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How to play Omaha Hi Lo

Among the most popular poker variants is Omaha Hi-Lo, which is played by many poker players around the globe. In addition to No Limit Hold’em you can be pretty sure that you will find some Omaha Hi-Lo tables at any of the popular online poker rooms.

Even though it’s such an extremely popular card game, you would have good reason to believe that there would be many poker players that have mastered the game, but this far from being true.

But not unlike other poker variants, the game of Omaha Hi-Lo is complex with many subtleties that are frequently overlooked especially by novice players that fail to recognize them, and due to this Omaha Hi-Lo is played by lots of bad players that have no clue about Omaha strategy.

Here’s a Omaha Hi-Lo strategy guide that I am sure players who are new to the game will find useful, so that they will be able to learn the subtleties of the game at a quicker rate in order to exploit the many bad Omaha Hi-Lo players at the tables.

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Pre-Flop Strategy

Your pre-flop selection of playable starting hands is a crucial aspect in Omaha Hi-Lo. This game tends to attract the action junkies because there are so many various potential draws that are possible. This is because every hand has six times the number of hand combinations when compared to a hold’em hand.

With so many possibilities to make a big hand, the game differs to No-Limit Hold’em in a big way in that you can’t limp in with junk hands trying to disguise a hand because Omaha Hi-Lo is as much about nut peddling as it is anything else.

To illustrate this with an example, if you have a two pair hand in Texas Hold’em, that’s considered a relatively big hand, and you would almost always have the best hand, happily getting your stack in the middle. However, in Omaha Hi-Lo games, a two pair hand is vulnerable to better hands like a straight and a flush, and with so many potential draws out there, hence why you always want to be drawing to the nuts.

Generally, the Omaha players who adopt tight starting hand requirements are typically the winners in this game. In Omaha Hi-Lo hands that seem strong, for example, A-K-Q-J double suited, which is a good start hand in the Omaha Hi poker variant, is really only a weak Omaha Hi-Lo hand, since you haven’t got much chance to win the low part of the pot.

Premium starting hands in Omaha Hi-Lo are hands including A-2-3-4, A-A-2-3, A-A-2-5, and 2-3-4-5, although the last hand you would want to fold on non ace flops.

In addition, starting hands such as K-Q-2-5 and A-2-K-J are still fairly good starting hands, because they will enable you to win the high as well as the low side of the pot, although such a hand is considered as speculative.

Omaha Post Flop Strategy

In Omaha the aim would be to “scoop” an entire pot, not just half, with both the highest and lowest hands. For example, if you have A-2-6-7 and the flop is 3-4-5, you can win the high as well as the low side of this hand's pot. You flopped nut low straight with A-2-3-4-5 as well as nut high straight with 3-4-5-6-7 so obviously you’re in a fantastic position making it possible to scoop the whole pot.

There is no low to win half of the pot, that is unless all the other suited cards are below an eight, and flushes or straights will not win the low side of the pot. But an  flush with Ace high has the potential of winning the high side of the pot and the pot's low side as well.

Conclusion

In summary, when playing Omaha Hi-Lo poker games online or live, the aim is scooping the pot, because in a split pot scenario, you typically are only winning a bit more than what you had invested into the pot. So by playing a tight pre-flop Omaha Hi-Lo strategy, it will allow you to exploit the weaker players who play the game.