Omaha eight or better (O8B) is the world’s second most popular poker game right now. If you walk into any card room on the West Coast of the United States, you will find people playing O8B. Check out any card room in Los Angeles (like the Commerce Casino) or in Las Vegas (like the Bellagio), and you’ll find many different O8B limits being played. One reason for the popularity of O8B is that you are initially dealt four hole cards instead of two, therefore players find a lot more hands to play than one finds in Hold’em. The game thus generates a lot more action and plays a lot bigger than limit Hold’em. O8B, then, is a little bit more like the games people play at home with their friends. And even though there are no wild cards in O8B, it seems to have the feel of wild cards and lots of action. Lots of action equals big pots.
O8B is a high-low-split game. When you start to scoop pots (win both high and low), the money comes in quickly and in large quantities. In other words, this is the best poker game to get lucky in for a little while. Another reason why people love this game is that not even the experts seem to have a perfect understanding of a proper playing strategy for it. In fact, O8B strategy is still debated among the world’s best poker players, and everyone seems to have a different opinion about which hands are playable before the flop! In no other poker game do the top pros disagree so widely on strategy.
What does “high-low-split game” mean? It means that half of each pot is awarded to the best high hand, and half of the pot is awarded to the best low hand, if there is a qualifying low (and as the name implies, your low must be at least an eight low to qualify). If there is no qualifying low, the whole pot goes to the high hand.
In this chapter you will learn:
- How to qualify a low hand in O8B.
- The importance of having A-2 as part of your four-card starting hand in O8B. I A list of the best starting hands in O8B. 1 Preflop theory for beginners. I Fourth street theory for beginners. I River theory for beginners.
I “Miami” John Cernuto’s “three-wheel-card” theory. I Scotty Nguyen’s “A-2 or fold” theory. I Ted Forrest’s O8B experiment. I Phil’s unsuccessful O8B theory.
Let’s get to how you play this game. Be forewarned that it is a very difficult game to learn, but learning it is definitely worth the time needed to work your way through this chapter. (It may help you to reread Chapter 8.)