Omaha poker is very similar to Texas Hold’em, in fact it’s a variation of Texas Hold ‘em. At the start of each hand, players are dealt four cards face down. After the initial deal takes place, the first round of betting is carried out. The player to the left of the dealer represents the small blind, and the player to the left of him represents the big blind. Each player gets a turn to call, raise, or fold (or check if you are the big blind). Once the betting round is complete, the dealer burns one card and then deals the flop, or the first three community cards, face up on the table.
Then another round of betting takes place, the dealer burns a card, and the fourth community card, a.k.a. the turn, is dealt face up on the table. Yet another round of betting is carried out, and the dealer burns one card and deals the fifth and final community card, a.k.a. the river. These five cards can be used with the player’s four-card hand to make the best hand and determine a winner. To make a hand, the player must use at least two of his four hole cards along with any of the community cards to make the best five-card hand.
Omaha Hi/Lo is played exactly the same as Omaha with one difference. The player holding the highest hand splits the pot with the player holding the lowest hand. So, to win the whole pot, you have to hold the highest and the lowest hand.
To judge a high or low hand, remember that if you are holding cards over 8, you will not make a low hand. On the other hand, cards under 8 (and 8’s) will make a low hand. In your mind, you must play two hands at once, your highest and your lowest. Middle ground cards, those close to the 8, will not make a good high hand, nor will they do any good for a low hand.
Since Aces can be valued as high or low, the lowest hand is A-2-3-4-5, which is called a “wheel.” If two players both hold the lowest hand, the low pot is split, or “quartered.” With players betting essentially on two hands, Omaha Hi/Lo pots can get pretty hefty, as can the excitement. Players of Omaha Hi/Lo should be extremely conscientious when deciding to play a hand. Knowing what hands to play and what not to play is a big part of the strategy behind this game.