Omahai hi-lo is played in the same way as Omaha hi, except that players have an extra way to win in the game. In the game of Omaha hi, players win for the highest poker hand, while in Omaha hi-lo, players can win for a high hand or for a low hand. As in Omaha hi, there are four betting rounds and players are required to make their final poker hand using two of the four pocket (hole) cards dealt to them and three of the five community cards.
A Qualifying Low Hand
In order for a split pot in Omaha hi-lo to even be a possibility, there must be a qualifying low hand. A low hand is five unpaired cards all valued at 8 or lower. Ace is valued as the lowest card in a qualifying low hand making the best qualifying low hand an Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Step 1 – The Blinds
To begin the game, the player on the left of the dealer must place the small blind – a bet that is half the value of the low limit stake of the table. The player to the left of the small blind places the big blind which is a bet that is equal in value to the low limit stake of the table.
Step 2 – The Pocket (Hole) Cards
The four pocket cards are dealt, face down to each player. Only two of these can be used in the final hand.
Step 3 – The First Betting Round
This is the pre-flop and starts with the first active player to the left of the big blind. Players are able to call, raise or fold.
Step 4 – The Flop
The dealer burns one card and deals the first three of the community cards, face up into the center of the table.
Step 5 – The Second Betting Round
The first active player to the left of the big blind starts the betting with players able to call, raise or fold.
Step 6 – The Turn
The dealer burns one card and deals one more community card face up into the center of the table.
Step 7 – The Third Betting Round
The first active player to the left of the big blind begins the third betting round and all remaining players can call, raise or fold.
Step 8 – The River
The dealer burns one card and deals the last of the five community cards face up into the center of the table.
Step 9 – The Fourth Betting Round
The first active player to the left of the big blind remaining in the game starts the betting round. Players can call, raise or fold.
Step 10 – Determining the Winner
By the end of the game, there can be two winners – the high winner and the low winner. If there is more than one qualifying low hand, the lowest hand wins. If there is more than one identical low hand, the highest cards of the low hands are compared to determine the winner. In this case, the pot is split 50/50 between the high winner and low winner. If there are no qualifying low hands in the game, the entire pot is won by the high winner. It is not common, but a player can win both the low hand and the high hand and in this case, he will win the entire pot. This can occur if the low hand is in one suit and that hand, as a flush, is the highest ranking hand as well. The Ace can be used in the low hand as a low card and the high hand as a high card.