Sometimes poker hands are won or lost before the flop is dealt. This is true in Texas holdem, and it’s even more true in Omaha hi lo. The trick to understanding Omaha hi lo starting hands is understanding that your hole cards should be coordinated. If your opponents play any four cards that “look good,” or if they play hole cards where only three of the four cards are coordinated, then you’ll gain a mathematical advantage by folding unless all four of your hole cards are coordinated.
The Best Possible Omaha Hi Lo Starting Hand
The absolute best starting hand you can hope for in Omaha hi lo is A234, especially if the ace and one of the other cards are the same suit.
One key to winning money at Omaha hi lo is “scooping” pots. You’re said to scoop a pot when you have both the best high hand and the best low hand, so you win both halves of the pot.
If you have an ace and another card of that suit, your chances of getting a flush aren’t bad, and an ace high flush is the best possible flush you can hope for. It’s not a sure thing, as a flush can still be beaten by four of a kind or by a full house, but a flush is a mighty fine hand.
Having the ace and the two also give you a great shot at getting the best possible low hand. And having the three and the four will help you get the best low even if a two hits the board. (If your low cards pair on the board, then that’s called being “counterfeited.”)
The Other Best Starting Hands in Omaha Hi Lo
These are also great starting hands:
- AK34 – You’re especially looking for this combination to be “double suited.” For example, if you have the ace of spades and the four of spades, then you’ve got a great chance of hitting an ace high flush. And if the king and three are both diamonds, you’ve got two opportunities to hit a big flush. And hitting the best low hand is easy as long as two hits the board with two other cards under eight.
- AA23 – You’re also looking to be double suited here, and for the same reasons. If you play Texas holdem, then you know that a pair of aces as hole cards is a strong opening hand, and if you’re double suited, you’ve got lots of opportunities for flushes here. Since you have both a two and a three, you’ve got some counterfeit protection toward the best possible low hand.
- AAKK – This hand is weaker than the other hands, because it has no low hand potential. But not every board will have a low hand, so you can sometimes scoop the pot anyway. If this hand is double suited, then you have lots of high card strength and flush potential. High straights are a real possibility here too, as are full houses.
- A23x – You’re hoping that the ace is suited with one of the other cards, so that you have the flush potential. The “x” could be any card at all. You still have counterfeit protection. With lots of players in a pot, this somewhat speculative opening hand can win you a lot of money.
When you get premium starting hands like this, get money in the pot by betting and raising preflop. In poker, it’s always good to turn on the gas when you have the advantage. Read More