Beginner’s Guide to Playing Omaha Hi Lo Poker

omaha hi lo

Omaha Hi-Lo, also known as Omaha Eight-or-Better, is a thrilling variant of poker that combines the excitement of Omaha with the added challenge of splitting the pot between the best high hand and the best qualifying low hand. If you’re new to this game, this beginner’s guide will help you understand the rules, strategies, and basic principles of Omaha Hi-Lo.

Omaha Hi-Lo is a popular poker variant that tests players’ skills in both high and low hand formations. With its unique pot-splitting feature, it offers an exciting twist to traditional Omaha.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the rules of Omaha Hi-Lo and provide you with essential strategies to improve your gameplay. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned player looking to explore a new poker variant, this guide will equip you with the knowledge you need to confidently dive into Omaha Hi-Lo.

Rules of Omaha Hi-Lo

Hand Dealing

Each player is dealt four private (hole) cards face-down, and five community cards are placed face-up on the board.

Pot Split

At showdown, the pot is divided between the best high hand and the best qualifying low hand (if there is one). The low hand must consist of five unpaired cards with a value of eight or lower. If there is no qualifying low hand, the high hand takes the entire pot.

Hand Formation

To make a hand, players must use two of their hole cards and three community cards. They can use different combinations for the high and low hands.

Basic Strategy Tips for Omaha Hi-Lo

Starting Hand Selection

Due to the nature of Omaha Hi-Lo, starting with strong hands is crucial. Look for hands that have a good chance of winning both the high and low halves of the pot. Hands with a mix of high and low possibilities, such as A-2, A-3, or 2-3, are considered strong starting hands.

Evaluate the Flop

Assess the community cards and determine if they benefit your hand. Consider both the high and low possibilities. If the flop doesn’t improve your hand or provide potential for a low hand, consider folding.

Play for Scoops

Aim to win both the high and low halves of the pot, known as scooping. This is where the biggest profits can be made in Omaha Hi-Lo. Look for opportunities where you have a strong chance of winning both sides.

Watch for Counterfeit Cards

Be cautious of “counterfeit” cards. These are community cards that render your low hand worthless because they duplicate a card in your hand. For example, if you have A-2 in your hand and the board shows A-2-4-4-7, your low hand becomes invalid due to the duplicated fours.

Analyze the Board Texture

Pay attention to the community cards and how they interact with your hand. A board that contains three low cards and two high cards may provide opportunities for both a strong high hand and a qualifying low hand. Adjust your strategy accordingly.

Pot Odds

Calculate the pot odds to determine if it is worth pursuing a hand. If the pot odds suggest a positive expected value, consider continuing. If not, it may be wise to fold.

Position Matters

Similar to other poker variants, position plays a crucial role in Omaha Hi-Lo. Being in late position allows you to gather more information about your opponents’ actions before making your own decisions. This positional advantage can be leveraged for more successful plays.

Practice and Experience

To become proficient in Omaha Hi-Lo, practice is key. Familiarize yourself with hand rankings, starting hand charts, and the intricacies of reading the board. Participating in low-stakes games or online poker sites for UK players that offer play-money options can help you gain experience and confidence.


Omaha Hi-Lo adds an exciting twist to traditional Omaha, with the added challenge of pursuing both the best high and low hands. By understanding the rules, employing solid starting hand selection, and incorporating basic strategy tips, you’ll be on your way to enjoying the intricacies and complexities of Omaha Hi-Lo. Remember to analyze the board, consider pot odds, and leverage your position to make informed decisions. With practice and experience, you’ll be able to navigate the nuances of this captivating poker variant and enhance your chances of success at the tables.

Narciso Baldo is the Director and Head Coach of Texas Hold'em Questions. He has been playing poker for over 16 years. After spending many years as a professional, he now runs UK poker training site Texas Hold'em Questions. Narciso regularly writes poker articles sharing tips, strategy, news and experience with gambling enthusiasts. Narciso also writes for reputable gambling portal Casino City Times, (bio here). Contact: