Are You Making These Common PLO Mistakes?

Pot-Limit Omaha is a massively fun game but it can be an expensive one if you continually make the most common PLO mistakes.

Everyone makes mistakes when they play poker. Those who say they do not are lying. PLO mistakes are more common than No-Limit Hold’em simply because of the complexity of the game.

Players new to the game, especially those transitioning from hold’em, make more errors than anyone else. Those errors prove more costly than they are in hold’em because of Pot-Limit Omaha’s mechanics. Are you making the following PLO mistakes?

Poor Starting Hand Selection is the Biggest of PLO Mistakes

There are 1,326 possible starting hand combinations when you play no-limit hold’em. How many does PLO have? Are you sat down? A staggering 270,725 starting hand combinations! It is no wonder the more common of PLO mistakes is poor starting hand selection.

PLO players receive four hole cards and use exactly two of them to make a five-card poker hand. Having four hole cards makes hundreds, if not thousands, of hands, look playable. Most are not. Couple the prettiness of some hands with the fact Omaha holdings run closer in equity than hold’em, and you have the recipe to bleed chips at the table.

Players new to PLO often look at hands like Ac-Js-Jh-3h and think it is playable at a full table. Perhaps it is on the button but you are likely in a difficult spot until you flop a set of jacks. Even then there are many boards that a set of jacks is vulnerable on.

You want all four cards to work in unison with each other. Furthermore, you ideally want to be drawing to the nuts after the flop.

Playing Small Pairs and Rundowns Are Common PLO Mistakes

Those from a hold’em background overvalue small pairs and rundowns, which is up there with the most common PLO mistakes. Hands such as Qc-8s-4d-4h look pretty but they are dangerous hands in Omaha games.

Flopping a set of fours with this hand is likely to be bottom set. In addition, you do not have any real redraws. Your hand is dominated against your opponents’ ranges when the board pairs or flushes and straights are possible.

Small rundowns look nice but are difficult to play profitably. New players should mostly avoid these hands because they can get you into a lot of trouble.

Flopping a straight with 5s-4s-3c-2c seems like a win, but it will rarely be the nut straight by the river. Furthermore, any two pair or flushes you make are likely dominated. We will not even bother going over hitting trips because you could be drawing dead already.

Playing Out of Position

Every poker player knows about the power of position. Acting last gives you many more advantages over those acting first. For example, you can fold if there are shows of strength in front of you, saving yourself chips. Having position allows you to steal pots when nobody has shown strength.

Skilled hold’em players can use their skills to combat a poor position at the table, but it is more difficult in Omaha games. One of the biggest PLO mistakes is playing out of position. Playing out of position with poor starting hands will cost you stacks in cash games and ruin your PLO tournaments.

Observant opponents will exploit anyone who regularly plays a lot of hands out of position.

Playing Short-Stacked

Some players enjoy playing cash games with a short stack but it is one of the big PLO mistakes. Playing short-stacked makes it extremely tough to protect the equity of your hand because you cannot force a fold from your opponents. Bluffing more than one street becomes practically impossible. You will also find yourself pot-committed with hands that you are most likely dominated with.

Play for lower stakes if you are scared your lack of skills and knowledge are costing you chips. It is better to sit at a $0.05/$0.10 table with 100 big blinds than at a $0.25/$0.50 table with 40 big blinds.

Brad Johnson

You name the game, and you can bet your bottom dollar that Brad has either played it or placed a wager on it! Brad calls himself a natural gambler, and someone who gains as much enjoyment from writing about the crazy game of poker as he does playing it.


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