Omaha Hi Lo Tips
Pot limit Omaha hi lo, also called Omaha eight or better or PLO8, has been growing in popularity over the last several years. If you are able to master the complex game of Omaha hi-lo you can make a great deal of money. The influx of relatively inexperienced eager to try something other than holdem has created a burgeoning O8 economy.
Unfortunately there are a few obstacles to overcome. The game is a more complex than no-limit holdem. There is also less information available in terms of dedicated strategy content, articles, and videos.
That being said, the following information is a great place to get started. Check out our Omaha hi-lo tips and then get to a table and practice.
Top 5 Omaha hi-lo Tips
1. Your Cards Matter More
Unlike holdem, where you can play position and abuse the tendencies of weaker opponents, in Omaha you will frequently need cards to win. That isn’t to say that you can’t find good spots to take pots away from someone. You can. But because there are 36 cards handed out preflop in a full-ring game of Omaha hi-lo, someone is going to have a very strong hand most of the time.
Look for strong hands with potential to win both the high and low sides of the pot, or very strong potential to win one side of the pot. Use the following guidelines to rank your starting hands, adding value for suited and double suited hands (at least king high suited).
Very strong hands include: AA23, AA2x, AA3x, A234, A23x
Strong high only hands include: AAKK, AAKQ, AAJT, Any double paired hand 9s or higher
Playable hands include: A2xx, A3xx, A-baby and a pair, 23 and a pair
2. Bluff Less Often, Pick Your Spots
Bluffing in Omaha hi-lo should be done with consideration for the situation and the opponent, and in general bluffing should happen less often than in no-limit holdem.
Times when bluffing makes sense: Very scary turn or river, the low misses, paired board on the river, ace on the river.
Essentially you must ask yourself, what is my opponent’s likely holding, and would it make sense for me to be holding a hand that beats him. For instance, if your opponent was representing the nuts on the turn, and you were drawing to a solid low with A23x, and the river pairs the board, you can try to represent a full house.
3. Play for the Nuts
Because so many cards are distributed pre-flop, there is a strong likelihood that one of the players at the table will have the best possible hand by the river. For this reason, the 2nd best possible hand, or second-nuts is a dangerous hand to show up with.
If you have the second best high and the second best low hand in a 3-way pot and the other two players are raising and re-raising, there is a good chance you’re going to lose your stack.
Be careful of king-high flushes, A-3 and A-4 low, weak full-houses.
Ideally you should play for the nuts to at least one side of the pot, and hope to hit a reasonable hand on the other side of the pot. A made high hand with a low draw is a powerful hand and a made low hand with a flush or straight draw is a powerful hand.
4. Educate Yourself
There is less information available for studious Omaha hi-lo players, but there is still plenty of good information available to players who look for it. Cardrunners and other poker training sites like it have Omaha hi-lo content in the form of strategy articles and video content. Additionally there are dozens of helpful players on the twoplustwo forums who are knowledgeable about the game of Omaha hi-lo and eager to help up and coming players.
More important than anything else is practice. Put yourself in tricky situations, use your brain and reasoning skills to try to determine the best course of action, and then learn from your sessions as best you can. Practice makes perfect.
This is even more important with an ‘unsolved’ game like Omaha hi-lo. The more you play the more you will figure out what play style suits you, which moves work and which ones don’t. Check out a quality poker site like Pokerstars with plenty of Omaha action; sit down at the O8 tables, and play!