Enjoy Treasure hunting in PLO


PLO also known as (a.k.a) Pot Limit Omaha is a style of poker game, which is significantly different from Texas Holdem. Omaha has several variances such as four cards Omaha, five cards Omaha, high-low Omaha, etc. For purpose of this blog, we will cover four cards standard Omaha Poker. In four cards Omaha, each player receives four cards in poker hand. Similar to Texas Holdem, five cards are opened on the board also called as community cards. First three cards are opened, which are called as flop cards. Next fourth card is opened, which is called as turn card. Finally fifth card is opened, which is called as river card. Omaha poker also has four rounds of betting, which happen at pre-flop, flop, turn and river. Unlike Texas Holdem, in Omaha a poker player has to use ONLY and only two cards from their poker hand and use exactly three cards from the board. Therefore in Omaha, players don't play the board ever. This caveat of using two cards from hand makes Omaha very challenging. 


In PLO there is a pre-set limit on how much money a player can bet at each step. This limit is determined by the current pot size. At any stage a player can bet at maximum the current pot size, hence the name pot limit comes in play. Because each player has four poker cards in hand, the variance is very wide in this style of poker game. Probability of hitting three of a kind, straight, flush and even full house is very high in PLO poker. Hence, to reduce instant damage level, PLO poker limits how much money a player can place in a bet. In PLO most people participate in pre-flop bet to see if their cards hit on the flop. This higher level of pre-flop participation in PLO makes pot size of PLO poker game much juicer than Texas Holdem.

Follow these four tips to increase your winning chance in PLO poker:

  1. Pre-flop hand selection: Path of victory in PLO has similar foundation as Texas Holdem. A player should play with a good pre-flop hand only. Yes, in PLO only two cards out of four are used to create best of five cards. But all four cards in hand should add some value. Thinking of various combinations these 4 cards can work together will set a player on the path of success. Having A, K, 2 and 8 in rainbow (i.e. all different suite) is not a good pre-flop hand. Whereas, Kh, Qs, 5h, 4s is much better pre-flop hand. Because you have two possibilities of making a straight. One probable straight can be made with K and Q, and another probable straight can be made with 5 and 4. Also, you have two possibilities of making a flush. One probable flush with Kh and 5h, and another probable flush with Qs and 4s.

  2. Pair of Aces: One of the best hands to start in Omaha is having a pair of Ace. But do keep in mind that Aces are not everything. If you have a pair of Ace in hand, then you should play very aggressive at pre-flop, so all players with weak hands (but looking to make flush or straight on flop) fold. By heavy pre-flop bet you will allow only players with strong pre-flop hand. Who can have a better pre-flop hand than a pair of Ace? No one! Remember to use your pair of Ace properly. If pair of Ace is played lightly, then you can loose to a nominal hand and damage can be very big. For example, you are playing 50/100. You check with a pair of Ace and five other players also check. Good news! There is 500 in the pot. But the flop opens 2c, 3c, 10h. This is a sign of danger, as there is a probability of straight and flop on the board. Lets assume you act quickly to protect the pot and bet 500. Two players fold, but two players call. Pot now has 2000. Next card is 4h. There is a sure shot straight on board and two probable flushes. You play safe and do a simple check. Player next to you raises bet to 2000, third player folds. You are now in a fix. This player might have A and 5 or 5 and 6 to make the straight. As you have 2 Aces with you, you can relax a bit there. But your opponent can definitely have 5 and 6. What do you do now? Either go all the way in the flow by calling 2000 or fold. If you fold, you have lost the value of your pair of Aces. If you go all the way in the flow, then you are taking very big risk. To avoid such situations you should play aggressive pre-flop itself.

  3. Worthless hands: Next important skill is to identify worthless poker hands and never ever play those hands. When such cards are dealt then a player should simply fold those hands, unless the player is at big blind and all other players checked in pre-flop betting round. For example you have four 3s in hand, its a bad hand. As you have to use two cards from hand and three cards from the board, so you will be forced to use a pair of 3 and rest three cards from the board. Also, as you have all 3s in hand, so there is no way you can make three of a kind or four of a kind by combining your hand cards with board cards.

  4. Play probable winning hands: I have seen that making three of a kind and full house is much easier in PLO poker than Texas Holdem. So whenever I have a decent size pair in hand, I always match the pre-flop bet and enter to see if I have made three of a kind on the flop. I consider two things before entering the flop, whats the size of my pair (7-11 or above is good) and whats the pre-flop bet (3x BB at max). Whereas, if I have a pair of J, Q and/or K in hand, then depending on my position, I play those hands as aggressive as I would have played a pair of Aces.

When you play poker you should always thrive to make nuts. Once you have made nuts, trap your opponents and increase the pot size. This trapping strategy can vary from a player to player. Some time you might have to limp, some times check-raise, some time min bet and some time aggressive pot size bet. Know your opponent players and play per their weakness. If they are aggressive players, then bet aggressively. If they are slow players, then play min bet. If they are cautious players, then limp / check-raise. Play per your opponent players. 


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