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Omaha 8 Hi-Lo Tips

Online Poker : Omaha 8 Hi-Lo Tips
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How to choose a starting hand in Omaha 8? Learn the easy point count method from Bill Burton

by Bill Burton

Omaha 8 also know as Omaha Hi/Lo is a split pot game where the player with the high hand splits the pot with the player with the low hand. Your ultimate goal when playing Omaha 8 is to have the hand that wins both the High and the low. This is known as “scooping the pot.”

In Omaha it is possible to have a tie for the low hand and this occurs more often than you might realize. When a tie occurs the players split the half of the pot, they do not get a third. For example: If one player has the high hand and two players tie for the low hand, the player with t he high hand gets half the pot but the two players with the low hand get only a quarter of the pot each.

Choosing a starting hand in Omaha 8 can be a difficult task especially for a new player. Many players look at their four hole cards and look for a reason to play. Some players think any four cards can win and they should see every flop. This is a sure sign of a loosing player.

The four cards in your starting hand need to be coordinated. This means they should work together. You want cards that can hopefully form a straight, flush or full house. Seldom does one pair win in Omaha.

Starting Hand
Because you want to scoop the pot in Hi-Lo your will usually need to hold of an ace if you expect to win the low half of the pot. According to simulations run by Bill Boston and published in his book, Omaha High-Low, the best starting hand is A-A-2-3 Double suited. Double suited means that the A-2 is suited and the A-3 is suited as well.
This gives you a good chance at the nut flush in two different suites. It also has possibilities for a straight as well. If an Ace and a 2 or 3 appears on the board your hand will not be counterfeited and you have the best shot at the nut low as well.

Point Count
One method for choosing a starting hand is to use a point count method. To do this each card combination in your hand is assigned a value and you add together all the points to determine the strength of your four card hand.

When I started learning Omaha HI-Lo, I picked up Wilson’s Turbo Omaha Hi-Lo Split software program to practice with. In the manual was a simple point count system that is very easy to learn and has helped me in choosing a starting hand. Here is how it works.

For High:
Aces count as 30 points. Kings = 13, Queens = 12, Jacks = 11 and all other pairs equal their face values. A pair of 5’ is worth five points.
Two card flushes count 10 points with an ace. All others count 4 points. Three or four of same suite count as half.
Two card straight with no gap or one gap count as 2 points. (Ex: 8-9 or 8-T)
High Cards:
Unpaired Ace = 4 points,
King = 2points.

For Low Hands:
A-2 = 20 points
A-3 = 15 points,
2-3 = 10 points
A-4 = 10, 2-4, 3-4 = 5 points
2-3 =10
A-5, 2-5, 3-5, 4-5 = 5 points

Add up the points for your four cards for the high count and the low count. Add them together. It takes 25 points to call, 40 points to raise and 50 points to re-raise. If you are in the small blind you can complete your bet with 10 points.

A Good Foundation
I found this point count method to be one of the easiest ways to give me a practical estimation of my hand strength. While it is not the only way to choose a starting hand it is the best one to use if you are new to the game or even an experienced player who has not been having much success playing Omaha.

It is easy to miss some combinations of hands when you are looking at four stating cards. This point count method helps put thing in perspective. It will also help you avoid some of the downfalls that Omaha players encounter. The biggest one is overvaluing big pairs or hands containing a single ace but now 2 or 3.

Bill Burton

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