What are high and low?
A high is the strongest possible combination. In popular types of poker (Texas Hold’em and Omaha) this combination will be a royal flush. Low is the opposite: the weakest possible combination in the game, with several requirements:
- A low can’t have cards higher than an eight.
- An Ace is considered to be the lowest card.
- Streets and flushes are not counted for making a low. For example, a hand of A-2-3-4-5 diamonds would be considered the best possible low.
- One hand can be both a low and a high combination.
How is Omaha high-low different from regular?
The most popular type of poker with both high and low combinations is Omaha high-low (PLO 8). Many tournaments are played online and offline.
Its main difference from classic or 5-card Omaha is the division of the pot between the participants. Half of the pot goes to the player with the best high combo, the other half goes to the best low combo. However, there are hands where none of the contestants made low. Then the entire pot, as in classic Omaha, goes to the player with the strongest card combination.
Omaha high-low rules
The mechanics of dealing, trading, moving the dealer’s button in the game are the same as in classic Omaha. The difference is hidden only in the division of the pot into two parts.
This imposes certain rights on the strategy of poker players. For example, in this type of poker it is advantageous to collect a “wheel” (A-2-3-4-5), which can win both parts of the pot at the same time.
Beginners make several typical mistakes in the game:
- Playing too many starting hands, overestimating their strength
- Entering a hand with starting combinations that have a chance of picking a minor combination
- Getting into a game with medium cards that are difficult to make a winning low or high. For example 6-7-8-9
- Playing too aggressively with hands like A-2-X-X, which causes other players to pass. As a consequence, only 2-3 opponents fight for the pot on the flop, and the pot itself is not that big. With such a hand, it’s better to look cheap on the first three common cards, giving opponents the opportunity to strengthen.
Examples of Combinations
Analysis of starting hands is more difficult here due to the presence of lowes. The best low starters are hands like A-2-X-X, A-3-X-X, A-4-5-X, 2-3-X-X. The strongest cards in the close that qualify for the high combo are hands like A-A-X-X, A-K-X-X, A-Q-X-X, K-K-X-X, Q-Q-X-X.
The best starting hand for omaha hi lo is the combination of A-A-2-3, where A-2 and A-3 are two different suits. The next strongest is A-A-2-4.
It is important to play hands like A-K-Q-J, K-Q-J-T, Q-J-T-9, which can make strong high combos. After all, the second half of the pot won’t always play out, since opponents’ lowes might not make it.