Playing Omaha Hi Lo After the Flop
The first thing to know about playing the flop in Omaha hi lo is that you should start thinking about the flop before it’s ever dealt. When you decide to play a hand preflop, you should think about what kind of flop you’d most like to see.
After the flop is dealt, you should look at two things: how well it fits your hole cards, and which hole cards someone else might have that fits the flop better.
A flop with a pair showing means that the best high hand possible is usually four of a kind. (Sometimes a flop with a pair might still give someone a draw to a straight flush though.) A full house might be a good hand in this situation too, and if you have a card of the same rank as the pair on the board, it’s impossible for your opponent to have the quads. You have one of the cards she needs.
A flop with two or three cards of the same suit creates flush possibilities. Can your hand beat a flush?
A flop with two or three cards in rank sequence creates straight possibilities. Can your hand beat a straight?
A flop where all three cards are ranked above eight means that there will be no possible low hand. Can you win with a high hand?
A flop where two or three cards are ranked below eight creates low hand possibilities. Do you have a shot at the low hand?
Combinations of these types of flops happen all the time too. A flop can include a pair and two cards of the same suit too. If you get a flop consisting of the king of hearts, the two of hearts, and the two of spades, then you have a potential flush if you’re holding two hearts. If you have a king or a two in the hole, then you have full house possibilities too.
If you’ve lost the high hand, but won the low hand, and another player has won the low hand too, then you’re going to split the low hand half-pot with the player you tied with. That’s called getting quartered. It sucks because even though you won part of the pot, you usually haven’t won as much money as you put into the pot. (It depends on how many players were in the pot. You need four or more players in a quartered pot to break even or come out ahead. And even if you come out slightly ahead, it’s not enough to make you a long term winning player.)
As much as getting quartered sucks, it’s still better than having the second best low hand. If you have the second best low hand, you get nothing, and that’s how a lot of Omaha hi lo players lose a lot of money.
When you win both the high hand AND the low hand, then you’re scooping the pot. This is the key to winning at Omaha hi lo. If you’re scooping pots, you’re not getting quartered.
After the Flop
If you follow one general rule playing after the flop in Omaha hi lo, let it be this one: don’t play unless you either have the best possible hand or a draw to the best possible hand. (This can be a draw to the best possible high hand or the best possible low hand, but preferably it’s both.)
Second best hands in Omaha hi lo suck. There are too many card combinations out there to draw to a second best hand and hoping to win a lot of money.
In Texas holdem, you’ll often fold drawing hands because you’re not getting pot odds. But in Omaha hi lo, it often makes sense to continue in a pot if you’re drawing to the nuts. (“The nuts” is the best possible hand.)
If someone raises before you act after the flop, then tighten up and consider folding. Chances are they have A2, so your A3 is probably no good. (This depends on the flop though. If you have A3, and the flop is 245, go ahead and re-raise.) You can assume that someone who raises a flop in an Omaha hi lo game has the best possible high hand, the best possible low hand, or draws to good high or low hands.
If you’ve got the best possible hand on the turn, then bet and raise. Be aggressive and get money in the pot. Don’t rely on the other players to bet your hand for you.
On the other hand, if you have the best possible low AND the best possible high hand, you might consider betting and calling to avoid running off the players who might pay you off.
In Texas holdem, hands are usually determined by what happens on the flop. But in Omaha 8, the extra combinations make the river more important. That’s because Omaha hi lo is a game of straights, flushes, and full houses. If you have the best possible high hand on the river, get aggressive. Bet and raise.
On the other hand, if you have the best low hand, you still might get quartered, so you might not bet so aggressively.