Omaha Hi-Lo Strategy: Learning to Build And Play Low Hands

You’ve gotten the swing of standard Omaha poker but the real excitement can be found in Omaha 8 / Omaha Hi-Lo games. It’s true; it’s hard to beat the sheer amount of action when it comes to Omaha 8, but it’s also a game where the pot is generally split between high and low hands and that means that you have to understand exactly how you build the best possible hand either way. High hands are pretty easy to understand. After all, that’s what you’ve been aiming to put together since you started playing poker, but low hands take a certain approach.

Low Hand Qualifications
For a low hand to qualify, you must hold two unmatched cards in your hand and their value must both be below 8. There must also be three additional unmatched cards on the board that are also lower than 8. This is where the name “Omaha 8” comes from. If you’re looking at a board that reads 5AKKJ, then there is no way to build a low hand. There are only two low community cards so your hand wouldn’t qualify even if you held 2346. It’s important to keep in mind that you must always use two from your hand and three from the board to build your

Understanding Low Hand Rankings
The absolute best low hand in Omaha 8 is A2345, but the new player have to remember that the strength of a low hand is determined by descending counting order. This means that the best low hand should be read 5432A. By learning to read the descending hand value properly, you can more easily determine whether or not your hand stands a chance.

The Ideal Situation: The Scoop
The real goal in any given hand of Omaha Hi/Lo is to scoop the pot by getting both high and low hands or by having the high hand when no low hand is possible. Scooping is actually fairly rare while higher hands are a not-uncommon occurrence. This means that you must work with high and low hands alike to win half the pot (and earn a smaller profit) while you wait for your shot at a scoop

Multi-Way Pots
Omaha 8 posts tend to attract multiple opponents all the way to the river, which is a distinct difference from Hold ‘Em, where you’re generally down to heads-up play by the time you reach the final community card. If it’s a three-way pot, generally you’ll win a couple of bets, but if you manage to scoop it, you’ll win a lot. It’s not unheard of for players to scoop a pot that’s gone five ways, which means that you can double your stack in a single play.

The real secret to good Omaha 8 play is calling your shots. If you’re wise and know when to fold, you can let other players run themselves ragged under the belief that every hand is playable and then you can really take advantage of them when you’re holding a scoop-ready draw.