Omaha hi-lo (simply Omaha/8) is very similar to standard Omaha. The only difference is that the high hand splits the pot with the low hand - if there is a qualifying low hand (8-or-better to qualify). This tutorial only addresses the differences between regular Omaha and Omaha hi-lo. If you want to learn the general rules about Omaha then read the Omaha tutorial.
Each player makes a separate five-card high hand and five-card low hand (eight-high or lower to qualify). A low hand must be five un-paired cards with the highest card no greater than an 8. That is, any hand of 5 cards that contains card values of 9 or higher can NOT qualify as a low hand. The winning low hand (8 or better) is first decided by the player with the lowest high card. Upon a tie with the high card, the hand goes to the player with the next lowest high card. If those cards are tied, then you move on to the third highest card, etc.
At the showdown, each player can use any two of his four hole cards to make his high hand, and any two out of his four hole cards to make his low hand. Aces can be used for both high and low. Straights and flushes are not considered when evaluating a low hand. If there is no qualifying low hand then the high hand wins the entire pot. A player can win both the high and low hands. This is known as "scooping the pot".
A-2-3-4-5 is the best low hand since straights and flushes do not apply to low hands. The straight will, though, count as a potential high hand. The next best possible low hand is 6-4-3-2-A. The worst-ranking low hand is 8-7-6-5-4.
Low hands are referred to by their highest-ranking card or cards. For example, a nine-high hand is called "a nine", and is defeated by any "eight". Frequently, players refer to the two highest cards in the case of a tie for the highest card. The hand 8-6-5-4-2 is called "an eight-six" and will defeat "an eight-seven" such as 8-7-5-4-A.
Another common reference is calling a low hand "smooth" or "rough." A smooth low hand is one where the remaining cards after the highest card are very low, whereas a rough low hand is one where the remaining cards are high. For example, 8-7-6-5-A would be referred to as a "rough eight," but 8-4-3-2-A would be referred to as a "smooth eight."
Omaha hi-low split-8 is usually played in the limit version, although pot-limit Omaha/8 is becoming more popular. Also, a few casinos play with a 9-low qualifier instead, but this is rare.
HPG ADMIN on March 5, 2013