Omaha Hi-Lo – Win and the Win Again!

Omaha-Hi-Lo has basically all the same rules as its sister poker genre, PLO. However, there is one small difference. However, this small difference plays a significant role in how this game is played and the strategy involved. Omaha Hi-Lo is also a game of draws, but it does double duty with two hands splitting the winnings on the river – a high (Hi) hand and a low (Lo) hand!

There are other poker variations where the Lo hand wins. However, in Omaha Hi-Lo both the Hi and the Lo get to split the pot. These types of games are also called split games for this very reason. The best low hand in Omaha Hi-Lo is 5-4-3-2-A, a straight, also called the Wheel. The best high hand is a Royal Flush.

Learning how to play Omaha Hi Lo can take time. However, there are some basic Omaha Hi-Lo rules that can get you started down the right path.

Firstly, let take a quick look at how this game started.

A Quick History of Omaha Hi-Lo

There are two very interesting facts about the game of Omaha:

  1. The game of Omaha was most likely formed in the Detroit or Chicago areas in the late 1960s. It was not named after the city of Omaha, Nebraska.
  2. In the 1980s the game hit the poker rooms in Vegas, and the Hi-Lo split variation was added. However, Hi-Lo split games have been around since the early 1900s.

So, what has Omaha, NE have to do with the game? Well, this poker format – and its many variations - has been played all over the south-west regions in the US, therefore picking one location was difficult. Omaha seemed as good a choice as any, and so the name stuck.

Quick Guide to Omaha Hi-Lo

Before you get ready to take on the competition, let’s go over some of the Omaha Hi-Lo rules:

  • Omaha Hi-Lo has the table setup as in Hold’em or PLO with a Button, Small and Big Blind.
  • Once again, the Blinds are forced bets that seed the pot.
  • The Button is still the player who has position in every round after the flop.
  • Players are dealt 4 hole cards, face down. However, you can and must choose only TWO of the four to play at showdown.
  • After each deal, there is a round of betting. Players can check, fold, call, bet or raise – depending on the prior action.
  • Your ultimate aim is to make the best 5-card high and/or low poker hands possible. You must use 2 of your 4 hole cards along with 3 of the 5 community cards to make your hand.

Keep in Mind:

  • TWO of Four Cards: You can and must use only two of your hole cards to form the best high and/or low poker hands.
  • More than Aces: Aces are a great starting hand in Omaha Hi-Lo. However, draws can be more valuable after the flop – and get you paid.
  • Keep on Drawing: This poker format is a game of draws. Getting your money all-in with a juicy one is standard and good practice.
  • Know How, When and What: Drawing in Hi-Lo is a MUST! That said, you should learn the ins and outs of drawing. When learning how to play Omaha Hi-Lo, you’ll see that there are certain draws that can lock in the nut Lo and Hi hands. These are the types of hands you should play aggressively.


Ready to win TWICE? Let’s play some Omaha Hi-Lo!