of 4 bets payable by each player on all betting rounds, after which the action is ‘capped’, meaning no more betting can take place.

Action continues around the table to the small blind who has the option to complete is bet to the amount of the big blind (if there have been no raises in front), call any earlier raises, or raise himself. The big blind has the same options and if there have been no raises in front he may also ‘check’, and the action proceeds to the next betting round.

After the first betting round is complete, the dealer places three cards face up in the middle of the table (known as the ‘flop’), which may be used by all players at the table to make their hand. Then, there is another round of betting which starts with the small blind and continues clockwise around the table with all players having the option to check, passing the action to the next player or bet and, if there has been a bet in front of them, to raise. After this round, the dealer turns up a single card (the ‘turn’) and there is another round of betting and finally he turns up the ‘river’ and there is a final betting round. Note that the betting increment for the turn and river is double that of the pre-flop and flop rounds. This amount is known as the ‘big bet’.

At any point during the hand if there is a bet or raise which isn’t called by any players at the table, the person who made the bet or raise wins the pot as the ‘last man standing’.

The Showdown: How is the Winning Hand Determined?

When the river betting round is complete and all bets or raises have been called by at least one player, or all players check, players must show down their hole cards in order to claim the pot. In Omaha Hi-Low half the pot is awarded to the best 5-card poker hand using standard poker hand rankings, where players must use exactly 2 cards from their hole cards and 3 from the community cards which the dealer has placed face up in the middle of the table. The other half of the pot is awarded to the player with the lowest poker hand where all 5 cards are eight or lower. In determining the low hand the rules state that Aces play low and that straights and flushes do not count against a player when making a low hand. This means that the best possible low hand in Omaha Hi-Low is A2345, which is known as ‘the wheel’. Note that players can use different combinations of hole cards to make their low and high hands. If no player has five cards ranked eight or lower, the entire pot goes to the player with the best high hand. The best low hand is determined by using the highest card first, then the second highest if there is a tie, and so on.

When learning Limit Omaha Hi/Low it is best to play starting hands which have good possibilities to compete for both the low and high halves of the pot such AA23 double suited, which has a pair or Aces and a shot at two different flushes for the high, and A23 for the low.