How to Play Omaha Hi Lo

Omaha High LowLearn how to play Omaha Hi Lo. Similar to the Omaha Poker game, it has small changes that make all the difference in this game.

Let’s say that you already know the poker hand rankings, so we can start going through the Omaha High Low poker game playing. We recommend you also practice the game online, for free, before playing for real money. Download a poker client now and register a free account for practicing.

Omaha High Low index

The highest ranked hand is easy to identify, but what are the conditions to also have a low hand payed with half of the pot? For a low hand in Omaha Hi Lo to be paid must reach the final showdown, and it must be a hand formed from 5 different cards (as in different values, no pairs allowed), all of them must be no higher than 8, and it must be the lowest between the participating players. Also, remember that for low hands flushes and straights do not count (these rules apply only for low hands), therefore if you have an A, 2, 3, 4, 5 hand you will have the lowest hand possible in Omaha Hi Lo. If more players go for the low hand, and the other one has an A, 2, 3, 4, 6 – this player will lose in the face of first hand, as it will be considered in this situation for the higher card in the component of the hand (5 is the highest card in first hand, 6 is the highest card in the second hand). If both hands would have the same highest card, in order to decide the winner, the next value to be considered is the next smallest card in the hand, and so on. In order to go for a low hand, you must have at least 3 cards between the community cards of 8 and less, and at least 2 cards in the hole cards of 8 and less. In the contrary case, a low hand is not possible.

Playing Omaha High is made of at least 2 players. At most online poker rooms, you will find tables of 6-10 players. Each poker hand starts with the the posting of the blinds (small and big blind), at the left of the dealer (the dealer has a button labeled D). The dealer and blinds are moved after each hand around the table, clockwise.

A hand of Omaha High Low is made, as in all the other poker variations, of up to four betting rounds. After placing the blinds (blind bets), each player receives 4 cards, faced down, also called hole cards. Through the next rounds, up to 5 community cards are dealt, face up, that each player can use in conjunction with any 2 hole cards, in order to get the best 5 card hand possible or the lowest poker hand possible. Each round is usually followed by a betting round. At the final stage, concluding we have at least 2 players left after the 5 community cards have been dealt and bets equalized, we enter the final phase, the showdown, where players show their cards and the best hand wins the pot, along with the lowest hand if any is qualified; if no low hand is marked as a winning, all the pot goes to the players with the highest hand. This would be the summary of a poker hand play in Omaha 8. For details, please go through the below step by step guide.

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Sitting down

First, in order to play poker, you must pick up a table and choose to sit down. After sitting down, you must wait for the big blind to arrive at your position in order to start playing. The big blind gets to your position naturally, as the dealer button moves clockwise around the table after each hand. Also, for online poker you will get the option to enter sooner in the game (without waiting for the blind to get to your position), by posting the second big blind.


Each hand of Omaha 8 starts with 2 blinds. Blinds are some preliminary bets made by 2 players in the close vicinity in the left side of the dealer. These bets will stimulate the action at the table, as players will be having a pot to win even before the cards are dealt. Once the blinds have been posted, the dealer starts dealing the cards to all participating players, starting with the one in his left (who posted the small blind), and then to the second player in his left (who posted the big blind), and so on (clockwise).

First round

Once the blinds are in place, the dealer distributes to all players 4 cards faced down, called the hole cards. In online poker, all cards will be face down, only yours will be face up (but don’t worry, because only you can see your cards, to the other players the cards will appear face down). All the other players sitting at the table have a similar view.

Each player starts with 4 cards, and then 5 cards are placed face-up on the table over 3 different rounds, called the Community Cards. The 5 cards in the center of the table are common to all players, and they must try to make the best possible hand from only 2 hole cards they posses (but any 2) and only 3 of the Community Cards (but any 3 cards). No other combination is allowed. For example, if you have three Kings and card of another value, and you get in the community cards other King, that doesn’t mean your best hand is 4 of a kind, but 3 of a kind (remember you can use only 2 of your hole cards, not 3, not 1 not 4). As a poker hand is formed of 5 cards, only the best hand from 5 cards will be considered, along with the lowest (conditions apply).

