Omaha Hi-Lo: Hands To Avoid

It’s really common for players that are new to Omaha Hi/Lo to fall for the lie that every hand is playable. Don’t get me wrong: Omaha Hi/Lo does offer players more playable hands than any other variation of the game, but there’s a lot of hands in that mushy middle that aren’t worth the paper (or, if you’re playing online, pixels) they’re printed on. This isn’t a definitive list by any means but can help you look at your hands differently in the future.

This hand is just wishy-washy. A set of sevens is, at best, only slightly playable and capable of winning a pot and if you made a seven-high flush, you’re still looking at being bested by other cards and your four-deuce or seven-four combinations can only make the saddest of hands.

Looking at this, you’re likely to see two possibilities for straights, but if you play this hand, you’re very likely to get kicked to the curb by a good, not even great, Omaha hand being held by someone else. I would only play this if I were very late in the rotation and nobody else had bet.

This is the sort of hand that a hold ’em player leaps for: there’s two hands that are pretty decent in a regular hold ’em game, but they’re completely uncoordinated for Omaha. Neither the five or six work with the queen or jack and despite the wisdom, two playable Hold ‘Em hands do not necessarily make a playable Omaha hand. You’ll see other hands that fit this mold: Jh8h5c5d and AhKh3c3h

Low sets and baby straights almost always mean the second best hand that can cost you more than a split pot can net you, and since pretty much every pot in Omaha HiLo games gets split, it’s important to dig up the willpower to say no.

Hopefully, looking at these hands and understanding why each one is suboptimical will help you filter out the hands that you can play for greater effect. Learning to hot to stay out of mediocre hands is just as important as learning how to maximize the good hands you’re dealt.