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In the Omaha Hi/Lo Poker variant you hear advice like do not chase the low. But what is the difference between chasing a low draw and a high draw? Many people are satisfied with their low draw only when they already have a pair, or a draw to win also the highest hand. I don't see a reason for not chasing the low:

  1. The pot is divided 50/50 between the high- and the low-hand winner
  2. Low draw can be close/open-ended like a high draw, too

This makes the same pot odds and equity for trying to win the high and the low hand, so why the "bad practice"?

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Welcome aboard with your question. An upvote to get you started. –  Tom Au Aug 14 '11 at 20:24

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The reason that "chasing the low" is discouraged is because too often, you have a shot at only the low side of the pot.

Let's say you have a low hand draw, and a "high" draw to a straight or flush. Very often, you will make the latter, only to be beaten by a higher straight or flush. At the same time, you may fail to make your low because the card that made the straight or flush is "high."

Ideally, you will have a hand that can go "both ways." Something like K-K-2-3 can make both a high and a low hand, especially of the kings are "double suited" with the 2 and 3. But the best starting hand is A-A-2-3, especially if "double suited." That's because the aces can help make the best possible high hand and the best possible low hand.

If YOU don't have these advantages, someone else may, and you don't want to be playing against that "someone else."

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Also with chasing the low, if you catch the low, there's still the chance you'll be quartered. So you're not even guaranteed 1/2 pot if you hit the nut low. –  Chris Persichetti Aug 15 '11 at 21:02

Another reason not to chase the low is that there's no guarantee on the low whatsoever.

Suppose you've got, for instance, A2JQ double-suited - by no means a great hand - but one that you might limp in with. Now, the flop comes 47K rainbow. You might think you're still fine here, because you can always chase the low - but look at what your odds are: you have to not only dodge two straight high cards, you also have to dodge the A, 2, 4 and 7 because any of those hitting is a blank for you too.

There are only 16 cards out of 45 that help you, so the odds you miss your low altogether are (29/45)*(28/44) = 812/1980 = 40% - and even if you do hit, as Chris Persichetti notes in a comment you may still be quartered (since many people will play any A2 too far, and a hand like A3 may still counterfeit and quarter you if you get 23 on the turn and river).

That's not to say that it's never correct to chase - but your pot odds for low are almost always worse than you expect, and there are virtually no implied odds unless you've got multiple people chasing a high; chasing your low heads-up just to chop is usually throwing bad money after questionable.

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