Introducing Omaha Hi/Lo

Getting the best hand isn’t always the goal in poker. Some variants of our great sport ask you to make the worst hand instead. These are called lowball games, and in most of these games, the worst hand you can make is 5432A. Straights don’t count – and neither do flushes, so it doesn’t really matter what suits the cards are.

Some poker variants take it up a notch by combining the quest for the high hand and the low hand. These are called Hi/Lo games, and Bovada Poker is very pleased to have Omaha Hi/Lo available to our players. If you haven’t tried Omaha Hi/Lo yet, you’re missing out. This could be the most fun you’ll ever have playing poker.

Difference Between Omaha and Omaha Hi/Lo

If you’re already familiar with standard Omaha, you’ll understand the “Hi” part of Omaha Hi/Lo: Each player gets four hole cards, and up to five community cards to make the highest hand possible. With Omaha Hi/Lo, you can use any two of those hole cards and any three community cards to make the lowest hand, as well. That means your decisions to bet, raise, call or fold are based on your combined potential to win both hands.

Winning both hands (also known as scooping) is the key to Omaha Hi/Lo. This is a split-potgame, meaning the pot is split in half between the winning high hand and the winning low hand. If you only have the high hand and someone else has the low, you get half the pot. Worse, if you and your opponent tie for the high hand and she has the low, you get one-fourth of the pot. Getting quartered is no fun – but quartering your opponent is, and it’s an important part of Omaha Hi/Lo strategy.

Important Rule in Omaha Hi/Lo

There’s one important rule to Omaha Hi/Lo that can’t be overlooked: Cards have to have a rank of Eight or lower to qualify for use in a low hand. This is why Omaha Hi/Lo is sometimes referred to as Omaha Eight or Better (Omaha 8 for short). In this game, the “worst” low you can make is 87654. This is the extreme example of a rough low hand. You want a smooth low, and 5432A is the smoothest low there is.

Like all the games at Bovada Poker, Omaha Hi/Lo is available in fixed-limit, pot-limit and no-limit varieties. Fixed-limit tends to be the preferred structure; with the betting kept small and with many of the pots getting split, Omaha Hi/Lo offers the lowest variance of the three flop games, making it one of the best ways to build a poker bankroll. That’s if you can master the game, of course. Get your feet wet by starting with the lowest stakes, so you don’t have to worry about losing any serious money while you’re figuring things out. Who knows – this might even be the game that takes you to the World Series of Poker.