How to Play Omaha Hi-Lo | Poker Rules
Omaha Hold’em (also known as just Omaha) is a game that plays similar to Texas Hold’em, but with a few key differences.
Like Texas Hold’em, the object of Omaha is to make the best possible five-card hand, using a combination of hole cards and five community cards.
In Omaha, however, players are dealt four hole cards, and must make a five-card hand using exactly two hole cards and three community cards. This differs from Texas Hold’em, in which players get two hole cards, and can use any combination of hole cards and community cards to make the best five-card hand.
Two versions of Omaha are commonly played around the world, Pot Limit Omaha and Omaha Hi-Lo (aka Omaha Eight or Better). The next sections will cover Omaha Hi-Lo. Learn how to play Pot Limit Omaha here.
Omaha Hi Lo Rules Overview
Omaha 8, also known as Omaha Eight or Better, or Omaha high low split ('Hi/Lo'), is a split pot game. The best high hand wins half of the pot, and the best low hand wins the other half of the pot.
Much like its cousin, Pot Limit Omaha, Omaha 8 or Better involves four hole cards for each player. The object of Omaha 8 is to make the best five-card high hand, and/or best five-card low hand, using exactly two hole cards and three community cards. Different combinations of cards can be used by a player to make separate high and low hands.
It is possible for a player to win both the high and low portions of the pot--known as "scooping". If there is no qualifying low hand (five cards below 8), the best high hand will scoop the whole pot.
Omaha 8 can be played as a limit, pot limit or even no limit game. The most common variant is Limit Omaha 8 or Better, which is also the variant included in most mixed games. For more on the different betting structures used in Omaha 8, click on the "Limit vs. No Limit vs. Pot Limit" tab above.
How to play Limit Omaha 8 or Better poker:
- Limit Omaha 8 or Better uses a "blinds" structure: The player to the left of the dealer button puts in the small blind, and the player two to the left of the button puts in the big blind.
- Each player is dealt four cards face down, starting with the player to the left of the dealer.
- There is a round of betting where each player can fold, call, or raise. (Action starts with the player to the left of the big blind.)
- The flop (three cards), a turn and a river are dealt with betting rounds following each.
- At showdown, players must use exactly 2 hole cards to make their best 5 card high and low hand. The same cards can be used to make a high and a low hand.
- A low hand qualifies for half of the pot when it is an 8-low or better. If there is no qualifying low hand, the high hand scoops the entire pot.
- Omaha 8 or Better is usually a fixed limit game, meaning players can only bet and raise a set amount - one big blind preflop and on the flop, and two big blinds on the turn and river. Only four bets may go in on each street, which is why the 4th bet is called the "cap".
Showdown and Hand Rankings:
The high hand rankings follow traditional poker hand rankings.
The low hand follows the A-to-5 lowball hand rankings, in which Aces are the lowest card and flushes and straights don’t count against your hand. This makes 5-4-3-2-A the best possible low hand (and a strong high hand in its own right). The worst qualifying low hand is 8-7-6-5-4.