Omaha Hi-Lo Beginners Guide Part 3

Bobby Baldwin
Bobby Baldwin was chosen to author the O8 section of Super System 2

Starting Hands

With four cards in Omaha it is possible to create 16,432 unique combinations. This fact, combined with the possibilities of winning with both a low and a high hand, makes a top list of starting hands in loose O8 very different from those for other poker games.

Since there are so many more kinds of playable hands in loose Omaha Hi-Lo than in Hold'em, a list limited to the top 100 starting hands leaves out too many playable four-card combinations.

However, the following lists should provide you with a good idea of what types of starting hands are strong in loose Omaha Hi-Lo.

  1. A-A-2-x
  2. A-A-3-x
  3. A-2-3-x
  4. A-2-4-x
  5. A-2-x-x
  6. A-3-4-x
  7. A-A-x-x

It is essential that you consider how all of the hands above vary in strength, depending on the x-card/s and whether the hand is non-suited, suited or double-suited. In general, all of these combinations are strong hands in loose Omaha Hi-Lo.

For example, an A-2-K-K double-suited is significantly stronger than an A-2-Q-8 non-suited, even though both hands belong in the A-2-x-x category. Likewise, an A-A-K-K double-suited is quite a bit stronger than an A-A-Q-7 non-suited, etc.

  1. A-A-2-3 double-suited
  2. A-A-2-4 double-suited
  3. A-A-2-3 suited
  4. A-A-2-5 double-suited
  5. A-A-2-4 suited
  6. A-A-3-4 double-suited
  7. A-A-2-3 non-suited
  8. A-A-2-2 double-suited
  9. A-A-3-5 double-suited
  10. A-A-2-6 double-suited

Odds and Statistics

The following examples of O8 odds are not meant for you to memorize. Knowing that a flop is 16.2% to come all low cards is no more helpful than knowing that it's somewhere around 15%.

Unless you're planning on designing some substantial odds-dependent prop bets, this knowledge is moot. These scenarios will, however, give you a general idea of the numbers, allowing you to play your hands accordingly.

  • If you hold a hand such as A-2-3-4, there is a 5.6% chance that the flop will not contain any low card, a 32% probability that it will include one low card, a 45.6% possibility that it will contain two low cards and a 16.2% chance that the flop contains all low cards.
  • If you have a high hand, the chance of a high flop containing two or three high cards is 30%.
  • You are dealt an A-2-x-x about 6.2% of the time and an A-2-3-x about 1% of the time.
  • If you hold an A-2 in a nine-handed game, there is a 36% likelihood that one or more players also hold an A-2.
  • In a nine-handed game about 50% of all players will be dealt a pocket pair before the flop.
  • If the board has not paired on the flop or the turn, it will pair on the river 27.3% of the time.

List of Outs to Help You Calculate Pot Odds

Number of Outs % On Flop (2 cards to go) % On Turn (1 card to go)
1 4.4 2.3
2 8.8 4.5
3 13.0 6.8
4 17.2 9.1
5 21.2 11.4
6 25.2 13.6
7 29.0 15.6
8 32.7 18.2
9 36.7 20.5
10 39.9 22.7
11 43.3 25.0
12 46.7 27.3
13 49.9 29.6
14 53.0 31.8
15 56.1 34.1
16 41.0 36.7
17 61.8 38.6
18 64.5 40.1
19 67.2 43.2
20 69.7 45.5
21 72.1 47.7
22 74.4 50.0
23 76.7 52.3
24 78.8 54.5
25 80.8 56.8
26 82.7 59.1
27 84.6 61.4
28 86.3 63.6
29 87.9 66.0
30 89.4 68.2

Where to Play O8

Omaha and O8 are becoming more popular again. When the poker boom hit, a significant number of Omaha players moved to Hold'em, as that's where all the games and action were.

Scotty Nguyen
Scotty Nguyen knows the odds better than most anyone.

Now that everyone and his dog knows how to play Hold'em, though, interest in Omaha has been rekindled, and it is much more commonly played. As of mid 2008, a significant portion of online poker action, especially in the highest stakes on Full Tilt, is Omaha or O8.

Almost every major cardroom, both live and online, spreads Omaha as an alternate variation to Hold'em. Stud and its variants are most commonly limited to the larger American casinos, while Omaha is more universal.

Learning to play this game will open up the door for making massive profit against players unable to remove themselves from their Texas Hold'em mindsets.

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