Deuces beginning PLO Guide (Part 1)
POT LIMIT OMAHA STRATEGY GUIDE
This is just going to be a quick guide to get you started playing pot limit Omaha or “PLO”. Omaha is an interesting game which uses 4 cards instead of the standard 2 in texas
holdem. In order to play, all players must use two cards from their hand and 3 cards from the community (i.e. the flop, turn and river). In addition, all betting is capped at a “pot” bet, meaning there is no “all-in” as there is in texas holdem. So in order for a player to be all in, there needs to be consecutive raises until one player has no chips remaining in front of them. A player can not announce “All in” whenever he/she chooses.
Due to this constraint, PLO is a postflop game. Not that preflop is not important, because it is, but so much action takes place on the flop/turn/river, that it seems to me to be where most players struggle. That, however, can be handled by someone far better/more experienced than myself, as this is going to be more of a “crash course in PLO” than “detailed study into postflop tendencies.”
UTG raises to 3$, fold, fold, hero raises to POT (14$) (the max hero could raise is whatever is in the pot plus hero’s bet and raise) I know that might seem complicated, but whether your playing live or online, the dealer or the software will do the math for you. ...
This is not to say that UTG could not raise, as UTG could raise as well….but his max raise would be the size of the POT. I hope that makes sense, as it differs from no-limit games. There is no “open all in” as I like to call it.
Okay, now that the supreme basics are out of the way, lets do some strat talk!!!!
Types of hands you should be playing preflop:
4 major types of hands in PLO
1. Pair + two randoms
a. When talking about these hands, we mean hands such as 99xx, 77xx, 55xx,…..really any hand with a pair besides KKxx or AAxx. Fold these hands in any position. Again, as stated previously, the goal of PLO is to have hands which connect, so a hand like 5678 plays 1000 times better postflop than 5688. Avoid pairs like the plague, as they tend to destroy the equity value on hands.
2. Big pair + 2 randoms
a. These are the KKxx and AAxx hands. Most beginning PLO players tend to misplay these hands, as they think “pair of kings/Aces, I have the nutz!” Well not exactly. That isn’t to say AAxx isn’t a profitable hand or that KKxx can’t be played in situations, but so many times, beginning players will play a hand like KKxx, see a flop of Axx and have to fold. Or they raise w/KKxx, flop comes 567 and they suddenly only have a pair of kings w/no redraws. In general, I tend to play KKxx IP , in an unopened pot, but tend to fold them in EP or in the blinds. (obv table dependent, but you get the drift) AAxx on the other hand tends to be more playable. If the two xx cards do not connect w/AA, I tend to play it the same as KKxx but if they do connect…..
i. Playing KKxx and AAxx when they are connected!
1. A hand such as KKQJ ds has 1000x more value than something like KK32.
2. The reasoning behind this is fairly simple, bc KK32 pretty much has to flop a set of kings, or a A45 (nut wheel) flop to even continue beyond a flop. A hand like KKQJ can continue on flops w/o a set of kings since it has higher two pair and higher straight possibilities.
3. Rundown hands
a. This is a hand such as 5678, 910jq, 2345, you get the picture. These are hands that are connected cards. I personally only consider rundowns 4 cards in a row, but some would consider something like 4568 a rundown as well. Again, for our discussion, we’ll stick to 4 card hands.
These tend to be your most profitable hands in PLO, as they flop disguised hands, as well as have big equity against hands like AAxx. In short, donks like to stack off hands like AAxx and rundown hands play great against those. Rundown’s value is dependent on two things:
1. What 4 cards you are holding. This means a rundown of 10JQK is much more valuable than 3456 since 10JQK will make more nut hands and better pairs, 2 pairs than 3456 would.
2. Whether they are suited or not. Again, although it may seem obvious, the value increase between 3456 ds (double suited) against 3456 r (rainbow) is quite significant. The ability to make two flushes can make one hand much more dangerous than another.
a. Take for example a flop of A82 two hearts, one diamond. Our hand of 3h4h5d6d (ds) now has flopped a flush draw w/a backdoor flush draw to diamonds. Any turn with a diamond can give this hand insane amounts of equity and can be played through multiple streets.
---- However, 3456 rainbow pretty much has a 9 card wrap draw to the wheel, but no flush draw to go along. In this case, your hand will not hold up as well against aggression.
---- Also of note, backdoor flush draws are 3% equity on the flop, meaning if you had 2 of them on a single flop, your equity increases by 6%, which is a huge amount of $ in PLO…a game where a 60/40 edge is pretty standard.
4. Gap hands
a. This would be hands such as 5679, 3457, 8910Q, etc.
b. These hands have significant less value than a rundown (4567) does. This is because these hands will not flop wrap draws at the same frequency a rundown will.
i. For example,
c. Hero holds : 4568 (one suit) Flop comes: 349
- You might look at that and go “awesome, an OESD + middle pair. Were good to go!”
o Actually, not really. Let’s see why:
For our hand, we can turn a 2 or a 7 for a straight. A 2 gives us the nut straight, woo hoo! So that gives us 4 outs to the nuts. A 7 brings us the nut straight as well, so 8 outs to the nuts! That might seem great to holdem players, but in PLO wrap draws dominate. If a 3, 5, 6, 8 hits the turn, we miss the straight. A 5 6 or 8 gives our opponent the possibility to make a straight on the turn, which means we have 8 outs to the nuts, but pretty much any card OTHER THAN a 2 or 7, and we could be drawing dead and not even know it.
o Now, let’s say our hand is 4567 on the same board. Now we flopped a 12 card wrap draw. Instead of just having a 2 or 7 for the nuts, we can make the nuts with a 2, 5, 6, or 7. We just doubled our outs at making the nuts on the turn. Yay!
-I think for beginning PLO players, spots like these tend to be difficult to play, since there somewhat disguised as we may still have an OESD on the turn, but could be drawing dead or to a chop against a better made straight.
Okay, that’s all for now, if there’s some interest in this thread, I’ll keep writing part two about more in-depth on nut draws, types of plo opponents and pot control w/drawing/made hands.
Cheers everyone, all comments/criticisms are appreciated, as this is my first time writing a “strategy article”