How To Play Omaha 8 or Better

As variations of poker continue to gain in popularity both online and in casinos, more people are discovering the game called Omaha 8 or Better. This poker game, similar to the more well-known Texas Hold'em, is also sometimes called Omaha High-Low (or Omaha Hi-Lo). Here are the basics of this gambling card game.

  1. Before any cards are dealt, the player sitting to the left of the dealer is required to wager an amount equal to half of the minimum bet established for the game. This is called the "small blind".
  2. The next player to the left then must bet the "big blind" which is equal to the minimum bet for the game.
  3. Once these wagers have been made, the dealer distributes four cards, face down, to each player at the table.
  4. The Omaha 8 game begins with the player sitting to the left of the person who bet the big blind. He may make a bet equal to the big blind - this is known as "calling" - raise the bet amount, or fold and leave the hand of the game without risking any money. Play continues around the table in a clockwise fashion until it makes a complete circuit.
  5. After this betting round, the dealer places three cards face up in the center of the table. These cards, called the "flop," are shared cards that can be used in any player's hand. Another betting round follows the disclosure of this set of three cards.
  6. A fourth community card, the "turn," is dealt and another betting round follows. Often, the bets are double the minimum bet at this point in the game.
  7. The final card for the table, known as the "river," is dealt. A final round of betting is played after the river card is revealed. Each player now has four personal cards and five community cards from which to make a five-card poker hand. However, there are some restrictions: each player must make their hand from two of his personal cards, along with three of the shared community cards Remaining players disclose their hands to reveal the winner.
  8. In most Omaha 8 games, the best high hand wins half the pot and the remainder is paid to the player with the best low hand. However, the low hand must not have a card exceeding an 8 in order to qualify as a winner (hence the name, "Omaha 8").
  9. High hands follow typical poker rules, so the best high hand is a Royal Flush (Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Ten, all of the same suit). Next best would be a straight flush, which is any five sequential cards in the same suit, then four of a kind, full house and so on.
  10. For low hands, the goal is to have as little of poker value in your hand as possible. Straights and flushes are not usually counted against the player. Therefore, Ace, two, three, four, five is the best low hand. A pair of Aces is considered lower than a pair of twos. Some Omaha games have varying rules, such as not allowing a straight or flush in a low hand, so make sure you understand the rankings before you begin to play. In a game that recognizes straights, the best low hand would be an Ace, two, three, four and six.


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