Omaha High-Low Split

 

Overview

Omaha high-low split is a variant of Texas hold’em. It is a poker game generally played among two to nine players, with pots split between the holder of the highest hand and the lowest hand. Players are dealt four downcards (hole cards) and must use two of their four hole cards along with three of five community cards (board cards) to make their best five-card hands.

Note: Any two hole cards along with any three board cards can be used to make a hand.

To begin each hand, one or more players post blinds, after which the house dealer deals four hole cards to each player. The betting starts with the first player to the left of the big blind and continues clockwise. When all action is complete, the house dealer deals three cards face up to the center of the table. These three board cards are called the flop. Betting starts with the first active player to the left of the button. After all action is complete the house dealer deals one card face up to the board; this is called the turn. After all action is complete, the house dealer deals the final card face up to the board; this is called the river. After all action is complete, contesting players show down their hands to determine the winner or winners. The pot is split between the highest and the lowest of those hands. It is possible for the same player to win both the high and low. If all players but one have folded, the remaining player wins the pot. The house dealer moves the dealer button one position clockwise and the next deal begins.

Bay 101 provides house dealers for all games but does not participate in the actual play of the game and has no interest in the outcome of play. No player ever plays against or makes a wager against Bay 101.

 

Omaha High-Low Split in Detail

Omaha high-low split (often called Omaha 8-or-better) is a variant of Texas hold’em. Omaha high-low split is generally played among two to nine players.

A standard deck of 52 cards, consisting of four suits (spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs) is used. Unlike bridge and other games, no suit is “worth” more than any other. Each suit consists of 13 cards, ranked, from highest to lowest: ace, king, queen, jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.

An ace can be used for both high and low. That is, in a high hand, the hand A-K-Q-J-10 is the highest straight, while the hand 5-4-3-2-A is the lowest straight. In a low hand, an ace is the lowest card in the hand.

High Omaha High-Low Split Hand Rankings

From highest to lowest, with examples:

 

Omaha High-Low Split Hand Rankings
royal flush A K Q J 10
straight flush J♠ 10♠ 9♠ 8♠ 7♠
four of a kind K♠ 7 7♠ 7 7♣
full house 9♠ 9 9 J J
flush Q♠ 10♠ 7♠ 4♠ 2♠
straight 10♠ 9 8 7♠ 6
three of a kind 7♠ 7 7♣ Q J
two pair A A J J♣ 5♠
one pair 2♠ 2 J 5♣ 3♠
no pair K J 8♠ 6 3♣

Low Omaha High-Low Split Hand Rankings

From lowest to highest qualifying hand, with selected examples:

To qualify as a low hand all five cards must be lower than 9, and no card can be duplicated. (Straights and flushes do not count against a low hand.)

 

wheel 5 4 3♣ 2 A♠ ; 5 4 3 2 A
6 low 6 5♠ 3 2♠ A♣ ; 6♠ 5 4♠ 3♠ 2
7 low 7♣ 4♠ 3♠ 2 A ; 7 6 4♠ 3♠ 2♠
8 low 8♠ 5 4♠ 2 A♠ ; 8♠ 7♣ 6 5♠ 4

 

 

Play

 

 

 

When an Omaha high-low split game initially starts, players draw for high card to determine which player first gets the dealer button. Each hand of Omaha starts with two blinds. The player immediately to the left of the dealer button puts in the small blind, and the player to that player’s left puts in the big blind. The big blind is equal to the size of the smallest bet for the table, and the small blind is half that amount. For example, in a $4-$8 limit game, the small blind puts in $2 and the big blind puts in $4 [see figure 1 ].

Each deal, the house dealer distributes, clockwise, four cards, face down, one at a time, to each seated player, starting with the player to the left of the dealer button. These four downcards (or hole cards) are each player’s hand.

On the first round, called preflop, the betting starts with the player to the left of the big blind. Each player in turn has three options:

Play continues clockwise. If the pot has been opened, the player has the following three options:

Betting proceeds around to the button, who has the same options.

 

 

 

After the button acts, it is the turn of the small blind, who has the same options, with the exception that the small blind has already put half a bet into the pot, so the player can enter the pot for half a bet less. For example, in a $4-$8 game, if no one has raised, the small blind can come in for $2 [see figure 2 ].

The big blind acts last on the first round. If the pot has been raised, the big blind can fold, call, or reraise. Since the big blind has already put a full bet into the pot, the player can enter the pot for a bet less. (For example, in a $4-$8 game, if there has been one raise, bringing the bet to $8, the small blind can come in for $4.) If no one has opened, the big blind wins what is in the pot at the time. If players are in but no one has raised, this is a special case. The big blind has the option of stopping the betting for that round (by not increasing the bet); if the big blind raises, the betting continues.

The betting for the round ends when all bets have been called.

The house dealer then deals three cards to the center of the table. This round is called the flop. These are community cards; they are called the board. They become part of each active player’s hand.

 

The flop

omaha_theflop

 

On the flop round, the betting starts with the first active player to the left of the button. Players have the same choices as before, with this exception: If no bet has been made, players may elect to make no bet and retain their hands. This is called checking. If a bet has been made and the action comes back around to a player who has checked, the player must then either fold, call that bet, or raise. (Raising after having checked is called check-raising.)

After flop bets have been called, the house dealer deals one card, called the turn, to the board.

