Poker Lesson

Rise to the Top in Omaha High Low Poker: Expert Insights

The high-low split pot version of Omaha is a fun and exciting game called Omaha/8. It is typically played as a fixed-limit game, but the pot-limit variety (known by the abbreviation PLO/8) is also popular, particularly online. The format, betting structure, and requirement to use two cards from your initial four-hole cards, in conjunction with three cards from the board, is the same as Omaha high but coupled with the addition of the best high and best low hands splitting the pot.

In our lesson on how to play Omaha, we outlined that one major difference between Omaha and hold’em was the number of potential hands vying for the pot. In Omaha/8, that number remains constant as each hand has six possibilities, but now some compete for the low end and others for the high. This translates to an action-packed game with numerous bets, raises, and large pots.

Omaha/8 Showdown Rules

Omaha/8 Showdown Rules

Omaha/8 is a split pot game, meaning it will be split unless someone scoops it. There are two ways to mine the entire pool. The first is to have both the best high and low hands. The other way is to possess the best high hand when no hand qualifies for the common.

The High Hand

The High Hand

The high hand in Omaha/8 is identical to a winning hand in Omaha High. The best high hand will win the pot without qualified low hand.

Qualifying Low Hand

The rules for a qualifying low hand are as follows:

  • Players may use any five cards in their hand for the low
  • A soft hand is five unpaired cards, no higher than an eight
  • Aces are common for the gentle hand (and high for the high hand)
  • Flushes and straights do not negatively impact the soft hand

Ranking Low Hands

Low hands in Omaha/8 are ranked ‘top down’ from the highest card. For example, it is lower than. This is an example of a “7 low” versus an “8 low”.

If the highest card equals rank, the next highest card determines the lowest hand. This means that it is lower than because the second-highest card among the five is lower. If the second-highest card were the same, it would go to the third, fourth, and fifth cards. If players share the same low cards, then the quiet half of the pot is split.

The best possible low hand in Omaha/8 is A-2-3-4-5, a ‘wheel.’ Remember that soft hands that are straight and flush do not disqualify it from being low but make it a two-way hand and a candidate to scoop. While a Royal flush and a five-high straight, called a wheel, would represent the best high and best low hands, the hand you want at the showdown is a five-high straight flush to scoop the pot with the best high and soft hands.

Omaha/8 Hand Examples

Omaha/8 Hand Examples

The basic rules are the same as Omaha High: you must use two-hole cards with three on the board.

 

In the above example, a soft hand is not possible because the board doesn’t contain three cards that are eight or lower. Only the best high hand will win. The nuts for this board would be someone holding Jack-Queen for the straight. With ahas3s (an excellent starting hand in Omaha/8), you would use it along with the on-the-board to make a high hand of one pair.

Here is a hand that would qualify for both the high and the low:

 

In the above example, the board contains three cards no higher than an eight; the. The hole cards in this example are very strong. In Omaha/8, you can use any cards for the low and any for the high hand. They can be used for the nut high hand (flush) and as2hthe nut low ( A-2-3-7-8). This is a prime candidate for scooping the pot.

If you’re unsure how to work out soft hands, which can be confusing at first, then don’t worry. The key is to count backward from the highest low card first. As mentioned, the best soft hand is A-2-3-4-5, a five-low hand, which, when counting backward, would be 5-4-3-2-A. The next best soft hand would be a six-low of 6-4-3-2-A, followed by 6-5-3-2-A, then 6-5-4-2-A, then 6-5-4-3-A, and so on. The highest card is counted first, and the next highest low card is counted if there’s a tie.

The split pot rule makes it a very different game to Omaha-high. But it’s important to stress that Omaha/8 is not a game of splits. While the best high hand will win half the pot and the best low hand will win the other half, scooping the entire pool is the true object of this poker game.

This game seems to have polarized poker fans in so far as they either love or disdain it. I like to call those who love it Omaholics, and you should be careful, for if you are just getting started in this addictive form of poker, you may well join their ranks.

Silas Everhart

Silas Everhart, the driving force behind our poker universe, is not your average 27-year-old. With an insatiable passion for the game, he's turned his love for poker into an art form, mastering the intricacies of this timeless card game. Through his extensive knowledge, captivating writing style, and commitment to helping you up your poker game, Silas Everhart is your go-to source for all things poker-related. Join him on this thrilling journey through the world of chips, bluffs, and high-stakes showdowns!

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