Qualifying Low

For those of you not familiar with high-low poker variations the "low" aspect of Omaha-8 may seem confusing at first. Here is the bottom line on low hands in Omaha-8:

A low hand consists of five different cards that are eight or lower.  Three of these come from the board and two must come from your hand.

There are some implications of this:

When the Low Gets Confusing

When there are several low cards on the board and you have several low cards in your hand it can be confusing to read the low. The technique you should use is to first create your low from the bottom up (meaning list the lowest cards that are either in your hand or the board first. Then when you have five cards the low is actually valued from the top down meaning you list the values backwards from the highest card to the lowest.

Example, you have

Three of Hearts Four of Hearts Six of Clubs Eight of Diamonds
Hole Cards

And the board is showing

Two of Clubs Three of Diamonds Six of Hearts   Queen of Clubs   Seven of Spades
Flop   Turn   River

Then reading first from the bottom up you have NO ace, a 2, 3 from the board, a 4 from your hand, NO five, a 6 from your hand, and a 7 from the board. Reading that backwards to get the actual low value would be "76432" and can be read as a five digit number where a lower number is better.

Let's look at some examples:

On the board:

Two of Clubs Queen of Diamonds Five of Spades   Ten of Diamonds   Eight of Spades
Flop   Turn   River

There is a low possible because there are three different cards that are eight or lower.

If you hold

Ace of Diamonds Two of Hearts King of Hearts King of Diamonds
Hole Cards

then you do not qualify for a low because you can not form a hand of five different low cards with the two low cards in your hand and the three on the board.  The two of clubs on the board has "counterfeited" your two of hearts.

If you hold

Ace of Diamonds Three of Diamonds Ten of Clubs Queen of Clubs
Hole Cards

then your hand does qualify for low because the two low cards in your hand (Ace Three) can be combined with three low cards on the board (Two Five Eight) to form a hand that contains five different cards eight or lower.