The Rules of Omaha Hi-Lo
Omaha Hi-Lo is one of the most difficult poker variations, but can also be one of the most exciting and rewarding. It is a game that requires skill as well as patience, as it takes time to master Omaha Hi-Lo strategy. What is it that makes this game more difficult than other poker variations? The fact that the pot is split at the end of the game between the players that have the highest and lowest qualifying hands gives you a lot more to think about while you are playing this game.
Omaha Hi-Lo is played by regular Omaha rules, aside from the fact that two players split the pot at the end of the game. So if you want to play Omaha Hi-Lo you first need to master the basic rules of Omaha poker. Each player is dealt four private cards, known as “Hole” or “Pocket” cards. Based upon these cards a round of betting takes place in which players must decide to fold, call or raise.
In the next round of the game, called the “Flop”, three community cards are dealt face up on the table. Community cards are shared by all of the players. Once again, a round of betting ensues and all players that did not fold in the first round decide to fold, call or raise. A fourth community card is dealt in the “Turn” round and players bet once again. Finally, a fifth community card is dealt in the “River” round and a final round of betting occurs.
Once all the cards have been dealt and the final round of betting has taken place all of the players that remain in the game show their cards in the Showdown and the winners are determined. The players with the highest and lowest qualifying hands win the game and split the pot.
The highest qualifying hand is a typical poker hand. Poker hands are ranked from highest to lowest as follows: royal flush, straight flush, 4-of-a-kind, full house, flush, straight, 3-of-a-kind, 2 pair and 1 pair. The lowest qualifying hand must not fall into any of the usual poker hand categories. It must consist of 5 cards of different numerical values less than 8. Aces can be included. For instance, a hand of A-2-4-5-7 would qualify. A low qualifying hand may not be a flush or a straight and may not contain any pairs.
Omaha Hi-Lo can get complicated, as there is a lot to think about. Will you have the highest hand or the lowest hand? However, once you get into the swing of things Omaha Hi-Lo can also be one of the most thrilling poker variations to play.