 

The turn

omaha_theturn

 

After turn bets have been called, the house dealer deals one final card, called the river, to the board. This makes a total of five cards on the board.

 

The river

omaha_theriver

 

Betting proceeds exactly the same on the turn and river as on the flop.

After river bets have been called, if more than one hand remains, there is a showdown. Active players turn their downcards up and the pot is split between the holder of the highest hand and the lowest hand that contains five cards that are 8 or lower with no pairs. Straights and flushes are disregarded when playing low. To determine which hand is best, players form two hands (if possible, a low hand and a high hand). Each hand must use two of the original four downcards plus three of the five community cards.

Any two hole cards along with any three board cards can be used to make a hand. A player’s high hand and low hand may use different sets of five cards, just so long as each hand uses two of the original four downcards plus three of the five community cards.

If no low is present — that is, if no hand contains five unpaired cards 8 or less — the pot goes to the highest hand. (The 8-low requirement is called a qualifier. Unless there are at least three cards of different ranks 8 or lower on the board, there can be no qualifier. Even with three such cards, it is possible that no player may have the requisite two low cards.) Otherwise, the high hand and the low hand split the pot. Ties for the best low hand are not uncommon, in which case one player may win a fourth or even a sixth of the pot.

If all players but one have folded on any round, that remaining player wins the pot and is not required to show his cards.

The house dealer moves the dealer button one position clockwise and the next deal begins.
If a pot is scooped (the same player wins both the high and low halves of the pot), the next hand is played with a half kill. For one hand, the stakes are increased by 50 percent.

Example Hands

Clear Split

 

Board 6 4 A K♣ K♠
Player 1's cards A♠ A K Q♠ Player 1's high hand A♠ A A K♣ K♠ Player 1's low hand none
Player 2's cards 2 3♠ 3♣ 4♣ Player 2's high hand 3♠ 3♣ A K♣ K♠
(two pair)
Player 2's low hand 6 4♣ 3♠ 2 A
(6 low)
Player 3's cards K Q A♣ 3 Player 3's high hand K K♣ K♠ A♣ A
(kings full)
Player 3's low hand none
Result Player 1 has the highest hand and wins half the pot. Player 2 has the lowest hand and wins half the pot.

 

No Low

 

Board K 2 A 2♠ K♠
Player 1's cards A♠ A K Q♠ Player 1's high hand A♠ A A K K♠
(aces full)
Player 1's low hand none
Player 2's cards 5 4 3 6 Player 2's high hand A K 6 5 2
(ace-king flush)
Player 2's low hand none
Player 3's cards K♣ Q A♣ 3♣ Player 3's high hand K♣ K K♠ A♣ A
(kings full)
Player 3's low hand none
Result Player 1 has the highest hand. No low hand is possible. Player 1 wins the entire pot.

 

Multiway Split

 

Board 3 4 6 6♠ K♠
Player 1's cards J♠ J K Q♠ Player 1's high hand K K♠ 6 6♠ Q♠
(two pair)
Player 1's low hand none
Player 2's cards A 2 3♠ 3♣ Player 2's high hand 3♠ 3♣ 3 6 6♠
(threes full)
Player 2's low hand 6 4 3 2 A
(6-4 low)
Player 3's cards A♣ 2 J♣ 9 Player 3's high hand 6 6♠ A♣ K♣ J♣
(one pair)
Player 3's low hand 6 4 3 2 A♣
(6-4 low)
Player 4's cards A 2♣ 10♣ 8 Player 2's high hand 6 6♠ A♣ K♣ 10♣
(one pair)
Player 2's low hand 6 4 3 2♣ A
(6-4 low)
Result Players 2, 3 and 4 have the same low hand, and each gets a third of the low half of the pot, that is, a sixth. Player 2 has the highest hand and wins half the pot; together with his sixth, player 2 gets two-thirds of the pot.

 

Betting

 

 

 

 

Omaha high-low split games at Bay 101 Casino have a limit betting structure.

Limit betting has two levels. The first two betting rounds in Omaha are at one level; the second two betting rounds are at twice that level. For example, in a $4-$8 game, all bets in the first two rounds proceed in increments of $4. So an opening bet of $4 can be called — or raised to $8. A second raise would make the total $12. Bets in the second two rounds proceed in increments of $8. An opening bet of $8 can be called — or raised to $16. A further raise would make the total $24.

One bet and three raises are permitted in any round after which the pot is capped and no more raises are permitted. (If only two players remain in a pot, there is no cap
[see figure 3 ].)

Half Kill

If a pot is scooped (the same player wins both the high and low halves of the pot), the next hand is played with a half kill. For this one hand, the stakes are increased by 50 percent. For example, in a $4-$8 game, the game would become $6-$12. After that hand, the limit would revert to $4-$8 (unless there was a scoop, of course).

For a pot to qualify as a kill pot, a player must win at least 10 strange bets (bets other than those the player puts in) in the scoop pot.

All In and Side Pots

If a player runs out of chips during the play of a hand, that player is considered all in and is no longer required to put any chips into the pot. Any further betting among remaining players goes into a side pot, of which an all-in player can win no portion. An all-in player can win from any other player only an amount equal to what he has put into the pot, no more. If there is a side pot at the end of a hand and only one other player remains in contention for the side pot, that player’s hand must be shown even though no one has called that player’s last bet. This is to determine who wins the main pot.