Omaha Hi-Lo (sometimes called Omaha Hi-Lo 8-or better) is a split pot variation of Omaha poker. At showdown the pot is divided between the player with the highest poker hand and the player with the lowest. The low pot is won by the player holding the lowest 5 different cards 8 or below.

Omaha Hi-Lo can seem complex to the beginner – in fact the game is very simple once you have an understanding of the rules. This article outlines the rules of Omaha Hi-Lo from the perspective of someone used to Texas Holdem Poker.

Before the flop blinds are posted in the same way as in Holdem. The small blind is located to the left of the dealer button and the big blind in the next seat to the left. Each player is the dealt 4 hole-cards before the first betting round commences starting with the player to the left of the big blind.

How the 4 hole-cards are used can cause some confusion for new players. There are 2 basic rules to remember:

1. At showdown each 5-card poker hand is made from 2 (and only 2) cards from your own hand and 3 from the "board" of 5 community cards.
2. The high poker hand and the "low" hand are made independently, again with 2 cards from your hand and 3 from the board. Cards may overlap between the high and low hands.

After the pre-flop betting is completed the flop is dealt with 3 cards in exactly the same way as in Holdem. The next betting round is started by the player to the immediate left of the dealer button on this and on each of the subsequent betting rounds.

The turn and river cards are dealt in the same way as Holdem poker again. With a round of betting after each card.

At showdown the best high and low hands are determined independently using 2 cards from each players hand and 3 from the board in each case. If there are not 3 or more cards 8 or below on the board then a low is not possible – in this case the whole pot goes to the highest poker hand.

If 2 or more people have the same hand then the pot it split accordingly. This is particularly common with low hands. For example at showdown player A has the highest hand with trip kings and gets half of the pot. Players B and C each have ace-two and share the lowest hand. In this case each gets half of the low half of the pot. This is known as "quartering" and is usually worth avoiding where possible.

Omaha hi-lo is played in either fixed limit or pot-limit betting format (where players can bet any amount up to the size of the current pot).

The objective of each hand played should be to "scoop" the entire pot. A scoop involves winning both the high and the low sides of the pot in the same hand. The kind of hands which are able to do this usually include aces which are the same suit as other small cards. This enables a player to hit the nut flush at the same time as the lowest low hand.

Be careful and play hard.