Conveniently for those who know Omaha High, Omaha Hi-Lo is played according to almost identical rules.
The only time the High and Hi-Lo differ rules-wise is at the showdown.
Omaha Hi-Lo, also known as Omaha High-Low, O8 and Omaha 8-or-Better, is one of the most popular and entertaining forms of poker in the world.
Because this article only details the differences between Omaha High and Omaha Hi-Lo, if you aren’t familiar with the rules and game play of Omaha High, you’re going to want to read this article:
Assuming you understand how to play Omaha High, let’s look at what distinguishes the two games.
Omaha Hi-Lo is a “split pot” game, meaning that at showdown, the pot is divided in half, with one half being awarded to the winning best hand, and the other half to the best qualifying “low hand.”
Read More on Omaha Strategy Here!
The winning high hand in Omaha Hi-Lo is identical to that of Omaha High. There are no qualification requirements for the high, meaning there will always be a winning high hand.
Low hands must qualify to be eligible for winning the low half of the pot.
Board: 4♥ 5♣ 7♥ Q♠ A♦
Hand 1: A♥ 2♠ K♥ K♠
Hand 2: A♠ 3♠ Q♥ Q♦
High Winner: Hand 2 wins with three-of-a-kind queens: Q♥ Q♦ Q♠ A♦ 7♥
Low Winner: Hand 1 wins with a 7-5-4-2 Low: 7♥ 5♣ 4♥ 2♠ A♥
Board: K♥ 3♦ 4♦ 8♠ 2♦
Hand 1: A♥ 2♠ Q♦ K♠
Hand 2: 6♥ 7♥ T♦ J♦
High Winner: Hand 2 wins with a flush, jack-high: 2♦ 3♦ 4♦ T♦ J♦
Low Winner: Hand 2 Wins with a 7-6 Low: 7♥ 6♥ 4♦ 3♦ 2♦
In this pot, Hand 2 scoops with the best high and the best low. Many players will think that Hand 1 will win the low because A-2 is a lot lower than 6-7.
Unfortunately, Hand 1 pairs his 2 on the river, meaning he has to use the 8 as his fifth card to make a qualifying Low hand. Even though the majority of Hand 2’s cards are higher, Hand 2 is able to use the three lowest cards on the board, making for a low of only seven-high.