Getting the Right Starting Hands
Your Omaha Hi Lo Preflop strategy is based on your starting hands. Even though there is nothing you can (legally) do to “get” the right starting hands, choosing which you play and which you muck will make the difference between being a profitable Omaha Hi Lo player and one which is waiting for reload bonuses to be offered so they can top up their account.
Below we have divided potential Omaha Hi Lo starting hands into “Good”, Viable” and “Speculative”, but it cannot be stressed strongly enough that the value of each varies according to the skills of the players seated at the table with you and your position in the order of betting.
Good Omaha Hi Lo Starting Hands
Good Omaha Hi Lo starting hands are those in which all four hole cards work well together and have plenty of potential for catching a pot-winning hand on the flop. Double suited hands (where the four cards are comprised of two of one suit and two of another), hands which hold three cards to a nut straight or nut wheel (Ace-Five straight) and cards with high-value paired cards are the best to be dealt.
A hand such as A♥ 2♦ Q♥ K♦ has the possibility to catch a heart or diamond flush, top straight or bottom straight and can be bet with strength from any position around the table. If this hand flops the nut straight (Ace-Ten), it will also have the potential to improve in value to the nut flush or a Full House following the Turn and River.
Omaha Hi Lo Viable Starting Hands
Viable starting hands would include those with three Lo cards and one other Hi card which compliments one or more of the three cards of Lo value. Although viable, these sorts of hands should be played with care from early position and only strongly from late position or when you have connected with the board after the Flop. If however, you meet opposition from a player who you have identified as only playing the strongest possible Omaha Hi Lo starting hands, you should be prepared to fold.
Hands similar to A♥ 2♦ 3♣ K♥ would be considered viable to play in most circumstances, as a player has a good opportunity of making the best Lo hand while still having options for the best flush or straight draw. A hand such as this which does not improve on the flop (for example 8♦ 9♣ 10♠) should be discarded immediately.
Omaha Hi Lo and Speculative Hands
There is only really one justifiable reason to play speculative hands at Omaha Hi Lo and that is to get caught bluffing (see Winning Hi Lo Secrets to find out more about why you would want to get caught). However, a common mistake is for inexperienced players to limp into pots with speculative hands and, if you catch a player doing this, you can tag them up as somebody who should be taken on when you are dealt a “good” Omaha Hi Lo starting hand even when the weaker player has position on you.
Cards such as A♠ 3♦ 7♣ 8♦ look far better than what they actually are. The speculative player needs a Deuce and two other Lo cards with a value of Four or higher among the community cards to be assured of having the best Lo Omaha hand and, should he or she find a flop full of diamonds or three cards which complete their straight, it is likely that another player – with a good or viable hand – will have a better Hi Omaha hand.