Omaha High vs. Omaha Hi-Lo

Conveniently for those who know Omaha High, Omaha Hi-Lo is played according to almost identical rules.

$2,000 Pot Limit Omaha w/re-buys final table

The only time the High and Hi-Lo differ rules-wise is at the showdown.

Omaha Hi-Lo, also known as Omaha High-Low, O8 and Omaha 8-or-Better, is one of the most popular and entertaining forms of poker in the world.

Because this article only details the differences between Omaha High and Omaha Hi-Lo, if you aren't familiar with the rules and game play of Omaha High, you're going to want to read this article:

Assuming you understand how to play Omaha High, let's look at what distinguishes the two games.

Omaha Hi-Lo Showdown Rules

Omaha Hi-Lo is a "split pot" game, meaning that at showdown, the pot is divided in half, with one half being awarded to the winning best hand, and the other half to the best qualifying "low hand."

The High

The winning high hand in Omaha Hi-Lo is identical to that of Omaha High. There are no qualification requirements for the high, meaning there will always be a winning high hand.

The Low

Low hands must qualify to be eligible for winning the low half of the pot.

  • A low hand is composed of any two cards from a player's hand, and any three cards from the board (community cards).
  • The cards a player uses for his best High hand have no effect on the low. The player can use the same cards, different ones or a combination from his hand.
  • A qualifying low hand is defined as five unpaired cards, all with ranks at or below 8.
  • Aces are considered low for the low hand.
  • Flushes and straights are ignored for the low, meaning the best low possible is A-2-3-4-5 regardless of suits.
  • Low hands are counted from the top down, meaning the hand is only as good as its highest card. For example:
    • 2 3 5 6 7 is lower than A 2 3 4 8
  • Any hand with a pair, or with a card higher than 8, does not qualify, even if the rank of the pair is below 8.
  • Suits do not count toward a low; any players sharing the exact same low must equally split the low half of the pot. (Winning half of the Low pot, and nothing from the High pot is known as being quartered.)

A hand example:

Board: 4 5 7 Q A

Hand 1: A 2 K K

Hand 2: A 3 Q Q

High Winner: Hand 2 wins with three-of-a-kind queens: Q Q Q A 7

Low Winner: Hand 1 wins with a 7-5-4-2 Low: 7 5 4 2 A

 

Here's a more difficult one for you:

Board: K 3 4 8 2

Hand 1: A 2 Q K

Hand 2: 6 7 T J

High Winner: Hand 2 wins with a flush, jack-high: 2 3 4 T J

Low Winner: Hand 2 Wins with a 7-6 Low: 7 6 4 3 2

In this pot, Hand 2 scoops with the best high and the best low. Many players will think that Hand 1 will win the low because A-2 is a lot lower than 6-7.

Unfortunately, Hand 1 pairs his 2 on the river, meaning he has to use the 8 as his fifth card to make a qualifying Low hand. Even though the majority of Hand 2's cards are higher, Hand 2 is able to use the three lowest cards on the board, making for a low of only seven-high.

General Rules

  • If there is an extra odd chip, unable to be split in half, this chip is always added to the pot awarded to the winning high hand.
  • If there is no qualifying low hand, the entire pot is awarded to player with the winning high hand.
  • Players can win one or both halves of the pot with the same or different cards from their hand.
  • A player does not have to announce what half of the pot she's playing for at the beginning of the hand. This is only required in other variations of poker, known as "declare" games.

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Mike Schneider 2017-06-24 16:04:29

In most games featuring Declare, your declaration is your bet that you will "scoop" the pot (or half of it, in the case of high/low). If you tie, you didn't get *all* of it, and therefore lose.

But Declare rules vary, and you need to nail them down ahead of time.

Mike Schneider 2017-06-24 15:57:34

He was not conned; he sat in at a game in which he did not ask for clarification of opaque rules. (Which is why I don't play "declare" games, because unless you ask, you can't be sure.)

Ben Jones 2017-05-23 12:13:11

doesn't make sense , so who won the pot? the guy that won half of the low?(the 25% guy)

Mark James 2016-12-19 07:35:52

Declare games are not for me.

mike 2016-08-18 07:03:43

ive actually seen some home games playthis way....i didnt play inthe game because i didnt think that rule was right

Rags 2016-07-29 15:45:45

You've been conned. Never play there again.

Jim Gentile 2016-07-14 14:13:24

I was playing High low omaha and was dealt Ace four of hearts. The board flopped 2,35 of hearts giving me the straight flush high and the wheel low. I declared both at the end to scoop the pot. I won the high and was tied on the low with another Ace four. They told me that since I didn't win both, I lost the high and the low getting nothing. Shouldn't i received
75% of the pot?

Vijay 2015-07-16 02:17:54

"GARY".."JASON"... the one holding the low with Ace wins. In both your examples "7&8" or "7&6" were common , hence you evaluate the balance three cards that bring the low straight closest to 5,4,3,2,A (best low hand) combination

Benchmark 2015-05-25 09:12:00

In the 'Low' example, there are ten different cards, when in reality, at least one of them must be a shared card.

krissel 2015-05-09 01:33:33

If there's 3 aces on the board & you have the 4th ace in your hand is that considered automatic Win or you need to use 2 cards in your hand to make a hand?

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