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Omaha Hi/Low: Fundamental Overview

Omaha Hi-Lo (also known as Omaha 8 or better) is often times seen as one of the most difficult but popular poker variations. It’s a game that, even more than normal Omaha poker, invites play from all levels of players. This is the chief reason why a once irrelevant variation, has increased in acceptance so rapidly.

Omaha/8 starts exactly like a normal game of Omaha. 4 cards are given out to each player. A round of betting ensues where players can bet, check, or drop out. Three cards are dealt out, this is called the flop. A further sequence of wagering ensues. After all the players have in turn called or folded, an additional card is revealed on the turn. Another sequence of betting happens at which point the river card is revealed. The players will need to make the strongest high and low 5 card hands using the board and hole cards.

This is the point where a few entrants often get baffled. Unlike Hold’em, in which the board can make up everyone’s hand, in Omaha hi-low the player has to use precisely three cards from the board, and exactly two cards from their hand. No more, not a single card less. Contrary to regular Omaha, there are 2 ways a pot can be won: the "high hand" or the "low hand."

A high hand is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the best possible hand out of everyone’s, whether that is a straight, flush, full house. It’s the same concept in nearly every poker game.

The low hand is more difficult, but really free’s up the action. When deciding on a low hand, straights and flushes don’t count. the lowest hand is the worst hand that could be put together, with the worst being made up of A-2-3-4-5. Because straights and flushes do not count, A-2-3-4-5 is the lowest value hand possible. The low hand is any five card hand (unpaired) with an 8 and smaller. The lower hand takes half of the pot, as does the high hand. When there’s no lower hand presented, the higher hand wins the entire pot.

It may seem complicated at the start, after a few hands you will be able to pick up on the basic nuances of the game simply enough. Seeing as you have players betting for the low and wagering for the high, and since such a large number of cards are in play, Omaha 8 or better provides an exciting assortment of betting choices and because you have many individuals shooting for the high hand, as well as many trying for the low hand. If you love a game with a plethora of outs and actions, it’s worth your time to compete in Omaha hi-low.

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