So as a beginner you have decided to take the plunge into omaha hi lo. So, as with any other form of poker, a beginner needs to know which hands to play. This article will help the beginning omaha hi lo player know which hands are most likely to show a profit in the long run when playing. Although most written literature on forms of poker tell you that starting hand requirements are subject to change depending on game situations, the fact is that in omaha hi lo, at a full table, being the tightest player in the game can actually be all you need to do to turn a profit. Much like regular omaha, few hands are actually a monster hand against another random hand heads up, but multi-way pots in a full ring game of omaha hi lo is the standard, and the winning hi will often be the nuts, and the winning low hand is more often than not going to be the A2. On a low flop, A2 is so much more likely to win than a low hand like 25 or 47, and there will be a lot of dead money in the pot. So below is a great list of starting hands for the beginning omaha hi lo player.


With an A2 hand you are probably going to see any flop. With any A2 hand you will probably want to limp along up front and in middle positions regardless of trashy backup or great backup like other wheel cards and a matching suited card to your ace. In later position in a loose game you can raise with the great A2 hands and expect the callers to call all the way down the line which you want in omaha hi lo. Isolation is not very important like other poker games. While you can see a flop and probably get away with calling a raise along with everyone else, you probably want to fold if your A2 has two trashy cards with it and there has been a reraise before it gets to you. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you have a great A2 hand like A-2-A-3 double suited in one of the blinds feel free to raise it up, as you will never find more preflop calling stations in any other poker game as much as you will in omaha hi lo. Again, the premium A2 hands will have a suited Ace, another wheel card, something that will generally have a big chance of scooping the pot. As a beginner the A2 will be a comfortable hand to play.


The A3 hands are not as great as your A2 hands, but given the other two cards can be pretty playable for the beginning omaha hi lo player. The A3 hands you should be playing, with the best chance of winning money are A3 hands where the A is suited with another card, or an A3 with two big cards like A-3-K-J, or an A3 with another wheel card, like A-3-4-X or A-3-5-X. Any other type of A3 is pretty much just asking for trouble in a multi way pot especially for a beginning player.


This hand is not as great as the hands above, but in a typical loose omaha hi lo game, a beginner can play this hand in any position as long as they know to immediately get out of the hand if they don’t connect with the flop. You are mostly hoping on the flush to hit for high, but need a pretty specific flop for your low to pan out. But on the whole, the A-4-5-X with a suited ace should be playable in a loose omaha hi lo poker game.


Much like an omaha hi only game, the AA hand in omaha hi lo poker can vary greatly depending on your other two cards. However, unlike most situations in omaha hi only poker, some AA hands in omaha hi lo are entirely unplayable. Any A-A-2-x hand is a great hand, and you can pretty much raise and reraise at will in any position, especially if the ace is suited. A-A-2-3 double suited is the best possible starting hand in the game of omaha hi lo poker. Feel free to raise as much as possible with that hand and in a pot limit game be extremely happy when you have this hand and are able to get all your money into the pot preflop. If you are the first to enter the pot, or only had one limper before your action, you can raise with an A-A-3-X or A-A-4-X hand, especially if the Ace is suited if the game is unusually tight and you think you can thin the field. This is because the A-A-3-X and A-A-4-X work well heads up especially if you have position on your opponent. However in a typical loose full table omaha hi lo poker game you probably want to just limp if you expect the pot to be multi way even if you did raise and wait to see a flop before you start firing off chips. With any other AA hand you should probably just limp unless you are in late position and no one has entered yet, at which point you can raise and try to take the blinds. Any other AA hand you should consider playing would be an AA with a suited Ace, two low cards, or two big cards to go with it. Garbage AA hands like A-A-J-2, A-A-3-9, or A-A-Q-7 should be immediately thrown away. Trust me, you won’t be losing any money in the long run throwing those types of AA hands away. The problem with a trashy AA hand is that if a low flop falls, you are usually drawing to half the pot only, and even then against multiple opponents, the AA part of the hand is not a huge favorite. The beginner needs to remember that omaha hi lo is a game where you are trying to scoop a pot, not fight for a possible half, which is what will be happening if you play garbage AA hands.


Probably the last hand that beginners should feel comfortable playing are the high only hands. The high only hands rate a lot lower than the previously mentioned hands, but the beginning omaha hi lo player should be able to play the high cards for a profit if they pay attention and know the situations they are in. A warning first. More than sixty percent of the time in omaha hi lo, the flop will consist of two or three low cards. That means that when the low flop hits, a high only hand suddenly loses a ton of value because of the probable split by the end of the hand. Many times when you have a high only hand and a low flop comes out, not only are you sometimes hoping only to salvage half the pot with the hi, but often the nut low is free rolling the whole way for the hi, while they have the low already locked up. The advantage that playing hi only hands in omaha hi lo may have is if the flop comes out all hi cards. This is because so many lo hands are paying to see the flop, that when an all hi hand comes out there is a ton of dead money in the pot, especially in a game of omaha hi lo with several preflop limpers. The hi only hands are going to be the hands where the beginner is really going to have to understand the flop texture and pay very close attention in order to make a profit with the hi only hands. Of course, like any other form of poker, the flop will be much easier to play if you are in late position so you can see how the field reacts to the flop before your own action. A hi card only hand are any four cards 9 or higher. Like 9-J- K-Q, T-K-A-9, or something like that. I would go so far as to recommend that the beginner play only four cards of 10 or higher. Ideally you would like to have at least two cards suited as well. Again, these can be tough hands for the beginning omaha hi lo poker player, but as long as you pay attention to the flop and know when to bail, a beginner should be fine.


The hands we have discussed should be fine for a beginning omaha hi lo player. You can jump right into a full ring omaha hi lo game with these being the only kinds of hands you play and do just fine. Once you start to understand the game a little better, you might be able to profitably play other types of hands like 2-3 type hands and other marginal holdings, but first you should concentrate on the hands above, and even if you only ever play the hands listed above in a full omaha hi lo game and never put more hands into your arsenal, you would still make money in the game. So memorize those types of hands and jump right in. Good luck.

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