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Basic Omaha Hi-Lo Strategy

Basic Omaha Hi-Lo Strategy

Many beginners to Omaha Hi-Lo are perplexed by the concept of the low hand. Straights and flushes have no effect on the low hand, so the "wheel" (A-2-3-4-5) is the best possible low hand. Novices also seem to encounter trouble in ranking low hands, which is based on the value of the highest card. For example, 3-4-5-6-7 beats A-2-3-4-8, although many new players believe the later to be the winner, by virtue of the Ace as the lowest card.

Poker hands are often won or lost prior to the flop. This is especially true in Omaha Hi-Lo. Coordination of your 4 "hole" cards is the key factor to a good starting hand.

Starting Hands
"Scooping" pots is the key to winning big money at Omaha Hi-Lo, winning both halves of the pot by holding both the best high hand and best low hand. Opinions vary as to the absolute best starting hand, but A♣ 2♦ 3♦ 4♣ is well up there, with a good chance of an ace high flush. Such a flush can be beaten a full house or 4 of a kind, but remains a very strong hand. The A♣ 2♦ give you every chance of the nut low, while the 3♦ 4♣ combination helps towards the nut low, even if a 2 is amongst the community cards.

Other Premium Starting Hands
A♠ K♦ 3♦ 4♠ gives you two chances of a big flush, while the nut low is straightforward with two other cards 8 or lower on the board.

A♥ A♣ 2♥ 3♣ offers a strong pair of Aces, with multiple flush chances. The 2♥ 3♣ provides protection against counterfeiting for the nut low.

A♦ A♣ K♦ K♣ is weaker than the other two, offering no potential low. However, it has high card strength with potential for flushes, high straights or full houses, which may scoop the pot if there is no eligible low hand.

When you are dealt the leading starting hands, make the most of the advantage by betting and raising prior to the flop.

Importance of Position
Good Texas Hold`Em players will understand the importance of position (relative to the dealer). Playing from an early position means that you have the drawback of not knowing your opponents` likely actions. A relatively weak starting hand may be viable if you are able to get in cheap against several opponents, which means you get a larger return on the marginal hand. This assumes, of course that the board hits your cards while missing those of your opponents.

For example, 2-3-Q-K can be played from an early position if double suited; otherwise, the wrong Ace on the board often leads to the second nut low or second nut straight / flush. A later position allows you to play weaker hands such as 8-9-10-J, which offers no low hand and with uncoordinated suits is likely to lead to a second nut straight. However, coordinated suits offer a potential straight flush. You need a hand comprising high or low, coordinated cards. Mid range cards generally lead to second nut hands and are best folded.

Mastering Omaha Hi-Lo poker strategy will help any player achieve a place amongst the elite players in online UK poker.

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