HiLo Poker Games: Versions

This lesson about HiLo Poker games includes an Introduction, versions of the game, hand rankings and a description of the game, Lowball taught at the How to Play Poker program.

Basic rules of these games is that the best poker hand and the worst poker hand split the pot. Therefore HiLo poker games include all players, even if they hold poor hands.

Versions: HiLo Poker Games
The most popular is a 7-card Stud version, however most poker games can include a HiLo option.
As there are generally 2 winners, the pot is split and won by the highest hand and the lowest hand with additional monies to the high hand if pot cannot be split evenly.
Interestingly, the same person can take both pots.
Rules for specific versions as agreed, may state that after the final betting, remaining players must declare whether they are going after the Hi or Lo pot.
The player who decides Lo, takes 1 chip in their hand; while Hi requires 2 chips and both pots requires 3 chips.
For those players who have declared the same, the best hand  determines the winner.
Players deciding for both Hi and Lo pots choose two 5-card hands from the cards held.
Should this same player lose or is tied for either pot, he/she loses the entire pot.
If no one wins their declared decision, the pot is divided equally among all remaining players.

Ranking of HILo Poker Hands:

As agreed by all players, the following rules apply to Lo hands.
1) As straights and flushes do not count, the lowest hand would be 5, 4, 3, 2, A.
Although, with some games, the ace is always ranked highest and thus, flushes and straights do count and would get in the way of the low hand example described above.
Therefore, with the ace highest rule: 7, 5, 4, 3, 2--not of the same suit would be the lowest possible hand.
It is suggested that aces be high or low and that flushes and straights not count for low hand leaving 5, 4, 3, 2, A as the lowest possible hand.
2) Wild card games: all wilds are counted as zero, thus, the lowest hand is 4, 3, 2, A, 0=wild.
Most players state that wild cards are best played at Hi hand poker games only, as opposed to Lowball or HiLo.

HiLo Poker Games: Lowball
The popularity of this game is appealing to players who are dealt poor quality hands in that the lowest hand takes the entire pot.
The ace is designated as Lo card; therefore, 2 aces are the lowest possible pair.
As straights and flushes do not count, the lowest possible hand is 5, 4, 3, 2, A, regardless of suits. This particular hand is named a "wheel" or "bicycle".
Sometimes, 6, 4, 3, 2, A is considered the lowest hand.
The game begins with the player closest to the dealer’s left going first. Usually, there are no rules to open the pot and after the draw, a player may check.
Two acceptable hands for this HiLo poker game are 9, 7, 5, 4, A or a hand that has an 8 high.
Most players do not choose to draw 2 or 3 cards and the declared winner is the player who stays with their cards or draw only 1 card.

Omaha HiLo Poker Game: 8 or Better
You may hear this split pot game called Omaha HiLo, Omaha 8, or simply Eight or Better. It is all the same game. 
There are two versions, Omaha Hi only and Omaha HiLo Eight or Better which is a game where the Hi hand and Lo hand splits the pot.
Omaha HiLo seems to be the most popular with the players and you will find more of these games than you will Omaha Hi only.
Low Limit Omaha HiLo is gaining in popularity as players like the chance of having a split pot. Because the Hi and Lo hands are splitting the pot, there are more players staying in for the River card making many of the pots very large.

Omaha HiLo Poker Games is followed by a Holdem vs. Omaha comparison
How to Play Poker 1 Program
Learn Poker Games 2

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Tips, Terms & Wins

Hi-Lo Omaha Poker Terms
Baby: a low card, generally a 5 or lower and offers the possibility of making a perfect low.
Brick: term for a card between 9 and a King as it is unlikely to qualify for an 8 low.
Escape: you have snagged a card that will likely win half the pot.

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