Pot Limit Omaha strategy – for texas hold’em players

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If you are looking for a game other than No Limit Texas Hold’Em, Pot Limit Omaha is one of the most popular games spread (especially in a live environment). In this introductory article, we have some great Pot Limit Omaha strategy advise for transitioning no limit hold’em players.

Key rule differences

  1. Each player is dealt at least 4 cards face down preflop (instead of 2 in texas hold’em). It is important to note that this changes the complexity of the game enormously – instead of having 1 hold’em 2 card preflop hand, you can have 6 distinct hands. Lets say you hold A[s]A[d]T[s]9[d] you have the following hold’em hands – A[s]A[d], A[s]T[s], A[s]9[d], A[d]T[s], A[d]9[d], T[s]9[d]
  2. You must use exactly 2 cards from your hand and 3 from the shared cards on the board to make your 5 card hand. So if you are dealt A[s]A[h]A[d]A[c] in a deep stacked full ring PLO game, this isn’t something to get excited about – you don’t have (and won’t be able to make) quad aces or three of a kind aces – as you can only use 2 cards from your hand. You also cannot make any flushes (as you will have to use 2 cards from your hand, one of which won’t be of the flush suit), but note you do block all 4 nut flushes which could be useful.
  3. Unlike no limit texas hold’em where there is no maximum bet size, in pot limit omaha there is a cap put on bet or raise sizes. The maximum bet is the size of the pot. You should note if you want to raise someones bet, your maximum raise size is the size of the pot if you had called – for example if your opponent bets $100 into a pot of $100, had you called the pot size would have been $300. This means you are allowed to put in $400 into the pot should you wish ($100 for your call, and $300 for the raise). Facing such a bet you can fold, call $100, or put in a maximum of $400. If this seems complicated, just remember the maximum amount you can raise to (including your call) is THREE TIMES the previous bet, plus any money ALREADY in the pot prior to the previous bet – in this case the previous bet was $100, and there was $100 already in the pot prior to the previous bet – so the maximum amount you can raise to (including your call) is 3x$100 + $100 = $400. As you can see if 1 opponent has bet the exact size of the pot, and everyone else has folded in between, and you are considering raising, an even quicker formula for the amount you can raise to (including your call) is 4x his bet. If one person has called, this formula becomes 5x the original bet, etc.

Key Pot Limit Omaha strategy

At betzoo.uk we think the key things transitioning NLTH players will want to consider regarding their Pot Limit Omaha strategy are the following:

Equities run closer, but don’t dismiss PLO as a game of luck

With the equivalent of 6 hold’em hands dealt to each player preflop, equities tend to run a lot closer than hold’em. That is to say even with what you might consider a strong opening hand, versus a drawing hand from your opponent, you will not be as strong a favorite as you might have been in hold’em. However, you should not take this information to conclude that PLO is a 50-50 game of luck. Especially when playing deep your decisions about which hands to play preflop (and how), pursuing high quality draws postflop, and using position wisely will help you get an edge on your opponents.

Making the actual nuts is important when deeper stacked

The deeper stacked that you are the more important it will be when drawing to be doing so to the actual nuts. Making the second best hand, when your opponent has 6x the possibilities as hold’em from his starting hand will not serve you well.

Being able to retain equity through the streets is important

You will need to be aware of hands that are the nuts on the flop, but will not be so on a majority of cards to come – unless you can get the money in when you are the favorite, you will have to be careful.

You have a lot of information in your pocket cards

Having 4 cards in your hand, gives you a lot of information, especially when it comes to blockers. When you can block all the majority or even all of the strongest possible hands, and there is a lot of money behind, you should be able to take down the pot.

Be prepared for higher variance

The variance inbuilt into this game is higher than NLTH. As such, you require a bigger bankroll (in terms of buy-ins, relative to the stakes you are playing). You will also need to have the ability to not tilt when big swings occur (as they inevitably will).