In the first round, players must take part at betting in order to continue playing. There are several sizes of bets, that depend on the game structure, but these are explained for convenience in other articles: limit, pot limit and no limit poker.

Betting in the first round starts at the left of the player who posted the big blind (the position called “under the gun”). This player has 3 options: fold (does not bet and does not continue the game, and the cards are removed from the game), call (match the preceding bet size – the big blind), or raise (places a bet of higher value than the preceding bet). In online poker, these options are available as buttons/dialog boxes you click to show your intended action. The next player (left – clockwise), has the same options, and same goes for all players sitting at the table.

If everyone folds, and the same happens with the person who posted the small blind, the pot goes to the one who posted the big blind. If there is a raise, each player who chooses to continue, must either call the total bet or raise. The players that posted the blinds have the same options, but their bets are made keeping in mind that blinds also count as part of their bets. If the betting reaches the person who posted the big blind, and there have been no raises, this player has the options to fold (not recommended in this particular situation, as continuing with check doesn’t cost a thing), check (let the blind as the calling bet for other players) or raise.

The Flop

Once the betting in first round equalized (all players either folded or matched the total betting), the dealer deals three cards face up, to the center of the table. These first 3 cards, part of the community cards, are what is known as the flop.

From this point, players take part at second round of betting. In this round, the betting starts with the first active player (still participating in the game), to the left of the dealer. This player has again three options: fold (not recommended in this situation as it doesn’t cost a thing to check), check (continue without making a bet), bet (make a bet). These options are available for all players around the table, as long as all previous players are checking. If any of the players bet, the next players have the options to: fold, call (match the preceding bet) or raise (increase the preceding bet).

The Turn

Once the Flop round (second betting round) equalized (players either folded or matched the total betting of the round), the dealer deals one more card face up to the center of the table. This card, along with the other 3 cards dealt during the flop, are community cards and are what is know as the turn.

At this point, we take part again at the same type of betting round as during the second round of betting (the flop), with the first active player from the left of the dealer. All players go through the same options of betting as previously explained.

The River

Once the Turn round (third betting round) equalized (players either folded or matched the total betting of the round), the dealer deals one more card face up to the center of the table. This is the last card to be dealt, and all 5 cards face up on the table are the community cards, also called as the river.

The fourth and final round of betting takes place. Again, the betting starts with the first active player to the left of the dealer. The betting proceeds exactly the same as in the previous rounds.

The Showdown

Once the betting for the fourth round (the river) is equalized, the betting is over. Last step of the game is the showdown, where remaining active players show their cards and the best hand formed from a combination of any 2 hole cards of each player’s hole cards and any 3 of the community cards, wins. The holder of the winning poker hand gets the pot (bets added over the 4 rounds of betting). If there is also a low hand in place (a 5 cards hand formed with cards of value under 8, all cards of different values), the pot will be split half to the highest hand winner, and half to the lowest hand winner. For conditions of the low hand to be possible please review the beginning of this article.

The showdown is also a process that takes place in a specific order. Players do not show their cards in the same time, but starting with the last player who placed a bet/raised in the previous round. If the next active player has a better hand or ties this one, he must show the cards (or in online poker the software will do this automatically). However, if the next active player does not have a better hand, he has 2 options: show his cards (if he wishes to do so), or get rid of the cards (without showing, also called mucking cards).

In online poker you don’t have to worry about misreading your hand or accidentally throwing away your winning cards, the poker application will check all cards automatically, and if you have a winning hand combination, it will make sure you are awarded the pot.

In order to reach the showdown, there must be at least 2 active players left after the river. However, if someone places a bet / raises during the river, but no one calls it, the pot goes to this player, marked as the winner, and there is no showdown.

If a player runs out of chips before the end of the hand, there will be formed 2 side pots, and in online poker the software will award the appropriate winnings to each player.

Determining the winning hand at Omaha Hi Lo (or Omaha 8), the combination of the 5 cards must include 2 hole cards from the player (any 2 cards) and 3 cards from the board (any 3 cards).

If at the showdown, more than one player have a ranked hand as the best (equal hands), the pot will be split among the winning players.

Don’t forget: practice for free the Omaha Hi Lo variation just by simply downloading the poker software and opening a free account (regular registration without depositing any real money).

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