Again, the purpose in Omaha poker is to have either the best high hand, or the best low hand. Each pot will be split equally between these two hands, and in the event of no qualifying low hand, the pot will be awarded to the high hand.
Building a Hand
Omaha Hi Lo poker follows a similar dealing structure to standard Omaha poker:
- Each player will be dealt four personal cards, known as hole cards
- The table will be dealt five shared community cards, that all players can use to build their hands
Each player must use exactly two of their personal cards combined with three of the five community cards to make their hands.
Players can use different hole and community cards for their high and low hand, but the ratio of community & hole cards must remain the same. Aces can be used as either a high or a low card, depending on which hand you’re building.
Most variations of Hi Lo poker employ an “8-or-better” qualifier for the low hand.
This means that in order to be eligible to win the “low” half of the pot, all cards in the hand must be ranked eight or less.
The Deal & Pre Flop
For this example, let’s imagine we’re playing $5 / $10 Hi Lo. This means that the small blind, the player directly to the dealer’s left, bets $5 and the big blind, seated to the left of the small blind, bets $10.
Each player is then dealt four cards face down.
The first round of betting beings with the player located directly to the left of the big blind. Players can then call the big blind of $10, raise the $10 to whatever amount (if no limit) or the value of the pot at the time (which in this case would be $15) or the player can fold their cards.
After bets are in, the dealer will flip over three community cards referred to as “the flop”.
The first active player to the left of the dealer begins the next betting round. That player can either check (no bet), bet or fold. The players next to the first bettor can either check (if the person before them checked), call (match previous bet), raise the bet to their liking or fold.
After the post-flop round of betting is complete, the dealer flips over a fourth card, deemed “the turn”, and another round of betting ensues.
The same bet type options as in the post-flop betting round are available to each active player.
Whoever is remaining in the hand gets to see the fifth and final community card – “the river” – and enjoys one final round of betting.
After the post-river round of betting is complete, all remaining players reveal their hole cards. The person with the best Omaha Hi hand wins half the pot, and the person with the best Omaha Lo hand wins half the pot. This can be the same person and when the same person wins both pots, it’s referred to as “scooping” the pot.
If no player qualifies for the Lo win, the player with the best Hi hand wins the entire pot.