Omaha Hi-Lo Poker Rules
Omaha Hi-Lo (otherwise known as Eight-or-Better) is a very interesting game where you can win half of the pot even if the highest card you have is 8.
The object of the game is similar to the Omaha, to win the pot by making the best hand using nine cards, 4 hole cards and 5 community cards. However to make the hand only 2 of the hole cards and only 3 of the community cards can be used. The difference with Omaha Eight-or-Better is that the players can also try to get the best five-card low hand.
The low hand must have five cards of different value no higher than 8, no pairs are allowed, only two of the hole cards and only three of the community cards can be used. Straights and flushes are not considered when evaluating low hand.
Aces can be used as both a high card and a low card.
In Omaha Hi-Lo the pot is usually split between the player holding the best high hand and the player holding the best low hand. Sometimes the player holding the best low hand may have the best high hand as well, in this case, this player will get the entire pot. Omaha Hi-Lo games usually have high pots as players compete for both high and low hands.
To begin with a dealer is established and is given a Dealer button, in Unleashed Poker online poker room this dealer does not deal cards, all cards are dealt by our "virtual dealer". At the beginning of each hand, the button moves one player to the left.
Before any cards are dealt the first two players on the left from the button are required to post blind bets which are put into the pot to start the action and give the players at the table an incentive to play. The first player on the left from the button posts the small blind and the second player on the left of the button posts the big blind. The size of the blind is determined by the table you play. The big blind is usually the minimum amount of bet you are allowed to make at the table and the small blind is usually a half of the big blind. So in a $10 - $20 Omaha Hi-Lo game, the blinds will usually be $5 and $10. As the button moves with each hand, all players at the table have to make their blind bets at some time. When a new player joins the table he/she can either post a big blind or will have to wait until it is his/her turn to post the big bind. This is done so the players do not jump in and out of the game to avoid paying their blinds into the pot. If you miss posting your blind the blind Unleashed Poker software will alert you to put the required amount. A blind bet is a live bet and the players who put the blinds can call, raise or fold when it comes to their turn to act.
Each player is then dealt four cards face down, these cards are called hole cards, and will be used by each player to try to make their hand. The first betting round (Pre-Flop) begins. The third player from the dealer button on the left is now required to act. He/she can match the bet of the big blind (call), raise or fold the hand. In the first betting round players cannot check, i.e. not to make a bet and still stay in the game. If a player chooses to raise all the players who place their bets after must contribute at least the same amount of chips into the pot to stay in the game. Players who posted their blinds are the last ones to act in the first betting round. In all other consecutive betting rounds the player with the dealer button acts last.
When the first betting round is concluded three community cards are dealt face up in the centre of the table. These three cards are called the "Flop" and are shared by all players at the table to try to make their best hand. The first player to the left from the dealer button who is still in the game acts first. All players can now choose to check (if no bets were yet made in this round), call, raise or fold their hands. The minimal amount of bet on Flop is the size of the big blind.
This is the third betting round. The fourth community card is placed on the table face up to be used by all the players left in the game. The first active player on the left from the dealer button acts first. Like in the Flop the players have a choice to check (if no bets were yet made in this round), call, raise or fold their hands. Betting amount in this round however is double of the big blind, so in a $10-$20 game, where the big blind amount was $10, it will be $20 minimum to place a bet on Turn.
This is the third and the final round. The final fifth community card is opened and all active players must now establish their best hand using any combination of their hole cards in their hands and community cards on the table. Once again bets can be placed by all active players still in the game. The first active player to the left of the dealer button acts first. As in the previous rounds players can check (if no bets were made), call, raise or fold. Betting amount on River is the same as on Turn and is double of the amount of the big blind.
If two or more players are still in the game by the end of the River betting round the showdown determines the winner(s). The players now reveal their cards to establish the winning hand(s). Only two of the hole cards and only three of the community cards can be used. The player with the best high hand and the players with the best low hand, if any, share the pot. If two players have identical best hands the pot will be split between them. The player, who acted last on the river, has to open up his cards first. The other players can still choose to fold and not show their cards.
If there is only one active player at the end of the last betting round because all the other players have folded, the active player will win the pot. This player will not have to show his hand to the table.
There are three different types of Omaha Hi-Lo betting structures
- No Limit. No Limit games have no maximum amount of the bet, so players can bet all their chips at any time. The minimum amount must be no less then the big blind. The raise must be greater then the last bet or raise in the same round. The number of raises is only limited to the amount of player's chips.
- Pot Limit. In Pot Limit Games players can make a maximum raise equal to the size of the pot. So if a player's call is $5 and the pot is $20, he may raise no more then $50. (His call of $5 would bring the pot to $25 and he may raise the amount equal to the pot of $25, so his raise is $25.)
- Limit. In Limit Omaha Hi-Lo games players may bet fixed amount for each betting round. The betting amount equal to the big blind for the first two rounds and double the amount in the third and the fourth. A maximum 4 bets are allowed in each betting round.