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Omaha hi-lo split-8 or better

 (Showdown in Omaha hi-lo. The left player wins the pot with nuts 5-4-3-2-1. The right player wins the pot with the strongest hand with a fives full of jacks, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Poker_Omaha_hilo_showdown1.jpg)

Best starting hand in Omaha hi-lo (Best starting hand in Omaha hi-lo, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Poker_Omaha_Beispielhand2.jpg)

In Omaha hi-lo 8 or better (or simply Omaha/8), each player plays both a high hand (the highest hand) and a low hand (value of up to 8 height to be taken into account), and the pot is divided into two for the high and low (which may be the same person). For a hand count as low, a player must have a 8-7-6-5-4 or less strong (hence name “eight or better”). Some casinos count the hand from a height of 9, but this is rare. Each player can use two of the four cards to make a high hand and two of his four cards for a low hand. If no one qualifies for a low hand, the high hand wins the entire pot. This poker is usually played in fixed limit, although pot limit Omaha/8 is increasingly popular. Some online poker tournaments offer the no-limit Omaha/8.

The summary above explanation shows us the complexity of this game, so here are some examples to clarify. The table below shows a board of five cards at the end of the game, each player must reveal his hand to see which has the best high hand and low:

Board: 2 5 10 7 8
Player Hand High Low
Alan A 4 5 K 5 5 A 10 8 7 5 4 2 A
Bryan A 3 10 10 10 10 10 8 7 7 5 3 2 A
Chris 7 9 J Q J 10 9 8 7
N’est pas qualifié
Derek 4 6 K K 8 7 6 5 4 7 6 5 4 2
Eve A 3 6 9 10 9 8 7 6 7 5 3 2 A

During this gives Chris wins the half high pot with a jack-high straight, while Bryan and Eve share the half low pot (thus getting a quarter of the pot) with 7-5-3-2-A.

Some remarks on the hands in Omaha/8:

  • So that any person can qualify for low, there must be at least three common cards of different rank and less than 8. For example, a board composed of K-8-J-7-5 makes a low as possible (the best hand would consist of A-2, A-3 comes next, then 2-3, etc.). A board with K-8-J-8-5 does not qualify for a low (since the low hand would be J-8-5-2-A, which is not low enough). Statistically, about 60% of the time a low is possible.
  • The low hands split the pot often, as straights, but rarely full. Theoretically it is possible to earn 1/14th of pot (which is incredibly rare). To win a quarter of pot is rather common (we say “getting quartered”). One of the most daunting aspect in low is the concept of “counterfeiting”. For example, if a player has 2-3 and two more cards in hand, and the flop is A-6-7, that player flopped the “nuts in low.” However, if a 2 or 1 comes on the turn or river, the hand is “counterfeited” and the nut in low is lost (his hand is still pretty good but 3-4, 3-5 and 4-5 is better ). This is why a hand with an additional low value is interesting to “protect” the nuts in low. Thus, if the player has 2-3-4, his hand is protected because if a 2 or 1 comes, it still has the lowest possible hand. To lose the nuts in this example, have to be drawn a 2 and a 3, or 2 and 4, or a 4 and a 4 on the turn and river (and it is a player with, respectively 4-5, 3-5 and 2-5 that gets nuts), by a lack of luck. Similarly it is better to have a drawing hand for nuts in low while remaining protected by the nuts. For example, it would be the case if a player has A-2-3 on a flop 7-8-9; any card under 7 gives the player the best possible low.
  • When four or five low cards appear on the board, it becomes difficult to read his final hand correctly. For example, on the board

2 6 A 5 8, the hand 2 4 5 K plays a 6-5-4-2-A (using his 2-4 in hand and A-5-6 from the board, or 4-5 and A-2-6, which is the same).

  • Having three or four cards of the same rank is very bad. In fact, the worst hand of the game is

2 2 2 2. The only possible combination is 2-2, it is impossible to make a low. Moreover, since there are more than 2 in the game, it is impossible to make three of a kind or a full house of two. Anyone with an identical card with the community card gets a better pair. Similarly, having four cards of the same color reduces the chance of a flush. To start with four cards of the same color makes an impossible flush. Computer simulations show that the best starting hand in Omaha is A-A-K-K (double color). Anappreciated hand in Omaha is A-A-J-10 (double color), with a better chance to make a nut straight. In hi-lo, the best starting hand is A-A-2-3 (double color).

  • Hands to avoid are those with average ranks because they often share the low pot, and it improves in poor pairs and three of a kind, in small flushes and intermediate straights, which can be very expensive. The fours of a kind are the worst hands in omaha, as opposed to other types of poker, where it is considered extremely strong.
  • Low hands from the best to the worst: 5-4-3-2-A (the wheel), 6-4-3-2-A, 6-5-3-2-A, 6-5-4-2-A, …, 8-7-6-5-4. Low hands can be read as numbers from 54321 to 87654 (excluding any double digit). The smallest number corresponds to the best hand. Example: 2♠ 3♣ 5♥ 6♥ 7♥ is smaller than A♠ 2♣ 3♥ 4♣ 8♠


Sometimes the Omaha hi-lo is played with a qualification for the high hand 9 or 7 instead of 8. It can be played with 5 cards in hand instead of 4. In this case, it is always with two cards in hands and three from the board that has to create the final hand.

In the “Courchevel” when betting before the flop after receiving his cards, a common first card is placed face up on the board, so that players can bet with their cards in hand. Then the other two cards are placed on the board, and then the game continues as in Omaha.

The pot limit Omaha can be played with more than four cards in hand, the most common variant being with six cards and is widespread in UK casinos, the variant with five cards is popular in Paris circles (called Omaha 5) southeast of the United States (the big O).

Mastering Omaha hi-lo is an obligation for all the world’s best poker players because of its presence in the rotation of five variants of HORSE (Hold’em, Omaha hi-lo, razz, stud, stud hi-lo ).

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