There are several casino game types that can be considered cornerstones of the industry. Sitting alongside the likes of blackjack and roulette, the importance of poker simply can’t be denied. Part of the reason as to why poker has remained so endearing in the eyes of the punters is just how diversified the game proves to be. Nowadays, the standard version of poker is accompanied by a wealth of game variants, such as Hi-Lo poker.

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Hi-lo History

What’s going to surprise some is the fact that Hi-Lo poker comes with a wealth of history behind it. During the early-1980s professional poker player Robert Turner introduced the game of Hi-Lo, under the name of Nugget Hold ‘em. The original name would never stick, but the game itself certainly would, by the time the early 1990s came around, Hi-Lo card game hit the peak of its land-based popularity when it was added to WSOP schedule. Within the era of online casino gaming, Hi-Lo has continued to hold its own. Starting with the following three casinos, which are bring players thrill a minute Hi-Lo card game action.

Practice Or Reality

When it comes to Hi-Lo card game, free play serves up plenty of social and practise fun, but it’s with cash based prizes where the action truly lies. We shall look at the “High” and “Low” nature of the game later, but it’s worth noting that the betting here can actually be fairly creative. Besides betting on whether the card is higher or lower, the player has an option to bet whether the next card is red or black and/or the suit, which allows punters to mix things up. If you want to get to grips with Hi-Lo card game, you can play it free below.

Hi-lo’ Table Layout

We’ve already mentioned it countless times, but Hi-Lo is a major poker variant. For this reason, the table layout resembles that of a traditional poker table. Within the middle of the table you have the spaces for community cards (flop, river, and turn), with players then being positioned around the table, waiting to place bets, with two cards in front of each. The dealer here works out of a single 52 card deck, while there will also be small blind and big blind buttons in effect. Once again, if you’ve played poker before, the table layout is identical within Hi-Lo, so you’ll have no issue getting up to speed.

Online And Live Differences

No matter what you hear elsewhere – like with other forms of poker – there are differences between online and live versions of Hi-Lo card game. While the rules stay the same, what we have found is that the pace of the game – along with player attitudes – do change. What you will find is that online Hi-Lo poker really does carry a quicker tempo, with the hands flying. Live Hi-Lo poker tends to carry a more methodical pace. Statistically speaking, live you’ll see around 30 hands per hour; online you’ll see 60 hands per hour (or more). Player’s attitudes are also very different within the live game and the online game. You’ll find that you’ll run into more players that call online, as many players report experiencing “bad beats” more often online than what happens during a live game. Players also found that many play a lot more aggressively within live games than they do online, as it appears that most want to push the action as much as possible.

Rules of Hi-Lo

With an online casino account to your name and the Hi-Lo card game loaded up in front of you, it will be time to jump right into the action. Helping you on your way to Hi-Lo success, we’ve decided to break down the rules of the game, ensuring that you know exactly what you’re doing, no matter whether you’re facing the house or another player. These rules generally refer to Omaha Hi-Lo, but the same generally applies to other forms of Hi-Lo as well, such as Stud Hi-Lo. Like other forms of poker, there is a button in the game that highlights the ‘Dealer’. Before the game gets started, the player that’s clockwise from the button must post ‘Small Blind’, which is a forced bet. The player that’s immediately clockwise from the small blind must then post the ‘Big Blind’. This wager will be double the size of the small blind within the game. Obviously, the blind values will vary based on the betting limits applicable, while it should also be noted that in ‘Limit’ games of Hi-Lo, the small blind is usually half the size of the big blind, but may be larger depending on the stakes. After the wagers have been placed, each player will receive four cards, dubbed hole cards. This is labelled as the pre-flop part of the game, after a player has been able to see his or her hole cards, they now have the chance to either call or raise on the big blind, while the player that posted the big blind has the option to fold. Following the completion of the pre-flop, the flop is dealt face-up on the table, with this being made up of the first three community cards within the game. After this, another round of betting ensues, with all bet raises once again being in increments of the small blind. The turn then follows, with a face-up community card being dealt on the table, and then another round of betting ensues. Wrapping up the community card portion of the game is the river, where a fifth card is place on the table, with this shortly followed by a final round of betting. With all the cards on the table and all the wagers placed, the most exciting part of any Hi-Lo card game occurs, as the showdown is nail biting and always exciting. If there is more than one remaining player in the game when the final betting round concludes, the last person to bet or raise shows his or her hand fist, unless there was no bet on the final round. Should this be the case, the player immediately clockwise from the button shows their cards first. As this is a Hi-Lo game, the player with the best five-card hand for high wins half the pot, while the player with the best five-card hand for low claims the other half. Any side bets – like those mentioned earlier – are settled outside of the main game.

Hand Rankings

If you are familiar with poker as a game already, the ‘Hi’ card rankings will be immediately recognisable, with such playing a key role in all Hi-Lo strategy. In traditional descending order, Royal Flush, Straight Flush, Four of a Kind, Full House, Flush, Straight, Three of a Kind, Two Pair, One Pair, and High Card are what you need to look out for. Where things get interesting – and arguably a touch more complicated – is when it comes to the ‘Lo’ card rankings. Where low card hands can take on any number of forms, far too many to list here, we have highlighted what are considered to be the top 10 ‘Lo’ hands:

  1. 8, 7, 6, 5, 4
  2. 8, 7, 6, 5, 3
  3. 8, 6, 4, 2, A
  4. 8, 4, 3, 2, A
  5. 7, 6, 5, 4, 2
  6. 7, 6, 5, 2, A
  7. 7, 5, 4, 3, 2
  8. 6, 5, 4, 3, 2
  9. 6, 4, 3, 2, A
  10. 5, 4, 3, 2, A

It’s worth noting that a lot of commonly found ‘Lo’ hands also carry nicknames like there ‘Hi’ hand counterparts, including Seven-Five-Low, Seven-Six-Low, Five Low, Wheel, and so forth. Remember, this is by no means an exhaustive list of ‘Lo’ hands, but it should give a solid idea of what to watch out for when weighing up Hi-Lo odds.

Best Strategy And Tips

When it comes to Hi-Lo card game, you’ll find that most major poker strategies apply to this variant, however for beginners, the key is to have a grasp on the proverbial keys to victory. Looking at what’s what, as a base means of Hi-Lo strategy we would certainly recommend that no player raises before the flop, while there is certainly no shame on folding on the flop should you have a weaker than average hand. Another key element to any playing strategy within Hi-Lo poker is being skilled at calculating Hi-Lo odds, as this game throws out such a large degree of winning combinations. If you can crunch the numbers on the fly, you will easily be a more effective player for it, while this can also have implications should you wish to card count. Looking at strategy pitfalls that players should avoid (while work within Hi-Lo game rules), playing with too many hands should be considered a cardinal sin. You should also avoid, calling all the way with only a high or low potential win, calling on the flop with only a low draw when the flop comes with two high cards, and calling on the flop with only a high draw when the flop comes with two low cards.

Hi-lo In Conclusion

There is a reason as to why Hi-Lo poker is a game that dominates the world of online casino gaming, as very few other poker variations can match it when it comes to out and out action. After taking on board everything we’ve had to say about the game, we certainly suggest that you jump into a round or two of Hi-Lo poker sooner rather than later!