Tips for Omaha High-Low

Four aces
A terrible Omaha hand.

'Omaha Hi-Lo Eight or Better can be a very confusing game. Forget about even the hi-lo aspect of it, and realize that instead of the 169 starting hand combos in Holdem, in Omaha poker there are over 16,000. But have no fear, simply using these ten tips can keep you out of trouble.

1. Ace-Deuce -- When it comes right down to it, you can survive in an Omaha Hi-Lo game playing only hands that contain an Ace and a Deuce.

Hands with these two cards in them are the highest rated combos in the game. In a full game, Ace-Deuce and two random cards are more profitable than a pair of Aces and two random cards.You can also almost always play an Ace-Deuce preflop in a loose, full game. There are some bad Ace-Ace hands that don't do nearly as well as an Ace-Deuce.

2. The More Help the Better -- The more closely connected the cards in your hand are, the better your chances of winning. You've got a lot of cards, and so do your opponents. You may need all of them to survive through the river.

3. Don't Bluff -- Omaha Hi-Lo is a hand value game, and those values are generally the nuts. It's very difficult to fold out somebody who has the nuts. You can't even bet up a very good non-nut hand because the guy who's calling you may very well have the nuts and is afraid of being quartered. Let your opponents call you down when you have the nuts and save your bluffs for No Limit Holdem.

4. Don't Fear Being Quartered -- if there are four or more players in the pot. If you're getting a quarter of a pot that you put a quarter of the money in, then you break even. And if there's more than four in, you can raise and reraise because it's very rare that you're going to get sixth'ed. Most likely, you're going to make a slight profit, even though you're only getting a fourth of the pot.

5. Have Backup for Your Low-- Ace-Deuce-Three is much better than a dry Ace-Deuce. Being counterfeited (having your card duplicated on board) will often ruin your hand unless you have another low card to fall back on. If the flop is 874 and you have the A2, then you have the nut low of 8742A. But if another Ace or Deuce falls, your best low remains an 8742A while someone else can now make a seven. For instance, if a deuce came on the turn, the player calling you down with the second nuts of A3 would now have the nut low of 7432A. Being counterfeited isn't that rare of an occurrence, either. Every time you flop the nut low, there are six ​outs that counterfeit you giving you about a 24% chance of being counterfeited.

6. Have Backup for Your High -- Just like with the low, there's a good chance that your flopped nuts will be in roughly 114th place by the river. To survive in Omaha Hi-Lo, you need the nuts with redraws. If the flop is 7s 8sTc and you're holding the 9JQA with no spades then despite having the nut high you're probably in a lot of trouble. If there's a low draw, a flush draw, and a couple random hands out against you, you're in third place. Additionally, if there's a lot of action on the flop, someone else has probably got the same nut straight as you but has redraws to go with it.

In that case, you're somewhere between a two and three to one dog. And remember, you flopped the nuts!

7. Don't Play a Big Pots Heads up -- without at least the nuts one way and a very good hand the other. If getting quartered in a multiway pot is no big deal, getting quartered in a heads up one is a disaster. Especially if the room you're playing in has a high rake. You could split the pot even and still lose money!

8. Protect Your Hand -- This is only for playing live poker. I see half the players at the table holding their hands out away from their bodies so they can check on their cards throughout the hand. This essentially allows all their neighbors to see what they're holding. It's hard enough to win at poker when no one knows what you have. If they can see your hand it's going to be very difficult to make a profit.

9. Don't Play Omaha High Hands -- I see a lot of PLO players messing around in High-Low games and they always end up trying to win with hands that are definitely percentage losers. In Omaha Hi, a hand like 89TJ double-suited is a great hand that is nearly a coin-flip with AA hands. In Omaha High-Low, it's a terrible hand since it is drawing high and has no shot for the low.

10. In Fact, Don't Play High Hands at All -- In a heads up confrontation, almost all high only hands are at a disadvantage to any hand with two low cards in it. They don't even have to be good low cards. If you have trouble remembering this, just think about trying to win a game where all your pots are raked at 50% with no cap. That's what you're risking when you come in with a high only hand. Despite the name of this tip, high hands do have their place -- read Cappelletti's How to Win at Omaha High Low Poker for a great rating system of what high hands to play -- but even the best high hands have a very thin return on your investment in them. You can drop them entirely from your starting range and not lose very much value. And if you're playing them wrong, not playing them at all will do great things for your returns.

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Stemple, Adam. "Tips for Omaha High-Low." ThoughtCo, Jun. 28, 2017, thoughtco.com/ten-tips-for-omaha-high-low-2728359. Stemple, Adam. (2017, June 28). Tips for Omaha High-Low. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/ten-tips-for-omaha-high-low-2728359 Stemple, Adam. "Tips for Omaha High-Low." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/ten-tips-for-omaha-high-low-2728359 (accessed November 18, 2017).