Omaha Hi/Lo Rules
Omaha Hi Lo is a community card game just like Texas Holdem and Omaha Hi. Due to its nature, Omaha is excellently suited to Hi/Lo split play, which means that Omaha Hi/Lo is often more popular online these days than the Hi only version.
Here are the rules in brief:
Omaha Hi/Lo is a fixed position game just like Texas Holdem, which means there’s a dealer button that goes around the table in a clock-wise direction, moving one position to the left with each hand. The dealer button determines the position of the SB and the BB. The person on the immediate left of the dealer button is the SB, the one on the immediate left of the SB is the BB.
The SB and the BB are compulsory bets, which players need to make without being able to take a look at their hole cards first.The posting of the blinds is followed by the deal. Each player picks up 4 pocket cards (cards that only they can see) and the preflop betting round begins. Here’s where the main difference between Omaha Hi and Omaha Hi Lo comes into the equation. Determining the value of a hand is much trickier here, because of the high/low split.
In Omaha Hi/Lo the highest poker hand only takes one half of the pot, that is if there’s a qualifying low hand present at the table. If there is no qualifying low hand, then the high hand takes the entire pot. A qualifying low hand has to be made up of 5 cards of which none can be higher than 8. Your low cards cannot be paired. The best possible low hand is the A,2,3,4,5 also known as the “bicycle” (the A can obviously be played low too). A problem raised by Omaha Hi/Lo is the accurate determining of one’s low hand. If there are two qualifying low hands involved in a pot, obviously, the lower of the two takes the half pot.
An easy technique to determine the strength of your low hand is to read it out as a 5-digit number, starting with the highest card and finishing with the lowest. The hand which yields the lower 5-digit number is the better low hand. Here’s an example: A,3,4,6,7 vs A,2,3,4,8. In this case, you have 76,431 vs 84,321 which means the first hand is the better low hand.
Some hands, like the bicycle are excellent low hands as well as high hands. Such hands will probably end up “scooping” the pot, that is, you’ll take down both the high and the low half of it. You do not have to make you low and high hands using the very same cards, however, both for the low and for the high hand, you’re required to use exactly 2 cards from your pocket and exactly 3 cards off the board.
Keep these rules in mind when you hit the preflop betting round. The first betting round is followed by the flop. The dealer burns a card and then deals 3 community cards onto the table. Again, very important: players will make their low and high hands using exactly two cards from their pockets and exactly three off the board. The high and the low hands don’t have to be made with the same 5 cards. The flop is followed by yet another betting round, and the 4th community card, the turn. The turn is followed by betting again, and the 5th community card called the “river” is dealt. The post river betting round is followed by the showdown, where the fate of the pot is decided.
In online poker, the pot is raked before it is awarded to the winner(s). To limit the losses you incur on the rake, sign up for a rakeback deal like the Ongame rakeback or the Absolute poker rakeback. The rakeback Full Tilt poker, one of the most popular online poker rooms, offers is a 27% rebate.