Pot Limit Omaha – or PLO – as it's often called, is one of the most entertaining, action-packed and skilful forms of poker. In this guide we'll review the basic rules of the game, and look at how Omaha differs from Texas Holdem. Lastly, we'll talk about betting and the meaning of Pot Limit.
Just like in a game of Holdem, the dealer button moves clockwise round the table and action starts with two players posting forced bets, called Blinds. The Small Blind, and the Big Blind.
Cards are dealt and then there are four rounds of betting:
- On the Flop
- On the Turn
- And finally, the River.
The major difference is that in Omaha, each player is dealt four hole cards face-down. You're still trying to make the best five-card poker hand, but you must use exactly two from your hand and three of the five community cards. This usually catches Holdem players out at first, but you'll soon get the hang of it. Let's look at an example.
You're dealt the Ace of Spades, Ace of Diamonds, King of Hearts and King of Diamonds. The board shows all four Queens, plus the Nine of Spades.
So what's your hand?
The answer is Queens full of Aces. We took three of the community cards, along with two of our hole cards, to make the best five-card hand.
Now let's move on to the meaning of Pot Limit.
In a hand of Pot Limit Omaha your bet sizes are limited by the size of the pot. Unlike No-Limit Holdem, you can't move all-in unless the pot is big enough first.
In this example the blinds are $1 and $2, so the hand starts with $3 in the pot. Our opponent bets $2 – the size of the Big Blind – which is the minimum amount permitted. Now we want to raise, but what's the maximum bet size? There's an easy way to work it out. Take the amount in the pot, which is now $5, plus double the size of the bet you're facing. So that's $5 plus $4, so the most we can bet is $9.
Even with a format of Pot Limit in place, pots can still get big just as they would in a game of No Limit Hold'em. But it's much harder to intimidate your opponents with large over bets or all-in moves. Players generally get to see flops and later streets more cheaply, making Omaha a great action game with real strategic depth. For more great Omaha strategy discussion please check out our Omaha Strategy forum.