How To Play

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PLO (Pot-Limit Omaha)

For most players, Texas Hold'em is the gateway to numerous poker variants. One of the most popular variants today is Omaha, more specifically Pot-Limit Omaha, better known as PLO.

The largest difference between Texas Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha will be clear to you from the very first hand. Instead of two cards, you receive four. Another major difference between the two games is that you must play exactly two cards from a hand with three community cards on the table;

The hand rankings are exactly the same as shown in our How to Play Texas Hold’em Introduction - a royal flush is the best hand, then the ranks follow - and the same betting rounds are found in Hold'em and PLO, as mentioned in our Hold'em introduction.

Although the initial values of the hands are similar, the wide range of four-card combinations has a significant effect on their value. PLO is an action-packed game thanks to the four-card combinations that create opportunities for the strongest hands needed to win most pots.

Pot-Limit Betting Rules

The betting rounds are the same, with one betting round before the flop and several rounds after the flop, turn and river, but in PLO, players can bet the entire pot when it's their turn on any round. At the start of a Pot-Limit Omaha round, you can enter the pot at a relatively low price, but towards the end of the pot, betting becomes quite expensive.

Play Stronger Hands than Hold’em in PLO 

Initial hands are actually stronger in PLO at the start of a preflop hand, leading most players to enter the pot with a wider range of initial hands than in hold'em. However, don't assume that all four cards can win - you should always be selective in your choice of initial hands;

PLO is considered more of a draw game than Hold'em, but if you fail to make contact on the flop, you should fold. You should also note that, because of the many hand options available when each player has four cards, you should only call with very strong hands all the way to the river for the showdown.

Strategy Differences Between Hold’em and PLO for Beginners

PLO is usually the first poker variant that beginners adopt from Hold'em, so it's important to know some of the other differences between the two games that may surprise you when you first play PLO. Hold'em players tend to overestimate pairs and twos in PLO (especially if they receive a pair), as well as flushes and weaker draws ;

If you decide to chase the draw, you'll most often want to shoot for the nuts, as there are many other options in the game, and with the Pot-Limit betting structure, this will cost you a lot. This is another reason why you need to be very selective about the strength of your starting hands when you start the game;

The first "lessons" you'll have to pay for when you make your first mistakes while learning PLO will cost a lot more, and you'll then be able to open up your starting range when you're more comfortable with this variant.

Examples of Good and Bad Pot-Limit Omaha Starting Hands

So what kind of starting hands should you be looking for in Pot-Limit Omaha? 

Double-suited hands are the best hands to play preflop. Ideally you would want Spade_1 Heart_1 Club_13 Heart_13 but even hands like Club_1 Diamond_1 Club_8 Diamond_7 give you a lot of possibilities. 

As in Hold'em, you want the initial hands you choose to have colors and/or be connected. Obviously, two-pair combinations, such as.Club_1 Diamond_1 Diamond_12 Heart_12 are strong as well. 

As far as starting hands are concerned, you should avoid playing hands that contain danglers;

A hanging card is a card that is not connected to any of the other cards in the original hand. If you choose to participate in a pot withSpade_13 Diamond_13 Diamond_12 Heart_5You're only playing with three cards, and you're at a serious disadvantage compared to your four-card opponents.