The Low End How to Play It
Recently I have been playing Omaha 8 or Better during our weekly home games, and a few interesting discussions have come up that I felt compelled to write about. More often than not those discussions turned into arguments about different situations that can come up while playing for the low hand. Since it seemed like everyone had different opinions, I decided to write this article on the official rules and situations that complicate Omaha 8 or Better (High/Low) while playing the low end, and how you can avoid them and play them properly.
How the Low Works
As explained in Omaha 8 or Better Rules, the low is the unique addition in 8 or Better that separates it from Omaha High. Basically, you want to try and get the worst hand possible, though straights and flushes don’t affect it. A good example of a strong low hand in Omaha 8 or Better would be an A, 2, 4, 5, 6. There are no pairs, and the hand is almost as low as you can possibly get. But, there are some interesting situations that can come up while playing for the best low hand, so keeping these rules in mind, read on.
Traps in the Low
It is easy for a poker player to start off with a great low hand, and end up accidentally hitting a card to pair their hand on the river. This is a classic trap in Omaha 8 or Better, and should be watched for very closely. If you manage to keep two different outs for low hands in a game, you will be much better prepared entering into the turn and river. Bet much higher when you have multiple ways of keeping a low hand, because there is a good chance other players going for the low will hit a pair on accident and be forced out. They’re really in no skill required in this though; it is just something to watch for.
Playing the Low Properly
Betting a good low hand in Omaha 9 or Better is key towards being a winner in the game. When you know you have the best low hand, or close to it, it is extremely important for you to push the pot as high as possible. Pot jacking is a very good strategy in 8 or Better, and if you bet it just right, you can double or triple your average winnings just by forcing drawer’s or weaker players to bet a lot more on hands that may not win.
Treat the high game as something totally different, and ignore players that you know are specifically going for the high end. Instead, try and get reads on player going for the low hands, and push them around with your bets. In time, this can even become a Omaha 8 or Better player’s key strategy for winning, so keep your eye out.
Finally, in Omaha 8 or Better, there are some interesting situations that can come up while playing for the low end. Let me guide you through an example:
You are dealt this: 8, J, 10, 6
Another player is deal this: 2, 9, 4, Q
The Flop: 5, A, 10
The Turn: 7
The River: 2
Here’s the situation. Your best low hand is A, 2, 5, 6, 7. Your opponent may announce that they have won after seeing your hand, thinking they have the following: A, 2, 4, 5, 7, but there is a catch. They have pared their 2 with another two on the board, and even though it seems like they could just ignore the 2 on the river and choose the A, 5, 7, they can’t.
This is where the argument begins, but the player cannot choose their board cards, so if they pair one in their hand, they must have a backup. You would actually win this hand, as you have not paired the board with your 8 or 6, and you retain a low hand.
As you can see, conflicts like these can occur, so knowledge is your only advantage. I hope this article has given you a better grasp on how to play, understand, and win the low end of Omaha 8 or Better.