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How to play Omaha

Omaha Hi Lo Basics :-

Each player starts with 4 hole cards. A further 5 cards are dealt out on the board (ie flop, turn, river, as in holdem). Now, this is important, you must play exactly 2 of your hole cards to make a low hand, and exactly 2 of your hole cards to make a high hand.

The hand ranking for the high hand is the same ranking as in holdem. For the low hand you must have 5 unique cards (ie no pairs) which has the lowest card at the top. If this top card of the 5 lowest ones is higher than an 8, then you dont have a qualifying low hand. (ie A2345 is low to the five, A3567 is low to the seven, 23456 is low to the six). Even though the third example doesnt have an Ace, it is still better than A3567, because it is low to the 6 vs low to the 7). Straights or flushes do not count against your low hand.

You bet in rounds as in holdem, then the winner is decided as follows :-

Half of the pot goes to the highest hand, and half goes to the lowest hand. This results in various scenarios. For example 1) You have the highest and the lowest hand, and you therefore scoop the whole pot. 2) You have just the highest hand and the joint lowest hand with one other player, you therefore win half the pot (for high) and half of half (for low), totalling three quarters of the pot. 3) You lose the high, and you share the low with one other player. You therefore have won a quarter of the total pot.

Playing exactly 2 cards means that if 4 clubs are on the board, and you have one club in your hand, then you dont have a flush, because you must play 2 cards, not just 1. Similarly you cant play 3 or 4 cards from your hand. It must always be 2.

Example of playing only 2 cards :- If trips come on the board eg KKK74, then 55QJ wins over A247 (the first hand has KKK55, but the second hand does not have a boat, it only makes AKK77). Neither hand has a qualifying low hand.

To recap. A low(lo) hand is one of five different cards all of 8 or below (eg A2347). Flushes and Straights do not count against your low. Therefore the best low hand is a wheel (A2345). You wont always have a low hand, but you will always have a high hand. High hands are the same as in holdem (using 2 of your hole cards)

The best starting hand in Omaha Hi/Lo is AA23 (AA is good for your high and A2, or A3 is good for your low) The worst starting hand is 2222 (because you cannot make a low, and your hole cards for your high are 22) Any trips in the hole are bad, with the possible exception of AAA2.

Quick List of Good Starting Hands

A3xx (preferably only if 2 suited or xx both low)
2 pairs which are 2 suited

You'll figure out a few others through experience

The ideal hands to bet are if you have a very good or nut low AND a very good or nut high. Obviously waiting for the ideal world of having a nut high and nut low might not always be the best strategy, however as a starting point it isnt that bad as A234, A237, A246 type hands obviously have a better chance of scooping than many others.