Although Texas Hold’em has been the game of choice for poker players all over the globe for some time now, things are slowly changing. Back in the day, not too many people knew how to play solid Hold’em, so there was a lot of money to be made. Nowadays, however, “everyone knows Hold’em” and it requires more work than ever before to succeed and remain a winning player. Thus, many players are looking for easier ways to stay profitable.
For this reason, there is a trend to look beyond Hold’em for a new game that carries the same buzz and potential for making money. One of the most obvious choices is, of course, its four-card cousin, the “great game” of Pot Limit Omaha.
I’m not sure anyone loves THE GREAT GAME OF POT LIMIT OMAHA more than I do in the entire world after watching back the video I just made of my play.
The amount of fire I have when talking PLO hands doesn’t compare to anything else that I do.
— Joey Buffett (@Joeingram1) August 22, 2018
If you belong to the group of players who have been looking to try Pot Limit Omaha (PLO), this article will provide you with three quick, effective tips to make the transition as smooth as a possible.
1. Starting Hand Selection Matters A LOT in PLO
The fact that Pot Limit Omaha is played with four hole cards instead of two makes many players believe (mistakenly) they can play a much wider range of starting hands in PLO. However, starting hands selection is actually a crucial part of fundamentally solid Pot Limit Omaha strategy.
If you strive to become a good PLO player, you’ll need to learn to recognize good starting hands and what sets them apart from bad ones. We won’t go into too much detail in this particular article, but a novice player should stick to a very tight range of hands.
Every poker player has their favorite variant of Poker. Mine is starting to become PLO. A lot of complexity in terms of not only analyzing ones own hand, but the likely ranges of opponents, and thinking through all streets of play.
— Michael (@mickeybravo1984) July 19, 2018
This means you should mostly play pocket Aces (preferably suited or double-suited), pocket Kings, broadway cards, and higher suited connectors. Stay away from small pocket pairs and low suited connectors because these will get you in trouble more often than help you win a big pot.
To put it in simple terms, stick to the hands that have the potential to make the nuts (nut flushes, nut straights, or high full houses).
2. Start Small – Variance in PLO is Brutal
If you’re coming from a No Limit Hold’em background, you’re already familiar with the term “variance.” In PLO, however, the word comes with capital “V.” The fact that starting hand equities run so much closer together means that even if you have a solid grasp on hand selection you can still go on really bad losing swings.
Of course, this is also the reason why the game attracts so many players with the online casino gambling background. Pot Limit Omaha provides so many opportunities to gamble it up and you’re almost never drawing completely dead. So, things can get really crazy sometimes.
— Ethan (@MysterEZ) August 11, 2018
At the end of the day, PLO is a skill game, just like Hold’em, so good players will always prevail and win in the long run. With that said, you need to be prepared to deal with some insane variance and have a large enough bankroll to handle the swings.
For those just starting up, it is probably a good idea to start playing for lower stakes to get used to this major shift in variance. Even if you have the bankroll for higher stakes, don’t rush it. Take your time to get used to new dynamics.
3. In PLO, Position Is King
In any poker variant, having position on your opponents is a huge advantage. However, in Pot Limit Omaha, the power of position really comes through. As a new player, you should be looking to play as many hands as possible when on the button, for example, because it will be so much easier to exercise pot control and get value from your big hands.
Conversely, you should be playing very tight in early positions. Opening marginal hands under the gun in PLO will hardly make you any money. Not only do these hands rarely flop well, but even when they do you’ll have hard time navigating the hand having to act first on all the streets.
— CardsChat (@CardsChat) May 7, 2015
In position, you can even go a bit crazy and enter with some speculative hands because it will be so much easier to get away when things start to get out of control. Alternatively, if you hit, it will be that much easier to apply maximum pressure on your opponents. As you gain more experience, you’ll start to realize just how powerful position is in this game and will learn to take full advantage of it.