Thanks to the many similarities between the games, fans of Texas Hold’em generally take to the game of Omaha pretty easily.
Like Hold’em, Omaha sees players receive hole cards which only they can use, in combination with a spread of five shared community cards.
The key difference between Omaha and Texas Hold’em lies with the hole cards each player receives. While Hold’em players are each dealt two hole cards, and may use as many or as few of them as they wish to create their strongest hand, Omaha players receive four hole cards and must use exactly two of them.
But what is it that makes Omaha Hi/Lo different from Omaha? Not to mention one of the most action-packed and fascinating poker games available? Read on to find out!
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The similarities between Omaha and Texas Hold’em center around the structure of the games. Each has a pre-flop, flop, turn and river phase, and each uses small and big blinds to get the action started pre-flop. But the differences between Omaha, Texas Hold’em and Omaha Hi/Lo give each one its own unique flavor.
As mentioned above, in all Omaha games players must use exactly two of their hole cards, along with three cards from the board, to create their final five-card poker hand.
Another way that Omaha games traditional differ from Texas Hold’em is that they are usually played as pot-limit games, as opposed to no-limit. Omaha Hi/Lo is also often played as a limit game.
But the big difference to be aware of when it comes to Omaha Hi/Lo specifically, is that it is a split pot game. This means that the strongest traditional poker hand will be awarded half the pot, while the other half will go to the player remaining who has the worst poker hand!
If you’re one of those players who it seems is always getting dealt the worst hand at the table, then this news should be a cause for celebration! But before you get carried away, let’s take a quick look at a few rules any hand must abide by in order to win the low half of the pot.
Not every single Omaha Hi/Lo pot gets split between high and low hands, because there will be occasions where no low hand qualifies. But what does ‘qualifying’ mean, exactly?
For a low hand to be eligible:
Don’t forget that any Omaha hand has to use precisely three board cards, so if there are not three different community cards ranked 8 or below, a low hand will not be possible for anyone.
This 8-high qualifier has helped give rise to one of Omaha Hi/Lo’s nicknames, ‘O8’, but it’s also known as Omaha 8, Omaha Split, Omaha Eight-or-Better or Omaha 8/b.
With seven cards from which to select your best and worst five-card poker hands, it is possible to make different hands to win the high and the low halves of the pot. Winning both is known as a ‘scoop’, and is the ideal scenario for any player!
It’s worth noting that it’s also possible to win both halves of the pot using the same combination of cards, because flushes and straights do not disqualify a low hand. Additionally, aces count as high for the high hand, and low for the low hand.
Therefore a hand like A-2-3-4-5 could win the high half (with a straight), but also win the low half (with an unbeatable 5-high). Or, a hand such as A-3-5-6-7, all of hearts, could also potentially win both halves: with a flush for the high half, and a seven-high for the low half.
Omaha Hi/Lo promos can regularly be found in our promotions section, and you’ll also find leaderboards awarding bonus chips to those who climb the ranks.
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