Omaha High/Low is a variation of Omaha High. The only difference between the two games is that in Omaha High/Low, the pot is split between the best high hand and the best low hand. This means that the game is harder to master but the rules are fairly simple and straightforward. In Omaha High/Low, a player must make their hand from two of their four hole cards and three of the five community cards giving each player a hand of five cards. There are four rounds of betting or stages in Omaha High/Low: pre-flop, on the flop, the turn and the river. The explanation of how a low hand is created is given at the end of this section. The process of playing a round of Omaha High/Low is described below:
- Initially, one player is chosen to be the virtual dealer. Obviously in online poker nobody can actually deal, however, the fact that somebody is the dealer is important in the game, as you will find out shortly. The dealer is shown as a marker on the table and is commonly referred to as the button. The button then rotates around the table in a clockwise direction after each play. This ensures that each player gets a chance to be dealer and also to be the last to bet.
- The blinds are now posted. Blinds are forced bets that start the game rolling. In Omaha High/Low, there are two blinds; the little blind and the big blind. The little blind in placed by the player to the immediate left of the dealer button and is usually equal to 1/3 – 2/3 the amount of the lower limit bet. The big blind is equal to a bet at the lower limit. For example, in a £10/£20 game, the little blind is £5 and the big blind is £10. Both of these blinds are termed live, which means that when the betting reaches the players with the blinds then they may raise. This is the only time in poker when a player may raise his own bet.
- Four cards are now dealt face down to each player in a clockwise direction. These cards are called hole cards.
- There is now a round of betting which is limited to one bet and three raises. This round of betting is called the pre-flop. If the game being played is a limit game, then all the bets are made at the lower limit.
- After the pre-flop has finished, three cards are now dealt face up onto the table. This is called the flop. The three cards are termed community cards because each player may use them in combination with two of their four own hole cards to make their best possible poker hand.
- Once the flop has been dealt, another round of betting ensues. If the game being played is a limit game, then this is the last round at the lower limit. After this round, all bets and raises will be at the higher limit. Again, betting is limited to one bet and three raises.
- When the betting from the flop is completed, a fourth card is dealt face up onto the table. This card is called the turn card. Again, this card is one of the community cards and can be used by any of the players.
- After the turn card has been dealt, the third round of betting starts. In limit games, this round of betting is at the higher limit. Betting is limited to one bet and three raises.
- When the betting from the turn is completed, a fifth card is dealt face up onto the table. This card is called the river card. This card is the final card to be dealt and is the last of the community cards and can be used by any of the players.
- The final round of betting can now begin. In the same way as the previous betting rounds, betting is limited to one bet and three raises.
- When the betting is over, the players then reveal their four hole cards. In Omaha High/Low, the pot is split equally between the high and low hands. The winners of the twos pot are determined as the players with the highest qualifying ranked hands of five cards. These hands must be made from a combination of two of the player’s four hole cards and three of the five community cards.
To qualify for a low hand, at the end of the play, the player’s hand must consist of five unpaired cards of the rank 8 or lower. For the purposes of the low hand, the Ace is considered to be the lowest card in the deck. Straights and flushes do not count as low hands. If no player has a hand that qualifies as a low hand then the whole pot is given to the winner of the high hand. In the low hand game, the lowest hand is determined b the high cards first. If two or more players have the same high card, then the next lowest high card wins. In order to demonstrate this principle, please have a look at the five examples shown below:
Player 1. 8, 6, 4, 2, A
Player 2. 7, 6, 4, 3, 2 Player 2 wins, as 7 is lowest high card.
Player 1. 8, 6, 4, 2, A
Player 2. 8, 7, 4, 3, A Player 1 wins, as 6 is next lowest high card.
Player 1. 8, 6, 4, 2, A
Player 2. 8, 6, 3, 2, A Player 2 wins, as 3 is winning high card.
Player 1. 8, 7, 6, 4, 2
Player 2. 8, 7, 6, 5, A Player 1 wins, as 4 is winning high card.
Player 1. 8, 6, 5, 4, 2
Player 2. 8, 6, 5, 4, A Player 2 wins, as Ace is winning high card.
It really is as simple as that! If it still seems a bit daunting then don’t worry as the casinos listed below will allow you to play free games until you feel confident enough to take on other opponents. Please refer to the advanced section for hints, tips and strategies to improve and hone your poker skills.