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Basic Pot Limit Omaha Strategy

As with any game, there a variety of potentially successful approaches to PLO. However, if you are new to PLO, there are some guidelines that can help steer you out of trouble. We cover the differences between PLO and No-Limit Hold’em (NLH) elsewhere, but some of the guidelines below underscore how PLO plays differently from Hold’em. Understand that these guidelines are largely for use at your local casino/cardroom against mostly recreational players. These strategies are not intended for high stakes, professional play.

Play Strong Starting Hands that Can Flop Multiple Strong Combinations

PLO hands benefit greatly by the capacity to hit multiple types of flops. While high pairs have value as in NLH, high pairs that share suitedness with other cards in your hand are even better. Middle to high runs of four cards that can make straights in multiple combinations, and even better, have suitedness are strong holdings. Below is a chart that provides a good starting ground in evaluating strong hands. If you are new to PLO, your starting hands should look a lot like these to put you in good position on the flop.

Top 30 starting hands (all double suited):

1. A-A-K-K 11. K-Q-J-10 21. Q-Q-A-K
2. A-A-J-10 12. K-K-10-10 22. Q-Q-A-J
3. A-A-Q-Q 13. K-K-A-Q 23. Q-Q-A-10
4. A-A-J-J 14. K-K-A-J 24. Q-Q-K-J
5. A-A-10-10 15. K-K-A-10 25. Q-Q-K-10
6. A-A-9-9 16. K-K-Q-J 26. Q-Q-J-10
7. A-A-x-x 17. K-K-Q-10 27. Q-Q-J-9
8. J-10-9-8 18. K-K-J-10 28. Q-Q-9-9
9. K-K-Q-Q 19. Q-Q-J-J 29. J-J-10-10
10. K-K-J-J 20. Q-Q-10-10 30. J-J-10-9

Many players who start playing PLO look at their four cards and see infinite possibilities, no matter how weak the holding. Do not become the “any four cards” PLO fish.

Draw to the Nuts

Because most PLO pots are multiway, and possible combinations multiplicative, the hands that win in PLO are generally very strong. Very few single pairs take down pots – sets, nut flushes, and nut straights are typically the winning hands. Thus, if you are going to play a draw, make sure that draw is to the nuts. No Jack-high flushes or lower ends of straights. If you make your hand, let that made hand be the nuts.

Play in Position

NLH players will say “Yeah, that’s true of Hold’em too.” But in the draw-happy world of PLO, it is especially true. Being out of position, whether with a made hand or a speculative one, is very tricky. Even a strong hand can be very vulnerable out of position. The ability to watch betting unfold before your action will allow you to assess your hand’s potential compared with the likely made hands or likely draws that others may be betting.

Fold to Big Bets

The GTO professionals may wince at this, but there is much less bluffing in PLO than NLH. If you feel like your two pair is probably beat when you get raised, you’re likely right. If someone is playing like they have a strong hand, they probably do. Perhaps heads up there is greater room for bluffing, but multiway in PLO, people are very rarely “feigning strength”.