This is a very brief introduction to Pot Limit Omaha, explaining the mechanics of play and giving a few pointers for starting out.
In PLO you are dealt four hold cards, as opposed to the two you get in Texas Hold’em. Like Hold’em, there is a flop, turn and river and at showdown, you must use a combination of two cards from your hand with the five community cards to create the best hand.
Unlike Hold’em you must use two hole cards as part of the combination to make your hand.
4 Hole Cards Change Dynamic Of Poker
The switch from two to four hole cards seems a small change but has a massive impact on the action of the game and the strategy involved. With four hole cards your hand combinations are increased a massive six-fold compared to Hold’em.
You are dealt Ac Kc Qs Js. The combinations of hands are Ac Kc, Ac Qs, Ac Js, Kc Qs, Kc Js, Qs Js.
This increase in combinations means there are many more opportunities to “hit a flop” and thus Omaha is a game that promotes action.
The large number of cards involved mean that pre-flop hand values run much closer together in value than Hold’em hands and it is rare to have a huge pre-flop advantage (as you might with say aces versus tens in Hold’em.)
The increased number of card combinations means hands will generally be much stronger at showdown, so be aware that trips, straights, flushes and even full houses can often be the second-best hand.
Tips When Starting Out
It is a good strategy when starting out to only play hands with a strong chance of improving or making big hands. Hands like runs (e.g. 7c 8c 9d Td) where the ranks of the cards increase sequentially are good hands as they can often flop wrap draws and strong combination draws. These hands are strengthened if they are also suited.
As a rule you should look to continue playing hands post-flop where you have a strong made hand such as a set or straight, or a strong draw to a “nut” hand, e.g. the nut flush draw. Be aware that hands containing pairs of aces or kings should be played with care as, although they are relatively strong hands pre-flop, a bad flop can easily remove any equity advantage.
Be ruthless with throwing away weak draws post-flop and look to play more hands from later position where you can control the size of the pot more effectively depending on whether you want to make it bigger – with a big hand, or control it – with a more vulnerable hand.
Omaha is a very popular Hold’em variant and is definitely a game for the action junkies amongst you, so give it a shot and work on your strategy.