omaha_hi_lo
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Omaha Hi - Lo  The Basic Rules

 

OMAHA HI-LO, ALSO CALLED OMAHA 8-OR-BETTER

This is a community card poker game similar to Texas Hold’em. However, in Omaha Hi-Lo, each player makes a separate five card high handand a separate five card low hand. Each player is dealt 4 cards andmust make his or her hand using EXACTLY 2 cards. Players may useany combination of their four cards, but must use 2 out of their hand and 3 on the board.

THE BETTING ROUND AND LAYOUT OF COMMUNITY CARDS IS THE SAME AS TEXAS HOLD’EM.

At the showdown each player’s hand is the best 5-card hand made from 2 cards in their hand and 3 on the board. Unlike Texas Hold’em, a player cannot play the board because they must use 2 cards out of their hand. Also, if there are 4 spades on the board and the player has the Ace in his hand, this is not a flush. He must have the Ace with another spade (two spades in his hand).

Flushes and straights are ignored when determining a low hand, and the hands are compared with the highest card first. Therefore, a 54321, regardless of suit, is the best possible low hand, while 87654 is the worst possible low hand that would still qualify as a low hand.

THERE ARE OVER 50 COMBINATIONS OF QUALIFYING LOW HANDS. All LOW HANDS MUST BE A COMBINATION OF 5 CARDS BETWEEN ACE AND 8, WITH NO DUPLICATES OR PAIRS.

Regardless of the single card combinations between ace and eight, the weakest low hand is one with an 8. For example, a possible five-card low hand could be 8,5,3,2,A. Another possibility could be 7,6,5,3,2. If compared, each of the hand’s highest card is taken into account. Since the first player’s high card is an 8 and the second player’s high card is a 7, the second player would win the low, because 7 is lower than 8.

IN CASE OF A TIE WITH THE HIGHEST CARD

The second highest ranking card in qualifying hands is used. If a tie still exists, the third highest card is used and so on. Let’s say you have 6,5,3,2,A. The other player has a 6,5,4,2,A. You are tied at the 6 and tied at the 5. The next high card is your 3 and the other player’s 4. Since three is lower than four, you would win the low.

THERE IS NO QUALIFYING ON THE "HIGH'SIDE

The best high hand automatically wins half the pot and could win the whole pot if no low qualifies. Where Omaha differs from Hold-em is that Hold’em you are allowed to use one, both, or neither of your hole cards in putting together your final hand.

In Omaha you must use two and exactly two of the four cards in your hand, along with three and exactly three of the five community (board) cards to make your final hand. In Omaha Hi/Lo, same as our Texas Hold’em a small flat disk, called a "button" is used to indicate the dealer position.

PRIOR TO THE CARDS BEING DEALT

The first player to the left of the dealer position posts a small blind, and the second player to the dealer's left puts up a big blind, which is usually equal to the first round bet. Blinds are "live" bets, which signifies two things. First, a blind is a "real" bet, and to enter the pot, a player in a blind position needs only to make up the difference, if any, between his blind and the current bet. Second, players in the blinds have the option of raising when the action gets back to them, even if there has been no prior raise.

When each hand is completed, the dealer button is moved one position to the left, and the procedure of posting blinds is repeated, so everyone pays his/her fair share.

To start the hand, each player, beginning with the small blind, receives four cards dealt face down one at a time. Action is initiated on the first betting round by the player to the immediate left of the big blind, who has the options of discarding his hand, calling the big blind, or raising an equivalent amount. The action moves clock-wise in this manner until all players have exercised their options and all bets have been called. On all subsequent betting rounds, the first active player to the left of the dealer button starts the action.

AFTER THE FIRST ROUND OF BETTING IS COMPLETED

Three cards - referred to as "the flop" - are turned face up simultaneously in the center of the table, and another round of betting occurs. The next two board cards- specified as either fourth street (turn card) and fifth street (river card) are then dealt face up one at a time in the center of the table, with a betting round after each card. As noted previously, these board cards are community cards and are shared by all active players in the hand.

At the showdown, the player who makes the best five card poker hand for High or Low, using any combination of three of the five cards on the board (community) and using any two card combination of their hole cards, wins the pot.

RANKING OF HANDS:

The following are a ranking of high hands in order from best to worst:

(1) Royal Flush (6) Straight
(2) Straight Flush (7) Three of a kind
(3) Four of a kind (8) Two pairs
(4) Full House (9) One pair
(5) Flush (10) High card

The following are sampling of low hands ranking from best (#1, the nuts) to worst (#10, will rarely win low):

(1) 5 4 3 2 A (6) 7 6 5 4 2
(2) 6 4 3 2 A (7) 8 4 3 2 A
(3) 6 5 4 3 2 (8) 8 6 4 2 A
(4) 7 5 4 3 A (9) 8 7 6 5 3
(5) 7 5 4 3 2 (10) 8 7 6 5 4

Note that a low hand is always ranked from its highest card downwards. So for example, hand #2 is known as a 'Six-low' because its highest card is a six. Hand #5 is a 'Seven-low', and hand #10 is an 'Eight-low.'

In poker slang, you distinguish between close low hands by going further down the ranks, so hand #2 would be called a 'Six-Four low', which beats hand #3 a "Six-Five low."