Omaha Poker comes in several different formats, all with slight variations on the common ruleset. Regardless of the variant, each player is dealt at least three cards at the start of the game; five community cards are dealt in the middle throughout play and can be used by anyone to create the best five-card hand possible. In Omaha High/Low, each player will be dealt precisely four cards.
As an added stipulation, players must use two of the cards from their hand, and three out of the five on the board to create their best possible combination. For example, if you have four kings in your hand, it's not counted as four of a kind because you must only use two hole cards.
OMAHA HIGH/LOW RULES
Unlike the standard game, Omaha High/Low has the possibility of a split pot, with half going to the best traditional, or ‘high’ hand, and the other half going to the best ’low’ hand. Note that there will always be a high hand, but there won’t always be a qualifying low hand.
Different five-card combinations can be used to form the best ‘low’ and ‘high’ hands. These combinations can have some or no overlap. If a player has both the best ‘low’ and ‘high’ hands, the player will win the whole pot.
LOW HAND POKER RANKINGS
To qualify as a low hand, all five cards must be ranked 8 or below, and be of different denominations. Straights and flushes don’t affect the value of a low hand, provided the cards are all ranked 8 or below. Aces can be used for both low and high hands. If nobody has cards that qualify for the low hand, then the pot will not be split and the player with the best high hand wins the entire pot. A low hand is always ranked from the highest card downward.
LOW HAND EXAMPLES
Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 can all be used to form low hands. None of the cards in a low hand can be paired.
BEST LOW HANDS (in decreasing order of strength)5, 4, 3, 2, Ace
6, 4, 3, 2, Ace
6, 5, 3, 2, Ace
6, 5, 4, 2, Ace
6, 5, 4, 3, Ace
6, 5, 4, 3, 2
7, 4, 3, 2, Ace
7, 5, 3, 2, Ace
7, 5, 4, 2, Ace
7, 5, 4, 3, Ace
Worst LOW HAND8, 7, 6, 5, 4
HIGH HAND POKER RANKINGS
To determine the winner of a high card hand, Omaha High/Low follows the same hand rankings as most forms of poker. From lowest to highest, the cards are ranked 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King, Ace. The same hole cards that are used to form the best ‘low’ hand can also be used to form the best ‘high’ hand.
High hand rankings, from lowest to highest:
High Card—No other combinations; the highest ranked card determines the strength of the hand. In the event of a draw, the next highest card—a kicker—is used to determine the winner. Suits don’t matter.
A Pair—Two cards of the same denomination. If there is a draw, the kicker is used to determine the winner. The highest-ranked pair wins. Suits don’t matter.
Two Pair—Two sets of pairs. If two players have the same pairs, the highest kicker wins. Suits don’t matter.
Three of A Kind—Three cards of the same denomination. Kickers are used to settle a draw. The suits don’t matter.
Straight—Five cards in sequential order, the suits don't matter. An Ace can be part of a high straight (10, J, Q, K, A) or a low straight (A, 2, 3, 4, 5).
Flush—Five cards of the same suit in any order, the numbers don't matter except when comparing to another flush, in which case the flush with the highest denomination card wins. There are four suits—diamonds, hearts, spades, and clubs.
Full House—Three cards of the same denomination along with two of another, a combination of three of a kind and a pair. Suits don’t matter.
Four of A Kind—Four cards of the same denomination. Suits don't matter.
Straight Flush—Five cards in sequential order that are also the same suit. A straight flush is a combination of a straight and a flush.
Royal Flush—The royal flush is the only unbeatable hand in poker. It must comprise a 10, Jack, Queen, King and Ace of the same suit.
BETTING AND BLINDS
Omaha High/Low follows the same blind set up as the regular game. There is a small and big blind, and a rotating button to mark who the dealer is. he small blind is left of the dealer, while the big blind is the next person in sequence after the small blind. The big blind is the minimum bet amount and the small blind is typically half of the big blind.
The position of the dealer and the blinds also decides who is first to act. The player to the left of the big blind is first to act - they can fold, raise or call the big blind. Play then goes clockwise around the table. At the end of the round, the dealer button and blinds rotate clockwise. The big blind becomes the small, and the small becomes the dealer. There are four betting rounds in total—pre-flop, the flop, the turn and the river.
Antes are forced bets that players in certain tournaments (or certain stages of tournaments) have to make before the start of a hand. Antes are made in conjunction with blinds but unlike blinds, antes are paid by everyone rather than specific players.
OMAHA HIGH/LOW BETTING VARIATIONS
No Limit—No restrictions on betting. The size of all bets and raises is only constrained by the number of chips a player has. You can’t bet more chips than you have in your stack.
Fixed Limit—In the pre-flop and flop betting rounds, the bet amount is equal to the big blind. In the turn and river betting rounds, the bet amount is double the big blind. In any round, betting is capped after a bet and three raises
Pot Limit—Bets and raises are restricted by the number of chips in the pot. If the pot has 100 in it, then the next bet can’t exceed 100.
Mixed—The ruleset changes each round, alternating between no limit, fixed limit, and/or pot limit. Blinds are adjusted accordingly.
How to play Omaha High/low
A standard game of Omaha High/Low will start with every player getting a card, the person with the highest is made the dealer. The person to the left of the dealer becomes the small blind, and the next in sequence becomes the big blind. After the blinds are posted, the cards are dealt and each player receives four cards. The first round of betting starts with the person left of the big blind. Options are to call the big blind, raise, or fold. Play continues around the table clockwise until everyone has chosen an option.
After the first round of betting, three cards are placed face-up as the first community cards. Play then starts clockwise from the dealer button with the closest active player. Everyone gets the same three choices, raise, call or fold.
If there are still at least two people in the round, then another card is dealt face up as the fourth community card. A round of betting follows with the same three choices, raise, call, or fold. Play starts clockwise from the dealer button with the closest active player.
The river is always the final phase of betting before the showdown. One more card is dealt face down or ‘burned’, and another is placed face up as the fifth and final community card. This round of betting is identical to all the previous ones, with play starting clockwise from the dealer button with the closest active player, and everyone having three options - raise, call, or fold.
If there are still at least two people left in the game after the final round of betting, all the remaining players show their cards in the showdown, starting with the last player who bet and going clockwise around the table. If no one bet, then the closest active player to the left of the dealer button shows their cards first. The person with the best ‘high’ hand wins half the pot, while the player with the best ‘low’ hand wins the other half. If no cards qualify for the low hand, then the player with the best ‘high’ hand wins the entire pot like in a regular game of poker. The round ends and a new round starts immediately.