Omaha Hi/Lo Strategy Blog

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James D Friday, December 28, 2018

After you have played hi/lo poker for a while, you will begin to understand little quirks in the game that actually help you win pots. Many strategy articles will tell you to always attempt to scoop the entire pot, which means win both the high pot and the low pot. And they would be right in explaining it in this way! The main issue comes when players receive all high cards in their starting hand, and they really want to play the hand, but strategy articles say they can’t because there is no chance of scooping the pot. Here is a way around that particular line of thought.

Omaha Hi/Lo starting hand strategy is nearly always double suites low cards with an Ace involved. This gives you wrap around straight draws for the low straight and two potential flushes. For instance, As-2d-3s-4d is the best Hi/Lo starting hand. You could make a 2d-4d-7d-Qd-Kd flush. This is a King high flush, but someone may beat you with an Ace high flush. That doesn’t matter because you will most likely have the low pot anyway.

Similarity any straight you make will be a low straight, so you will also have a good chance at winning the high pot with a straight and the low pot with low cards.

However, imaging the flush comes out 2d-4d-9d-Qd-Kd. As the rules of Omaha Hi/Lo state that you need five cards below eight to qualify for the low hand, in this case, you are not able to make the low hand. If the board reads 9d-Qd-Kd-8c-2c, you have no low hand. There needs to be a minimum of three low cards in the board for the low hand to count. Here you may be in trouble because you have a flush and no low hand. Someone with a better flush can take all your cash.

This is where the way around the line of thought behind playing only low Omaha hands can be altered slightly. In Omaha Hi/Lo the rule is to be prepared to fold a lot on the flop. Keep this in mind and you should pick up quite a few high pots without needing any low cards. For instance, you may be holding Jd-Qh-Kd-Ah. Firstly, this is double suited and secondly, you can get a Broadway straight. If the flop comes, Ah-10h-4c, the next two card would need to be below eight for a low pot to also count.

As you can see, your high hand is now looking pretty good to take the entire pot down. You have a pair of aces, so chances of a two pair or trips. You have a Broadway straight draw, and a flush draw with limited chances of a low hand going for this pot on what is effectively a runner runner low hand. Now you would not commit a lot of cash to a runner straight or flush, so here is a chance to bet the pot and get rid of potential low hands. Now you are effectively playing Omaha High ball rules!