In poker, the player with the best hand doesn't always necessarily win. In the game variant Hi(gh)/Lo(w) the pot is divided between the best high and low hands. If no participant remaining in the showdown has a valid "low hand" the entire pot goes to the player with the best "high hand".
What is a low hand?
A card combination will be evaluated as a low hand, if none of the five different cards has a value greater than eight (8). It does not include a straight nor flush – that means, a straight or a flush will not change the score of the low hand.
Important for a low hand is also the highest card received: for example, several players have a card with the same value as the highest card in their hand for low, the participant with the next lowest high card wins.
to form the highest and lowest cards, as usual with Omaha Hold'em, a player must use two of their four pocket cards and three of their five community cards. However it is also possible to take the same card for both the highest and the lowest hand.
poker hand A-2-3-4-5 is a low hand AND a high hand (straight). Because aces can also be used as the lowest card.
Examples of a low hand:
Before the game
Dealer (the one dealing the cards)
The dealer deals the cards clockwise to the players. Representation of the dealer is known as the "dealer button" which changes after each round to a player to the left. It also determines in which order the blinds (forced bets) must be placed.
In online poker, there is of course no dealer; the poker software performs this task automatically.
Blinds (forced bet)
Before each round the player to the left of the dealer (small blind) must post a compulsory bet (blind), for example €5. The player to their left must post the "big blind" which is double the amount of the small blind, so €10.
This ensures that in each round, a certain amount is in the pot. The pot can grow even more throughout the course of the game and will be paid out to whichever player has the best hand or bluffed the best.
Before the flop, each player receives a starting hand consisting of four face down cards (also called "Hole cards" or "Pocket cards"). The player to the left of the big blind, also often referred to as "Under the gun" starts the first round. The player can:
- call (place the required minimum bet (big blind))
- raise (increase the size of the bet required to stay in the pot)
- fold (give up their hand and take no further action in the pot)
Each player must now decide one after another for one of the three options. If it's the big blind's turn, they can, unless the stakes have not increased, also check. The player remains in the game and the flop will be dealt.
With the flop, the dealer deals three community cards that are used by players to form their hand. Once that's done, a new betting round will begin and players have the possibility to check, as long as no bet was placed. After that, players can choose any of the three previously mentioned options. Only now it will start with the first player who sits to the left of the dealer button and who is still in the game.
Once the betting round ends, the fourth community card (Turn) will be revealed. After that another betting round will begin.
Once the betting round ends, provided that there are still participants in the game, the fifth and last community card (River) will be revealed. The last betting round follows.
If after the last betting round more than one participant is still in the race, there will be a showdown. All remaining participants have to select five of their nine cards to form their poker hand.
As previously mentioned, a poker hand in Omaha can only be made up of two of the four pocket cards and three of the five community cards. The pot will be split between the best high and low hand.
If two or more players have the same low hand, then the pot for the best low hand will be shared amongst them, the same as with high hands (split pot).