Poker High-Low variants

There are poker variants, which award not only the best (high) hand but also the lowest hand. The pot is split between the best and the lowest hand. You probably will not find a Texas Holdem Hi/Lo game but there should be no problem to find a Hi/Lo Omaha or 7 Card Stud game on the Internet.

Poker high-low variants

In Hi/Lo variants, the best (high) hand is determined using the standard procedure, explained in the poker hand ranking arcicle. In short, first the hand ranks are compared and then kickers. There are no conditions a high hand must meet. You can win the pot with as little as high card ten. We obviously do not recommend trying to win with such a hand, though.

Qualifying low hands

On the contrary, not every hand can be a low hand. It has to meet several conditions first. If no hand meets conditions for the low hand, the best high hand wins the whole pot. Qualifying criteria are:

 All five cards have to be of unique ranks. A hand is disqualified if it contains any pair, even if the rank of the pair is 8 or below.
 All five cards have to be with ranks of no higher than 8. If there is any card with rank or more than 8, the hand is disqualified.
 Aces are considered low (i.e. lower than 2) in the low hand.
 Straights and flushes are ignored so the best low possible hand is A2345, regardless of suits. Such a hand can be the best high hand at the same time and win the pot without splitting.
 Card suits do not matter – if there are two or more identical best qualifying low hands but of different suits, a half of the pot is split between those low hands (the other half is won by the best high hand).

Hi/Lo Example

Three final hands in some poker game are:

 Hand 1 - A8743
 Hand 2 - 65422
 Hand 3 - J7654

The best high hand in this case is Hand 2 (a pair of twos). The best and the only qualifying low hand is Hand 1 (high card eight). Hand 2 does not qualify as a low hand because it contains a pair. Hand 3 does not qualify as a low hand because it contains a jack, which rank exceeds the allowed maximum.

More articles on poker rules:

 Poker rules
 Poker hand ranking
 Poker variants
 Texas Holdem rules
 Omaha rules
 7 Card Stud rules
 Betting limits
 Table types

Go back to the Online Poker Strategy.