Omaha Hi-Lo: Basic Strategy

The ultimate goal in Omaha Hi-Lo is to scoop the pot, which means winning both the high hand and the low hand.

Naturally, this should be the ultimate purpose of any Omaha Hi-Lo strategy tip. You don't want to play in a manner where you frequently are quartered or have to split the pot.

This means you need to be very selective about the starting hands you play, as well as which hands you play after the flop.

Below is a checklist of skills and advice that can help you improve your basic Omaha Hi-Lo strategy.

Basic Strategy for Omaha Hi-Lo Play

  • Seldom raise before flop.
  • Remember that your aim is to scoop the pot.
  • Be able to fold on the flop very often.
  • Play premium starting hands.
  • Table selection. Only play in loose games where five or more players see the flop on average.
  • Be skilled at calculating pot odds.
  • In general, you should only play hands that include A-2, A-3 or 2-3 for low hand, though a backup low card of course confers additional value.
  • You should usually only play hands that have four cards (9 and higher) for high hand. In order to mix up your play, you should occasionally play A-4 suited and A-5 suited if the other two cards also work well with the hand.
  • Fold most hands that include a 7, 8 or 9. Most of these hands have a negative expected value.
  • When you hit a good flop, play more aggressively.
  • Play hands that are capable of scooping the pot.
  • Usually, do not play after the flop if you do not have the nut potential.
  • Only occasionally bluff on the river if there is not a low hand out.
  • You should bluff infrequently.
  • Only play the more marginal starting hands in late position, when several players have called in front of you.

The Most Common Errors

  • Playing too many starting hands.
  • Calling all the way with only a high or low potential.
  • Seeing flops with four middle cards, like 6-7-8-9.
  • Raising with A-2 in early position and making players fold instead of seeing the flop cheaply with more players in.
  • Calling on the flop with only a low draw when the flop comes with two high cards.
  • Calling on the flop with only a high draw when the flop comes with two low cards.

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zombietrader 2009-08-13 02:40:00

Hi Rray

I know exactly what you are taling about. Here are my thoughts


The more fish the better for the shark. Stick to your strategy. Key statistic for making money is your flop to showdown ratio, Provided you get around 80% showdown win ratio [which is not difficult] you'll steadily grind out the wins.

Table Size

Only play at full handed tables don't bother with 6 handed games the blinds will eat you alive]. Also the more players the more fish, always watch for the players who complain about bad play from the other players. They are usually the biggest fish... They should be encouraging it.

Flop %age

Aim for flop % of 25-35% depending on how the cards are dealt.

For any session 10% is too low and over 45% too high.

Starting hand selection
Play blinds
Premium hands
Anything that has 3 or more decent outs to hits eg Ad7d Kh10c nut flush, broadway, plus high sets etc.
If you don't hit fold

Keep it simple

Don't stress to much about pot odds or preflop raising. It doesn't make too much difference on microtables [according to my models anyway despite what the exerts say], you''l get your money from careful hand selection post flop. On higher tables it does get more complicated..........

You will make enough money from the chasers [the ones u currently hate] when you have a 50% or greater winning hand post flop.

Don't Chase

If your strategy is to win money fro the chasers are winning expect


Losing when you are ahead is part of the game, but it won't affect you bankroll. What will ill you is chasing hands with pot odds or only slight only better. I need to see "good odds" and to the nut to chase

Assume no-one bluffs it will save you a lot of money and stress.

Good luck


Rray 2009-07-06 18:45:00

Cheers Sean

I really needed some constructive advice. It's much appreciated.

Sean Lind 2009-07-03 17:40:00

hey Rray,

Micro stakes O8 is a beast all to itself. Take a handful of too loose, unskilled hold'em players, and give them two extra cards.

Once a bad hold'em player sees four cards, they start making up all kinds of draws, even before they see a flop.

In the real world of O8, you should always be playing for the high, with a backup to the low. Scooping is how you make your money, but getting quartered is how you lose your roll. This is why hands such as AA23 double suited are so powerful.

As such, you mention hands like 3344, this actually isn't such a bad hand in 08. It's not a "good hand", but it's marginal, and playable.

The only hands you want to never play, are middle hands, and danglers.

The problem you're running into comes from an infinite supply of donks, and only one of you. These players are happily chasing backdoor lows and gutshots. Unfortunately, there's three of them in every pot, so when you pick off one or two, chances are the thrid's sucking out for half the pot.

Even when you do scoop, and felt someone, another one comes to take his place.

I'd say the only solution is to play even tighter than you have been. Omaha is a nut game, so resort back to only playing the nuts. Make sure that if you're seeing a river, you're doing it with half the pot locked up, and a decent shot at a scoop.

The general rule of thumb is to play the opposite of everyone else at the table. Since they're all playing ridiculously loose, you should be ridiculously tight. Let them make a pile of mistakes, and your solid play should take it down.

Unfortunately, it's not going to be very entertaining.

Rray 2009-06-26 18:18:00

Hi guys,

I'm currently assesing my play with pen and paper and thought to write some things up here to get some feedback, advice or guidance.

I've recently commited to spending considerable time playing hi-lo online. To be honest, I just prefer the game and enjoy it more than NLH. I'm playing microlimits.

I'm a decent player. You're site pitches me at shark rating and I would say that tight aggressive is a fair summation.

That said, I'm running into difficulty and am sure this is not unique to me or Hi-Lo.

Tight aggressive play seems the best fit for the game, but so far it's not rewarding in comparison to the fish who see fit to call preflop raises with 3344 or 67810. Backwards play is something I encounter in NLH frequently (A10 os is NOT the nutz!), but in hi-lo it pay off seems disproportional.

When I play TAG, when I do hit I make it big but for the most part I'm just folding, folding, limping... folding. There are times when I bet intelligently and bluff on the turn (this move comes with a health warning given its audience) and for the most part I'm reliant on small pots as turnover to supplement the loss of blinds.

Tight hand selection still results in well over 30% of hands being seen and yet the number of times premium hands have to hit the muck on the flop or later is frustrating.

Rarely does re-raising pre-flop have the desired effect of limiting the field, as players see fit to call with anything. In response, I often loosen up (tilt?) but get caught in awful situations that I realise (with hindsight) I should not have been in in the first place.

So thoughts going through my head are: should I alter my style or, is even more discipline required to navigate thought the fishy waters? Is this just the nature of the beast and hi-lo is a game which offers something for everybody but only a lot to a few? If so, what does it take to be one of those few? What percentage of hands would a TAG see in a 6 ring game?
Is the poker site the only real winner?... (that last one's a low blow arising from a disappointing morning).

I don't know if this post belongs here. If not, let me know and I'll look elsehwere. Be good to get some feedback.

Thank you

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