Omaha Variations

High-Low Split Omaha Variations

The most commonly played of the Omaha variations is Omaha Hold ’em, 8-or-better High-Low Split – often abbreviated as Omaha Hi-Lo or Omaha/8. In this high-low split version of the game, a low hand must include only cards ranked 8 or below, with no pairs. The player with the lowest-ranking hand that meets these criteria shares the pot with the player who has the highest-ranking hand.

High-low split Omaha is sometimes played with a 9 or a 7-high qualifier instead of 8-high. In other Omaha variations, five rather than four cards are initially dealt to players, or only a total of six cards are used – although a final hand must still consist of exactly two hole cards and three community cards.

Omaha High

Omaha High is a variation in which only the high hand has value – there’s no value in the lowest-ranking hand. In other respects, the rules are the same as for a high-low split game.

Pot-Limit and No Limit Omaha Variations

Both Omaha/8 and Omaha High may be played as pot-limit Omaha (PLO), in which the maximum raise is the current value of the pot, or as a no-limit game. In no-limit Omaha, no limit is placed on the value of bets or raises, although a minimum raise value is set. A re-raise must be to at least the same value as the previous raise.

In any of the high-low split Omaha variations, pots tend to get big – because there are so many possible combinations and players can hope for the highest or the lowest hand, there’s a tendency for fewer players to fold. As a result, it’s not a good idea to play pot-limit or no-limit Omaha variations until you’re very familiar with the game.

In Europe, a popular Omaha variation is Courchevel. In this game, the first community card is dealt before the first betting round, so that each player has four private cards and the single community card on the first bet. Then two more community cards are dealt, and play proceeds as for other Omaha variations.