Pot Limit Omaha: Rules & Strategies
Pot limit Omaha has become one of the most popular variations of poker thanks to its similarities to no limit Hold’em and the vast amounts of action it provides. PLO, as it is often referred to, is the preferred game of high-stakes cash game players but is also often played in tournaments around the world.
The main difference between it and Texas Hold’em is the pot-limit Omaha betting, which is capped to the size of the pot on every street. Apart from this, players get four instead of two hole cards, while the same community cards are dealt, including flop, turn, and river.
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How to play Pot Limit Omaha
Pot limit Omaha rules are not too difficult to learn, but mastering the game to the point where one can consistently win is another story. We take a closer look at the gameplay process of the game and break down the different betting streets of pot limit Omaha.
Because the game of pot-limit Omaha is played with four-hole cards dealt to every player, it is very common to see it played with only six players at the table. In tournaments, up to nine players may still be seated at one table, but most players believe six to be the optimal number for cash games. When playing pot limit Omaha online, it is nearly impossible to find tables with more than six players seated.
As already mentioned, pot-limit Omaha is played with every player at the table dealt four-hole cards. The action starts with two players to the left of the dealer button posting the small blind and the big blind. In tournaments, these blinds change with time, while cash game blinds tend to stay the same throughout the session.
Once the blinds are posted, all players get their four-hole cards and the action begins with the first betting round. Following the first round of betting, the first four community cards, called the flop, are dealt out. Additional community cards, turn and river, are dealt with another betting round between each.
Pot Limit Omaha betting structure
The betting in pot-limit Omaha starts before any cards are dealt, with the blinds being posted, which forces the action. Once the cards are dealt, players get to call the blind bet or raise or fold their cards. The maximum size of the raise in pot-limit Omaha is equal to the current size of the pot, unlike Texas Hold’em or no-limit Omaha, in which players can bet all their chips at any point.
The first betting round, before the flop, is the one in which players decide which pot limit Omaha starting hands they wish to proceed with. All players who are not in blind positions can simply fold their cards without investing any money into the pot. However, those who wish to continue with their hand must at least call the size of the big blind.
Apart from the blinds, antes are sometimes used to make the action even bigger. In a pot-limit Omaha tournament, it is very common to see all the players having to post antes every hand, while in a pot-limit Omaha cash game, an ante may be introduced to make the action bigger and entice players to enter more pots.
Showdown: winning in PLO
A hand of pot-limit Omaha is over once the river has been dealt with and all the betting after the river has been completed. The players then turn their cards over in what is known as the showdown. At showdown in pot limit Omaha hi, players must create a hand using exactly two of their hole cards and three of the community cards. Standard poker hand rankings are used in this version to determine which hand is best. In pot-limit Omaha hi-lo on the other hand, the pot can be split between the best high and the best low hand, which is the lowest possible combination of cards that is not a straight or a flush.
Pot Limit Omaha rules: The hand rankings
Before you look for other pot limit Omaha tips and tricks, you should become aware of the basic hand rankings in online poker games. These hand rankings are used in both cash games and tournaments and they are universal. In order to make a hand in PLO, you must use two hands from your hole and three community cards. Potential hands one can make include:
- Royal flush: five suited cards from 10 to Ace
- Straight flush: five consecutive suited cards
- Four of a kind: four cards of the same value (such as four aces)
- Full house: Three of a kind plus a pair
- Flush: five suited cards of any face value
- Straight: five consecutive cards that are not suited
- Three of a kind: three cards of the same value (such as three aces)
- Two pairs: two different pairs
- One pair: a pair of the same value cards
- High card: five different cards with no pairs
Pot limit Omaha’s strategy is heavily based around making big poker hands such as full houses and flushes, so starting with cards that can make such hands is usually a good idea. Of course, the pot limit Omaha hi lo strategy differs greatly, in that players need to also think of the low hand rankings and try to make hands that can win both the high and the low half of the pot.
Pot Limit Omaha strategy: Crushing at PLO
If you have read the hand rankings and the basic rules of pot-limit Omaha on this page, you are probably ready to start playing the game. However, this does not mean you will be a winner right away, as the game can be extremely complicated and there are a lot of strategies to consider.
Before anything else, players need to learn how to choose their starting hands, which can be very difficult for beginners. With four-hole cards and many pairs dealt to every player, many different hands can seem interesting enough to play.
However, this is one of the biggest traps of PLO and serious players understand that playing too many hands will lead to losses. In fact, players should consider playing very tight when just starting out. Playing hands with high pocket pairs, suited aces, and combinations of consecutive high cards is usually the best idea.
Another very important aspect to consider in pot-limit Omaha is certainly your position relative to the other players at the table. Playing from the dealer button or the position right of it (the cutoff) is usually much easier than playing from the blinds or other positions because you get to see other players’ actions before it is your turn to act yourself.
Finally, pot-limit Omaha bankroll management is another very important aspect to consider, as the game can be extremely volatile. For the most part, players should not consider entering games or tournaments unless they have 50 or more buy-ins for the level they are playing at. Many professionals consider that even this is too low as variance in PLO can be extremely devastating even to winning players.
Pot Limit Omaha FAQs
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Pot limit Omaha is easily one of the most popular games in the online poker world and if you join any of the top-ranked poker sites we rated at PokerAvenue, you will no doubt be able to jump into some PLO games. Before you start playing, make sure to consider our advice and remember to play stakes that you can afford so you don’t lose due to variance and bad beats. Sign up today to start your pot limit Omaha career and enjoy playing one of the most action-packed poker games ever invented.