Optimal Strategies for Omaha Hi Lo Poker

Posted by Evans Clinchy, February 10, 2015

If you’ve spent some time dabbling in various poker games, you’ve no doubt learned the basics of Omaha – you get four hole cards, share five community cards, and form the best five-card hand possible using two from your hand and three from the board. But Omaha Hi Lo is a much trickier game. You’re playing for a split pot, with half the money going to the best hand and the other half to the lowest five cards (with 8 being the highest possible value of those 5 cards).

Omaha Hi Lo Poker

It’s a complex game to be sure, but if you spend some time brushing up on Omaha Hi Lo advanced strategy, you might find that playing the game at the top level is a lot of fun – and mighty profitable, too! Professional poker player Sammy Farha has won two Omaha Hi Lo bracelets at the World Series of Poker, earning almost $900,000. You could follow in his footsteps.

Here are a few tips on playing Omaha Hi Lo like the pros.


Play for the Nuts

The golden rule of high-level Omaha Hi Lo is this: if you’re in the pot, you want to have the best possible hand. If you flopped a draw to the lowest possible straight, don’t bother sticking around. Your hand might get there, but you still could lose to the higher straight, wasting a whole lot of money in the process. Since everyone’s holding four cards, there’s that much more of a chance that everyone’s got something decent, so you shouldn’t mess around with suboptimal holdings. Even if you’re holding A-3 and thinking you’ve got a good shot at winning the low half of the pot, someone else is likely to have A-2, especially at a full table. Countless players have gone broke in Omaha Hi Lo with the second-best hand.


Embrace Drawing Hands

By the showdown you want to have the best hand, but on earlier streets you should learn to love playing with a draw. If you have K-5-4-3 and the flop comes A-2-J, you don’t have anything yet, as you can only use two cards from your hand, so you haven’t made a straight or a low. However, if the turn brings any three, four, five, six, seven, or eight, then, all of a sudden you’re in business. You might even actually be a favorite post-flop against an opponent with a made hand, even though all you currently have is king high! Bet with confidence.


Even Made Hands Are Risky

Keep in mind, though, that even if you’ve made your hand, you’re still not bulletproof. You might hit your straight, but your opponent could still have outs for a flush. Maybe you turned the flush, but the guy to your left with trips still has redraws to hit a full house. You could have the nut low with A-2, but if the river brings a deuce, then your low is “counterfeited” and your opponents with A-3 will “suddenly” have you beat. Perhaps your low will indeed be the nuts but someone else at the table also has the same hand, so instead of winning half the pot, you just get a quarter. Bottom line: Even with a great hand, you might be in trouble.


Be Ready to Gamble

The beauty – and at the same time, terror – of Omaha Hi Lo is that it’s a game of variance. When you’re risking a lot of money on drawing hands and your opponents are doing the same, you’re going to see some crazy swings in luck. You might find yourself winning and losing more in a single session than you ever did playing Texas Hold’em. But hey, that’s part of the game’s appeal. If you’re ready to get in there and gamble, Omaha Hi Lo might be the right game for you.


Play Omaha Hi Lo Poker at Titan Poker. Download and get into the action today!

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