Omaha Hi-Lo is a popular split pot variant of Omaha. In Hi-Lo, the high hand gets half of the pot and the best qualifying low hand gets the other half. The game is highly dependant on strong starting hand selection. Many new players fall into the trap of not playing scoop capable hands and win up costing themselves a lot of money. Today, lets take a look at the Omaha Hi-Lo poker hands that you should be playing.
The concept of any split pot game is to scoop pots. Otherwise, you will many times be chasing your own money. As a result, you want a hand that gives you the best shot at both the high and low halves of the pot. This means that you must have two low cards in your hand, and the more low cards the better.
The best starting hands all include the ace. The best overall starting hand in the game is A-A-2-3 double suited. This type of hand gives you the top pair to start with, two flush draws and a three potential low draws to start with. Hands that include A-2 in them are always best because they have the two key cards in a wheel.
Four wheel cards including the ace is always a strong hand. Hands such as A-2-3-4 with the ace suited is among the best hands you could hope for. You have a nut flush potential as well as an uncounterfeitable low draw should the low come. Any four wheel cards you are going to play. In the case of 2-3-4-5, you really want an ace to hit the board obviously.
Three wheel cards with a broadway card is also a really strong hand. Hands such as A-2-3-K, A-2-4-Q, A-3-4-K, etc are strong. Also, you really are looking to have the ace suited or at least some type of reasonable flush draw. We are not saying A-2-3-K unsuited is not playable, but it doesn’t hold the same potential as a suited version.
The next type of hand that you are looking for is a mixed hand such as A-2-K-Q, A-3-K-J, A-2-Q-10, etc. You want to really have A-2 or A-3 in your hand when you play a mixed hand such as this. Again, suited is better than unsuited. The one down side to this type of hand is that it can be easily counterfeited, which means that if an ace or deuce (or three in the case of the A-3) hits the board, then your low draw is going to be 2nd best or worse.
Middling starting hands are tricky and considered trap hands in Omaha Hi-Lo. Hands like 5-6-7-8, 6-7-8-9, and 7-8-9-10 are tricky because the low will almost never win and the high is usually suspect. If you win high, then you likely will only win half as a low will be possible.
High starting hands such as A-K-Q-J, K-Q-J-10, Q-J-10-9, etc are those that you should play in specific situations. An example would be if you are in a relatively tight game and three or more players stay in before the flop. Odds are that they are all holding some type of low draw combination. The odds of the flop hitting high is much higher in this instance.
Be careful with your big pair and big double pair hands. A-A-K-K, 5-5-6-6, K-K-J-5, etc all look good, but they must hit in order to be able to continue. Play these types of hands with caution and look for ways to get out of the hand if you miss the hand. Don’t get stubborn with a naked pair of aces, especially to a lot of action.
When playing Omaha Hi-Lo, keep in mind that in order for there to be a low hand, there must be three low cards on the board. If you have a low starting hand with no backup and the flop comes all high cards, you are going to have to get out. The same for the adverse. If you start with a high hand and the flop comes 3-4-5, your high hand is next to worthless if not dead entirely. Also, you want to stay away from long shot chases in this game. If you need both the river and come perfect in order to split the pot, then you need to fold. Finally, you need to be aware of what the best hands are at all times. If the board reads 3-4-5-5, then you know that the wheel is best for low and quad fives is going to be best. Fives-full is much more likely. Knowing where you are at in the hand will keep you from throwing away as much money with inferior hands.
Omaha Hi-Lo depends on strong starting hand selection if a player is to be a winner. Knowing what type of Omaha Hi-Lo poker hands to look for will give you the best chance to scoop pots and win money in this game. Don’t fall into the trap of playing too many hands due to the number of cards and split pot nature. Play smart and watch your bankroll grow.