Learn how to play winning Pot Limit Omaha with this strategy article written by Roy 'Godlikeroy' Bhasin of PokerStars Team Pro Online.
"It's time to learn… Pot Limit Omaha!"
In this day and age PLO is no longer that "weird and unusual form of poker that only the Europeans play", but instead seen by most as the next natural step in a player's poker learning after NLHE. I'm sure that most people reading this are familiar with omaha poker knowing the rules and having some understanding of how the game works and perhaps even have played a reasonable amount of hands. However if you are a complete newbie then I recommend taking a read of the rules over at https://www.pokerstars.com/poker/games/omaha/
before continuing this article as I will take that page as assumed knowledge.
So I want to talk specifically about PLO and why you should consider playing the PLO events and give you a couple of tips to help get you some better results. First and foremost - the events are fun! Personally I think the non-hold'em games are the most fun out of the series (but maybe i'm just a little biased).
Secondly - I consider the PLO events to be some of the highest value events of the series. Because of the inherent gambling/fun nature of the game there are often a much higher percentage of entrants that are splashing around and perhaps playing a higher variance style that's not necessarily conducive to sharp play. If you can identify who these players are and play solid hands against them then they're often going to allow you to easily take some if not all of their chips.
Another reason I am such a big proponent for playing many (and usually every) PLO event is that it's rare to get the opportunity to play in higher buy-in PLO tournaments. You can play medium to high buy-in NLHE tournaments every week but outside of the 'COOP events and some live events you won't usually get the chance to play in such high guarantee PLO tourneys.
As far as strategy goes - the biggest tip that I can give to any player is to practice playing PLO at varying stack depths. Most PLO players will be comfortable playing 100bb+ PLO and perhaps even 50bb+, but will start to feel lost when everyone's stacks start to dwindle (and it is exactly when stacks get shallower that the decisions you make start being the most important)! My general advice would be to practice in some smaller PLO tourneys leading up to the series to get comfortable in a lot more situations. Beyond the general however, here are a few specific tips to help you:
1) High cards are your friends. With very shallow stacks almost any hand you play and see a flop with is going to get to showdown - so you want to have hands that give you the best chance of winning a showdown. Low rundowns and speculative double suited hands might have their place in deepstack PLO where deception and implied odds are a part of your game plan but they have no place in a short stack strategy. Big pairs and strong Axxx and broadway hands are golden.
2) Consider playing much tighter than usual when your stack is shallow, especially from early position. Because of how close equity ranges run together in PLO and how frequently your opponents are to pick up a playable/defend-able hand, if you are opening too wide from early position you will find yourself constantly in flipping situations for your tournament life with little chance to pick up an uncontested pot.
3) Perhaps surprisingly, you can usually get away with 3betting and having your opponent fold, especially if they themselves have a shallow stack. It's very rare these days in cash games to have an opponent fold to a 3bet but it still happens fairly frequently in MTT situations. Consider the scenario where an opponent raises to 2x from late position and you are in the blinds with a fairly strong hand such as AKT5ss. If your opponent in this hand is sitting on, say, 16bbs then you might have a significant amount of fold equity by putting in a 3bet as it forces them into a decision where they are essentially playing for their tournament life with a very marginal range.
Best of luck at the tables!
Roy 'Godlikeroy' Bhasin
Follow Roy on Twitter @roybhasin
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