How to Play Omaha 8 Poker

The second most popular poker game today is Omaha high-low split eight or better, mercifully shortened to Omaha 8 poker. Omaha 8 poker can be a very profitable game, as many players don't understand the rules and how to determine the best low hand. Here is a short tutorial explaining the rules and how to play Omaha Poker.

Omaha 8 poker is played in limit and pot-limit with the final pot often split between the best high hand and best low hand. Omaha 8 poker is spread nine or ten handed and has a rotating blind system. Each player is dealt four down cards, often called hole cards.

Then three community cards are dealt face up in the center of the table. This is often called the flop. Another card is dealt face up and called the turn, followed by the last card being dealt face up called the river.

Rounds of betting are before the flop, after the flop, after the turn and after the river. Each player must use exactly three cards from the five community cards and two from his or her hand in any combination to form a high hand and a low hand. The same two cards do not have to be used for the high and the low.

Please note that if there are not at least three community cards ranked eight or below, there will be no low hand and the entire pot will be awarded to the best high hand. The most important rule is: Each player must use exactly three community cards and two hole cards.

It sounds simple, but many players, especially at lower limits don't understand the rules. Many times two players will have the same low hand and split the low half of the pot. This is often called “getting quartered.”

In Omaha 8 poker, there is an 8 qualifier. This means that to have a hand that qualifies for low, you must have five non-paired cards eight or below. One thing that often confuses players is how to correctly determine which hand is the lowest.

The easiest way to do this is to read the hands backwards like a number. For example, 8 5 3 2 A would be read 85,321. The lower the number, the lower the hand. Here are a few examples in order from lowest to highest to help you understand how this works:

  • A 2 3 4 5 54,321
  • A 2 4 5 6 65,421
  • 2 3 4 5 6 65,432
  • 3 4 5 6 7 76,543
  • A 2 3 4 8 84,321

See also Omaha Poker Starting Hands