Best Starting Hands in PLO Hi-Lo
People who eat, sleep and breathe poker are continuously looking for interesting forms of the popular card game, aiming to crack the code for each.
One popular version of poker that’s a common target for beginners and professionals alike is PLO Hi-Lo. It comes with an extra rule that includes so-called low hands.
Pot-limit Omaha is the most popular poker variation after Texas Hold’em and is also a community poker game. The main difference between the two is that players get four instead of two hole cards.
In this article, we’ll briefly explore how PLO Hi-Lo works and which hands are the best for players to receive at the start of a round. Read on.
Omaha vs. Omaha Hi-Lo — Main Difference
In standard Omaha, players must take two out of the four hole cards and pair them with three community cards. They compare their five-card hands, and the player with the highest-ranking hand wins.
Things get a bit spicy in the Hi-Lo variation. Besides having a high-ranking hand, players also compete for the lowest-ranking hand. Not every player qualifies. To do that, you need to have two cards ranked 8 or below. Mind you, in Omaha Hi-Lo, an ace can be the highest and the lowest-ranking hand at the same time.
For example, if you have Q, Q, 2, and 3, you’ve effectively qualified for the low hand, as 2 and 3 are both low cards (below 9, in this particular poker instance). Next, you must make a bet and build a five-card high and a five-card low hand. If you win with just one of them and make a profit, that’s a good reason to make you grin ear-to-ear. However, there’s also a chance to win both the high and the low. If that happens and you manage to raise the stakes enough, you should be stackin’ loot.
High and Low Hands
The high hands are no different from standard Texas Hold’em rankings, so if you have at least some experience playing Hold’em or PLO, you shouldn’t have trouble understanding how they work.
The story gets interesting with low hands. The player with the lowest hand wins, but the comparison of the two hands starts with the two highest cards. For instance, if Player A has 2, 4, 5, 6, and 8 and player B has 3, 4, 6, 6, 7, Player B wins because their highest card is seven and Player A’s highest card is 8.
Best Starting Hand in Hi-Lo Explained
The best starting hands in PLO aren’t the same as the best-starting hands of PLO Hi-Lo. The Hi-Lo version needs you to have two cards that qualify you for the low-hand stand-off.
Ideally, the starting hand should be good for both good high and low hands. Therefore, the best starting hand is A, A, 2, 3, and it should be double-suited. This is a great starting position, as you can expect to build strong hands after the community cards are revealed.
Of course, you shouldn’t count out the element of chance, as the community cards might not work in your favor.
Still, if you get a combination like the one shown in this example, there’s a good chance you’re in for a scoop. The term “scoop” is used when a player wins both the high and the low hands.
Here’s a list of the starting hands currently considered the best options in PLO Hi-Lo. If you get one of these, use them.
- A, A, 2, 3 double-suited
- A, A, 2, 4 double-suited
- A, A, 2, 3 suited
- A, A, 2, 5 double-suited
- A, A, 2, 4 suited
- A, A, 3, 4 double-suited
- A, A, 2, 3 non, suited
- A, A, 2, 2 double-suited
- A, A, 3, 5 double-suited
- A, A, 2, 6 double-suited
Then again, this game has more than 16,000 possible combinations, much more than Texas Hold’em, so please remember that anything can happen even when you have an excellent starting hand.
We decided to give you an overview of the starting hands that are still considered good and give you a decent advantage at the start of the round.
- A, A, 2, x
- A, A, 3, x
- A, A, 4, 5
- A, 2, 3, x
- A, 2, K, K
- A, 2, Q, Q
- A, 2, J, J
- A, 3, 4, 5
- A, A, x, x
- A, 2, K, Q
- A, 2, K, J
- A, 2, x, x (suited ace)
- A, 3, K, K
- A, 3, 4, x
- 2, 3, 4, 5 (fold if an ace doesn’t appear on the flop)
- J, Q, K, A
- T, J, Q, K
- K, K, Q, J
- Q, J, T, 9
- 2, 3, 4, x (fold if an ace doesn’t appear on the flop)
Omaha Hands to Avoid
- Unsuited middle hands are the worst – ones you can have in Omaha Hi-Lo. This includes hands like 3 4 5 6, 4 5 6 7, J 9 8 6, and many others. These hands don’t hold a flush, a high pair, or anything else worthwhile, so you should always fold when you get such combinations
- Unsuited middle hands are the worst ones you can have in Omaha Hi-Lo. This includes hands like 3 4 5 6, 4 5 6 7, J 9 8 6, and many others. These hands don’t hold a flush, a high pair, or anything else worthwhile, so you should always fold when you get such combinations.
- Hands with two gaps like A 4 5 9 should also be avoided as the chances of getting a straight hand with such combinations is barely 1%.
- Three-of-a-kind and especially four-of-a-kind combos are also undesirable no matter what you get. For example, a K K K 7 might look good, but it has zero chance of leading to a straight or flush. It has some potential, but too low for it to mean anything. And with four-of-a-kind, you’re effectively holding a losing hand, even if those are low numbers.
- High pairs that contain two random cards should also be avoided. For instance, a K K x x is a lousy hand that won’t do you much good. However, this is not true for a high pair with low cards. This combo can be good if the entire hand is double-suited or suited. For instance, getting Q Q 2 4 is a good hand, even though Q Q x x should generally be avoided.
Many of these hands are called trap hands as they look like they could be good hands, but they mostly end up costing you money. You should avoid them in most cases and stick to the combinations we’ve covered.
To sum up, PLO Hi-Lo is an exciting game that requires players to coordinate between the high and low hands and get the most out of them. Learning PLO Hi-Lo strategy will help you improve your game, and one approach to perfecting the system involves knowing the best starting hands.