How To Read The Board Properly In Omaha Hi-Lo
New or beginner Omaha Hi-Lo players making mistakes reading the board properly is a fairly common occurrence. This article will explain how to read the board properly for both the high and low hands in Omaha 8 Or Better and hopefully help you to avoid those costly mistakes.
The most important concept of reading the board in Omaha Hi-Lo is to remember that you can use only two of your hole cards and three of the community cards to make your hand. Unlike Texas Holdem, this is the only combination of cards that you will be able to use to make your hand.
Also be sure to remember that your high and low hands are assessed independently, meaning that you can use two of your hole cards and three community cards to make your high hand while using different hole and community cards to make your low hand. On top of these combinations you can also use the same hole and/or community cards to make your high and low hand. This is especially effective with Aces as they are played both high and low in Omaha 8 Or Better.
Reading the board in Omaha Hi-Lo can be a bit complicated for new players since there are so many different factors to calculate in comparance to games like Texas Holdem so we've included a few example hands below to help you better understand the game.
High Only Hands - Example 1
Board Cards: 9-9-9-J-Q
Hole Cards: 6-6-A-Q
In this example your best hand is a full house, 9's full of 6ís. The reason is because you can only use two of your hole cards (6,6) and three community cards (9,9,9). You cannot use your Queen to make a higher full house because then you'd be using four community cards.
This example hand is not a very strong hand because any opponent with a pair higher than 6's will have made a higher full house than you. We should also note that there is no possible low in this hand because there are not three cards ranking 8 or below on the board.
High Only Hands - Example 2
Board Cards: 7-8-9-10-J (All Spades)
Hole Cards: Q (Spades)-7-7-7
In this example you do not have a straight flush or even a straight, your best hand is trip 7's. The reason is the same as the last example, you can only use two of your hole cards. You cannot use your Queen to make the straight flush because, once again, you'd be using four community cards.
High And Low Hands - Example
Board Cards: 6-7-8-Q-K (4 different suits)
Hole Cards: A-2-9-10
In this example you have the best possible high and low hand. Remember that you can use different different hole and community cards to make your high and low hand? Your low hand here would be A-2-6-7-8 (using your A,2 and the 6,7,8 from the board) and your high hand would be a straight, 6 to 10 (using your 9,10 and the 6,7,8 from the board).
In this example hand you will more than likely scoop the pot (win both the high and low pot) or atleast quarter any opponent (win the high pot but split the low one).
Now that you understand how to read the board and the basic game play of Omaha Hi-Lo be sure to check out our more in depth Omaha Strategy articles HERE.
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