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Omaha Hi vs Omaha Hi Lo

Article By: RuffPoker.com

Omaha is rising in popularity all over the world. As players improve their Texas Hold’em skills, many are looking for other games to round out their poker repertoire. Due to the similarities in play, Omaha is a great game for Texas Hold’em players to learn.

There are several variations of Omaha, but the two most common variants are Omaha Hi and Omaha Hi-Lo. These games have the same structure, but they require considerably different strategies to win. Whereas the highest hand wins the pot in Omaha Hi, it doesn’t necessarily win the whole pot in Omaha Hi-Lo. When you’re playing Hi-Lo, the pot can be split in half or even quartered. Here’s an example of how the same hand can have two different outcomes depending on which Omaha variant you’re playing.

Hand One

  • You: 67JT
  • Opponent: A2KK
  • Community: 34J58
  • Pot: $300

If you’re playing Omaha Hi, you’ll win all $300 in this hand with your seven-high straight.

However, if you’re playing Omaha Hi-Lo, you’ll win the high side with your seven-high straight and your opponent will win the low side with their five-high (straights and flushes don’t count for the low side). In this example, you win $150 which is likely to be only marginally more than you put in the pot.

Omaha Hi-Lo adds another dimension to game play. In Omaha Hi, you only have to worrying about having the highest hand but the best players in Omaha Hi-Lo know that the way to make money is to “scoop” the pot by capturing both the high and the low side of the pot. Here’s another example:

Hand Two

  • You: 6(d)7(s)J(c)T(h)
  • Opponent: A(h)2(h)K(d)K(s)
  • Community: 3(h)4(s)J(s)5(h)8(h)
  • Pot: $300

In this example, you lose the entire pot. Your opponent’s eight-high heart flush beats your seven-high straight and their five-high low beats your seven-high low. Your opponent has “scooped” the pot.

In addition, players drawing to the low in Omaha Hi-Lo risk getting quartered. Getting quartered means you only win ¼ of the pot. Here’s an example of a player getting quartered.

Hand Three

  • You: 67JT
  • Opponent One: A2KK
  • Opponent Two: A2QQ
  • Community: 34J58
  • Pot: $400

In this example, you win the high with your seven-high straight and your opponents split the low with their shared five-high. The payout breaks down like this:

  • You: $200
  • Opponent One: $100
  • Opponent Two: $100

If you were playing Omaha Hi, you would have won all $400 and your opponents would be broke.

Omaha Hi and Omaha Hi-Lo may look similar, but the strategy required to win each one is very different. A-2-x-x is a poor starting hand in Omaha Hi, but it’s an excellent starting hand in Omaha Hi-Lo.

Remember that no matter what variant you play, Omaha is a game of the nuts. You always want to be drawing to the best possible hand when you’re playing Omaha. In addition, always be aware of the best possible low when playing Omaha Hi-Lo so you can adjust your pot odds if you think you may split the pot (or worse, quarter it).