Poker is definitely an exciting and engaging game, but sometimes you want to play something a little different. But you don’t need to abandon poker to add more variety to your card games. Poker, itself, has spawned so many variants, that you’ll have plenty to choose from. Be it games like 5 Card Draw, or 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo or even Omaha, you can try to master any of these variants and entertain yourself to no end. If you don’t know any of these variants, and find yourself confused, then don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Today we’ll go over Omaha Hi/Lo Rules, and you’ll find yourself playing-maybe even mastering-the game in no time.
Omaha Hi/Lo is a variant of regular poker, even Omaha, and is also called Omaha Eight (Omaha/8). One of the basic features of this game that sets it apart from other variants and gives it its name is the Showdown. At the end of this game, the pot is split between two players; one being the player who has the High Hand and the other player is the one who’s made the Low Hand that’s most qualifying.
Apart from this unique feature, there are other basic elements that are important if you want to play this game successfully. Just like regular Omaha games, Hi/Lo games are played with a deck of 52 cards, and between 2-9 players. All of the players are dealt four hole cards that they must keep private. Other than that, five community cards are dealt face up on the table. The players must use these three of these community cards and two of their hole cards to build their hands. Players that build such a hand, which is a winning hand according to poker hand rankings, win half the pot. Whereas, the other half of the pot is won by the player who create a Low Hand according to Omaha Hi/Lo Rules. Players can use the same cards to build a high or low hand. Also, in case there is no player who’s built a low hand, the player who’s built the high hand takes the entire pot. The same player can also build both hands and win the entire pot. Also, Aces count as both high and low cards.
Now that we’ve understood the fundamental aspects of the game, we can take a look at the Omaha Eight Rules.
Basic Rules of Omaha Hi/Lo:
The rules of Omaha Hi/Lo are slightly different from other poker games.
- Betting: the game consists of four rounds of betting. The betting also moves around the table in a clockwise fashion. The betting begins with the player sitting next to the dealer button. Such a dealer button moves one place to the left after each hand.
- Blinds: before the game begins, two players sitting to the left of the dealer have to post ‘blind bets’. These bets are called ‘blinds’ because they place bets before any of the cards are revealed. This is done to ensure that there is some money in the pot, in order to sustain the initial steps of the game. The player immediately seated to the left of the dealer is posts what is called as the ‘small blind’, whereas the person seated to their left post the ‘big blind’.
- Pre-Flop: all the players receive their four hole cards that only they can see. After this, the betting round begins by the first player who is seated to the left of the big blind. This player is called Under the Gun, and can do one of the following actions:
Call: placing an amount equal to the big blind,
Raise: place an increased bet, and
Fold: give up their cards and exit the game.
As the round is about to end, it will come back to the big blind. At this step the big blind can simply ‘check’ which entails staying in the game without having to do anything. However, if any other player has raised the betting amount, then the big blind can call, fold or re-raise, which is raising on the raised amount.
- The Flop: three community cards are dealt on the table. These cards are placed face-up on the table, and can be used by the players to build their hands. Another round of betting begins at this stage.
- The Turn: a fourth community card is dealt to the players, and placed face-up on the table. The third round of betting commences.
- The River: the fifth and final community card is dealt face-up on the table. This is followed by the final round of betting.
- The Showdown: at this stage, all the hands are revealed by the players, if there is more than one player in the game. The player that has the highest hand wins one half of the pot, whereas one with the lowest qualifying hand wins the other half. While the same player can win both hands, in case of the absence of a low hand, the player with the high hand wins the entire pot.
One strategic tip to remember is to notice the difference in profit between winning half the pot and taking it all. This margin greatly affects your bankroll. Experienced players recognize this difference, and aim to play both the high and low hands themselves. In order to do this effectively, it is important to keep your strategy in mind while playing your starting hands. So, sometimes it works better to fold, rather than to play to win only half the pot. Thus, it’s very important to pay attention to your cards and not get confused into thinking you have a shot at winning when you don’t.
Now that we’ve gone over all the basic concepts and rules of the game, you are ready to give it a shot, yourself. With these rules in hand, you have a chance at winning a hi/lo poker game. So, don’t waste time, and come join us at Spartan Poker, and play poker online!