Omaha Hi/Lo - Learning How to Read your Hand


Omaha High Low can be very confusing to a new player to the game.  Learning how to read your hand takes a little practice and knowledge of Omaha rules.


The game starts with each player being dealt four cards face down.  At this point there is a round of betting.  After this betting round, three cards are dealt face up in the center of the table.  These are common cards to all players.  There is another round of betting.  A fourth card is now dealt face up.  This is referred to as the turn card.  There is another round of betting.  A fifth card is now dealt face up.  This card is called the river card.  There is a final round of betting.  The best high hand and the best low hand, if there is one, split the pot.  The high hand rankings are the same as any other poker game.  The low hand qualifies when there are five cards with the highest card being an eight or lower and there are no pairs.  The best low hand is ace, two, three, four, and five.  There is always a high hand.  Due to the qualifiers, there may not be a low hand.   


This is where the new player gets confused.


Let’s start with the rules.  Omaha high or low hands always use two cards from the player’s hand and three cards from the common cards in the flop.  The flop is the five cards dealt face up in the middle of the table.  All players can use any three cards from the flop in order to make a high or low hand.  Each player is required to use two cards from the four that are dealt to him or her.


Many a new player gets excited when dealt three of a kind in the four cards dealt to them.  They forget that they can only use two cards from their hand and must use three cards from the flop.  The best starting hand dealt to a player is ace two suited ace three suited.  This group of four cards has great odds that the player will win either the high hand or the low hand.  They may win both.  If they do, they have scooped the pot.   Scooper hands in Omaha High Low are what every player is looking for and at the end of a playing session may be the difference between winning and losing.


Some playing tips for the new player.  When the flop has a pair in the five cards, there is a good chance that one of the players has made a full house.  If you cannot beat a full house for high, get out of the way unless you have a good low hand.  If the flop has three suited cards out of the five, there is a very good chance that a player has made a flush.  If you cannot beat a flush and your low hand is lousy, get out of the way.  If the flop is made up of low cards, cards below six, it is very likely that a player has a wheel.  A wheel is ace, two, three, four and five.  If you cannot beat a five high straight for high and you cannot tie a wheel it is time to fold.


The river card in the flop can be devastating to a player or make him an unbeatable hand.   Gambling on the river card can be very expensive or make for a profitable playing session.  Omaha hands are made up from nine cards.  This large number of cards means all kinds of hands are possible.  A pair or two pair is a good hand in five-card stud.  Three of a kind in Omaha High Low is not a really good hand.  It is not the kind of hand you would bet the ranch on!



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