Much like Texas Hold’em, players are dealt pocket cards face down, and then must make the best possible poker hand using community cards on the table and the pocket cards in their hand.
The major difference between the two games is that in Omaha Hi/Lo you are dealt 4 cards as opposed to the two that you get in Texas Hold’em. You do not use all 4 of the cards dealt to you however. You must use only two of the four cards in order to make your best possible 5 card hand.
Omaha Hi/Lo is played with an "8-or-better" qualifier. In order for a low hand to qualify be at least an 8-7-6-5-4 low to be eligible to win the low portion of the pot. Low hands in Omaha Hi/Lo are determined in exactly the same way they're determined in 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo. In the event that none of the players show a qualifying low hand, the high hand at the table wins the entire pot.
Omaha Hi/Lo Game Play:
- Blind Pay: At the beginning of each hand, two blinds are placed (exactly like Texas Hold’em) which are preliminary bets designed to encourage action. The blinds placed (the small blind and the big blind) by the two players directly to the left of the dealer.
- The dealing of the initial cards: Four pocket cards (that can only be seen by each individual player) are dealt, face-down.
- First Round of Betting: Before the flop is dealt the first round of betting begins based on the strength of the original 4 cards dealt. Betting begins with the player on the immediate right of the big blind and ends with the big blind.
- Dealing of the flop: After the first round of betting has been completed. Three cards are dealt face up in the middle of the table. These cards are known as community cards as they are used by all players.
- Second Round of Betting: Betting now begins with the player directly to the right of the dealer and continues around the table.
- Dealing of the turn A fourth community card is placed on the table face up.
- Third Round of Betting: In a no-limit or pot-limit game the betting rounds continue the same as the first and second. In a limit game betting is now raised to the higher stake amount. For instance betting increments would be $20 in a $20/$40 limit game.
- Dealing of the River: The fifth and final community card is dealt face up on the table.
- Fourth and Final Betting Round: Players make their final bets based upon their hand strength.
- Showdown: Players showdown their cards to determine the winner of the hand. The player who shows his cards first is the last player in the hand who has made a bet or raise.
- Awarding of the Pot: The player who has made the strongest 5 card hand out of the 9 (4 hole cards and 5 community cards) is awarded the pot. The pot is divided in two and is awarded to the player (s) holding the best 5 card high hand, and the best 5 card low hand. If two players have hands of equal value (the best high hand, the best low hand), the pot is divided between them. If the same player has a combination of cards that qualify as both the best high hand and the best low hand, the entire pot is awarded to the holder of that hand.