If you have joined Bet365 Poker with the latest Bet365 Poker Bonus code then you’ll likely have enjoyed a few games of Texas Hold’em with your free no deposit bonus, as well as the cash Play Bet365 Poker iPadavailable to you when you sign up.

But did you know that Bet365 offers other forms of poker and one of them is Omaha Poker and it’s slight variation Omaha Hi Lo?

We took a look at Omaha Poker back in 2014, so let’s now take a look at the other version of this form of poker. Omaha Hi Lo and what you need to know and understand to play this entertaining format of the game.

What is Omaha Poker?

For a more detailed explanation of what Omaha Poker is, take a look at the following article from a couple of years back where we looked at the differences between Omaha and Texas Hold’em. This will give you a basic grounding in what Omaha poker actually is.

In short, Omaha Poker is a version of the game that differs from Texas Hold’em in two key ways. Firstly, you are dealt four cards from the pack, not two and secondly, you must make your hand using two cards selected from your hand, with three from the community cards. No other combination of cards are permitted.

When it comes to the actual mechanics of the game, there are very many similarities. There are rounds of betting followed by the flop, turn and river and the players go to a showdown. The hand rankings are also the same on Omaha as they are in Texas Hold’em.

However, the fact that players are dealt four pocket cards instead of just two, does considerably alter the mechanics of the game. As players get double the amount of hole cards, they have more chance of hitting a stronger hand, which does tend to see players play more hands, more often. As such, Omaha can be a volatile format of the game at times.

How does Omaha Hi Lo differ?

Omaha Hi Lo differs from Omaha Poker in two key ways. Firstly, the aim in Omaha Hi Lo (sometimes referred to as Omaha 8 for reasons which shall become clear) is to make not just the best Omaha Poker 2possible hand using two of your hole cards, but also the lowest possible hand (with no card ranked above an eight) from your pocket cards.

Therefore, your pocket cards would be split, two going forward to complete your “Hi” hand and two going forward to complete your “Lo” hand, if your hand qualifies. If a Lo hand is not possible (if you have not been dealt two different value pocket cards below 8 for example) then you cannot win the Lo hand.

This is important because in Omaha Hi Lo, the pot is split between the Hi hand and Lo hand. The same player can win both hands if they have the Hi hand with two of their pocket cards and three community cards and can then make the Lo hand with the other two pocket cards and three community cards.

Around 40% of the time however, you may not be able to make a “Lo” hand and as such, you would not qualify for this pot as any hand you can make would not be below the required 8-high or less to qualify. You can of course, still win the Hi hand in this hand.

Some key things to remember about Omaha Hi Lo

The effect of having to make a Hi and Lo hand has a significant impact on what the best starting hands are in the game. In Omaha Hi Lo, what you need are four pocket cards, two of which will give you the best possible chance of a strong Hi hand (Ace, Ace) and two of which will give you the best chance of a low hand (2,3 ideally unsuited). Therefore, the best starting hand in Omaha Hi Lo is A, A, 2, 3.

The other thing to remember is that you will only be able to make a qualifying Lo hand around 60% of the time. If the board does not have three different value cards of eight and lower, then a Lo hand is not possible for any player and the pot will be played for in the next hand.

Another key thing to note in this game is that Lo hands often tie and high straights also tie relatively frequently, simply because as players have more cards, there is more chance that players will have similar pocket cards.

One key thing to note for new Omaha Hi Lo players at Bet365 is that when certain patterns of cards are revealed on the flop, turn and river, it can be very difficult to work out exactly what the best low hand is.  This is particularly the case when all the community cards showing, or at least four of them are low value cards.

If you are dealt pocket cards and three or four of the cards in your hand are of the same value, then this is generally a bad thing. The worst possible hand in the game, contrary to Texas Bet365 Responsible Gambling 2Hold’em Poker thinking, is a hand of four twos.  This is because with two pairs of two, you can’t qualify for the Lo hand, and for the Hi hand, you cannot hit another two as you hold both of the other two’s in your hand.

Middle ranked hands are also generally ones to avoid if possible as they are not likely to qualify for the Lo hand, and if they do, they may be ranked too high to win the pot. Furthermore, they don’t score particularly well against higher ranked cards in the High Hand. Even if you hit a flush or a straight then they are usually weaker than straights or flushes other players may hold.

Low hand rankings in Omaha Hi Lo

One of the biggest and most confusing aspects of Omaha Hi Lo is what constitutes a ‘strong’ Lo hand. However there is a very simple and easy trick for working out how your hand ranks. In Hi Lo, the best “Lo” hand you can get which would win the pot, is 5-4-3-2-A (which counts as a One in this instance), whereas the worst Lo hand you can get is 8-7-6-5-4.

Oddly enough, what this means is that you can check how valued your Lo hand is by comparing it to any number between 54321 and 87654. The lower the number your card values make, the more chance your Lo hand has of winning the pot. Obviously any number that has a pair  or more of similar value integers is discounted from this range (so you would not count 5-4-3-2-2 for example or 5-4-3-4-3)

Omaha Hi Lo at Bet365 isn’t as popular a game as Texas Hold’em, but it is a game full of subtle nuance and offers a very different take on poker as you are likely to understand it. We’d recommend playing a few hands practice first using any available free to play tables, before venturing into the game with real cash in your pocket.