Omaha Hi/Lo Strategy

When most players start to play Omaha hi/lo after playing Texas Holdem they get confused and think is all about luck, because when you get dealt four cards instead of two you think : “wow there are so much cards to catch, I can make flush, straight, high hands, low hands, etc.” – you can’t be more wrong a lot of new Omaha poker player playing a lot more hands than they should, and they lose money ! Omaha is not a luck game, not more then Texas Holdem the first thing you need to master is the starting hands strategy for Omaha 8/b.

Terms:

Double Suited (DS): two cards from one suit and two other cards from another suit for example you have two clubs and two spades in your hand. Example: A♠ K♠ A♥ K♥
Scooping: scooping the pot refers to winning both the high hand and the low hand at the same time and taking the whole pot!
Quartering: let’s say you win the low hand pot, and some 1 else hand the same hand like you, you both win quarter of the pot, the player that wins the high hand pot take half, so it’s not like 33%, 33%,33% it’s like:
High: 50% ,
Low (a): 25% ,
Low (b): 25%.
It can be happen on the high hand as well if two players have the same winning high hand .

Starting Hands:

How to win more at Omaha hi/lo? You need to scoop the pot more often, well, that kind of obvious right? Let me explain: you can win the high hand when no one has qualify low hand – then you take all the pot, you can also win them both, the high hand and the low hand at the same hand, if you’ll have a solid starting hand strategy .

Playable Starting Hands:

A-A-2-3 (DS):Is the best possible staring hand, you have pair of Aces, you have 2 draws for the Nut flush, you have A-2-3 for the nuts low, what can you ask for more?. Bet, raise and re-raise with this hand from any position.

A-A-x-x: If you look at the above (best starting hand) you see AA’s like in Holdem, but at Omaha high low AA’s are not always that great in order for you to play A-A-X-X you need to get more value from the other 2 cards, like: double suited add value, if the other 2 cards are less then 6 (and not aa’s of course A-A-A-A is BAD ! ) . big pairs are good too like: A-A-K-K, A-A-Q-Q .

A-2-x-x:If you see ace and deuce in your hole cards that great, just remember not all the A-2-x-x hands born equally, if you have some card that suited the ace it’s great, if the other 2 cards are low then 5 you have great hand, also 2 face card along with the ace can scoop the pot for you, like : A♠ 2♠ K♦ K♥. But don’t over play hands like A♦ 2♣ 10♠ 9♥, with 2 middle cards the value of the A-2 decreases. You can limp to see a flop in order to catch the nut low, but remember that you can get quartered – therefore limp only when a lot of other players limp before you and the table image is loose.

A-3-x-x: Its playable hand, if the Ace is also suited its good, on the board you want to see 3 low cards that deuce is one of them or flush with the ace will give you the nut flush, also you can play when the ace is not suited but you need the other two cards to have some value to back it up, or that both of them will be under 6 or they both need to be a big pair, try to avoid playing these hands from early position unless the table is really tight passive.

A-L-L-X (L = deuce to five): The low cards can be paired or unpaired you still can play them. Also remember that if your ace is suited you have more value for the hand.

Any Four Cards between 2-5 (2, 3, 4, 5): Not great starting hands, but it’s playable from middle/late position if you can limp.

Any Four Face Cards (Ace, K, Q, J):(unless you have 3 of a kind there ) It’s better to play those hands with a lot of callers, because most of the callers will have low kind of hands it’s make it more likely to you to catch high cards on the flop and to hold the nuts or draw to the nuts that can scoop the whole pot. But, if you see low cards on the flop, you better check-fold your hand.

Top 10 Starting Hands:

(s) = suited.

(ds) = double suited.

  • A-A-2-3 (ds)
  • A-A-2-4 (ds)
  • A-A-2-3 (s)
  • A-A-2-5 (ds)
  • A-A-2-4 (s)
  • A-A-3-4 (ds)
  • A-A-2-3
  • A-A-2-2 (ds)
  • A-A-3-5 (ds)
  • A-A-2-6 (ds)

What Hands You Should Fold:

Quads (four of a kind): If you get dealt for example: A♠ A♣ A♥ A♦, you might think this is good hand right? Well, it’s not a good at all, quads are the worst starting hand possible, because you need to use 2 out to your hole cards you cannot make flush, no straight, you can’t qualify for low hand, nothing, FOLD!

Three of a kind: Three of a kind is auto-fold as well, don’t play them, even though I saw some players that do play hands like A-A-A-2 or 2-2-2-A, I think you need to fold any three of a kind, you can try this and see how it’s works for you .

Middle Cards – (three or more cards unpaired): 7♠-8♥-9♦-X . If you play NL Texas Holdem you know you can mix-up your game with suited connectors but that not good idea for Omaha high-low, let’s say you play 7♠-8♥-9♦-X, on the board we have : 4♠-5♣-6♣ that give you the nut straight but : 4♠-5♣-6♣ Some one with 2 cards lower then 9 will qualify to the low, that mean you get only half of the pot, and if the board full of high cards, like : J,Q, Q, A, T it gives you a straight, but it will be hard for you to win because some one can make a better straight or a full-house.

Reading the Board:

Reading the board in Omaha hi/lo can be very confusing especially if you used to play a lot of Holdem because of the 2/3 rule: you need to play 2 cards from your hole cards and three cards from the board. You might get a little confused at first, especially with the low hands, if you’ll read below things will become clearer to you:

High Hands:

Example: if you have [A♠ K♥5♥ 5♣] and the board is: 5♦ 2♣ K♠ Q♦ 8♠, you don’t have full-house, you just have 3 of a kind!

Another example: If you have [A♥2♥4♥ 5♣] and the board is: K♥ Q♣ 5♠ 3♥ K♠ you don’t have a flush and no straight.

Low Hands:

If we look at the example above, your hand: [A♥2♥4♥ 5♣], board: K♥ Q♣ 5♠ 3♥ K♠ you are not even qualify for low hand. Remember every time you don’t see three cards below 9 on the board, low hand is impossible! Here we have only 2 of them — 5♠ and 3♥.

That means if you want the nut low you need to have A-2 in your hand and three low cards on the board. Let’s see an example: You have [A♥ 2♠ Q♠ Q♣], boards : K♠ 2♥3♥6♦ K♠, you have the low hand ? NO you don’t!, why? Because you don’t have 5 cards below 9 the deuce show-up twice, A-2-2-3-6 … that do not good to have a pair, right? So what you need is three low cards that do not pair you.

Important Tip:

There are few poker rooms that tell you the best hand on the screen, while you are playing.
See picture for example:
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Click here to check it out (also : $50 freeroll each day for H.O.R.S.E events)
That can be really helpful to you if you are new Omaha hi/lo players.

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