Common Pot-Limit Omaha Mistakes

Don't make these common pot-limit Omaha mistakes if you want to be successful in this crazy, yet fun, game

Pot-Limit Omaha is one of the most exciting poker variants played today. It generates more than its fair share of action. Pots are larger in Omaha cash games too. Everything about the game, except its variance, is great, even better than no-limit Hold’em. The problem with PLO is there is scope to make many mistakes.

The closeness in preflop equity make some players new to the game or bad Omaha players think there’s little to no skill involved. They believe you play any four hole cards, click the “bet pot” button and let Lady Luck do her thing.

You need an awful lot of skill to succeed in Omaha cash games and tournaments. You also need to cut down on mistakes because they are punished by better players. Making fewer mistakes is often what separates a losing player from a winning Omaha player. Don’t make the following mistakes.

Avoid Preflop Mistakes By Selecting Good Starting Hands in Omaha

Some Omaha players argue you can play any hand dealt to you. While this is somewhat true when playing heads-up or when you’re on the button, you need solid starting hand selection.

Omaha players have an incredible 270,725 starting hands to choose from. Compare this to the 1,326 in Hold’em and you can see the scope for errors.

Hands like Ac-Qh-Qs-2s look attractive but you’re hardly ever drawing to the nuts and Omaha is a nuts game.

Playing Small Rundowns is Bad in Omaha games

Omaha players love playing rundown hands such as As-Kd-Qs-Jd because they have masses of potential. This leads them to play, say, 6s-5c-4s-3c the same way. These smaller rundowns have merit but are so easily dominated. Again, you’re rarely drawing to the nuts which is a bad scenario to be in.

Bad Omaha Players Love Playing Small Pairs; Capitalize on Their Mistakes

Players from a Hold’em background love playing small pairs because they can flop a set. Hold’em players know even a set of deuces is a powerful hand likely to win you a pot. This isn’t the case in Omaha games.

Playing hands such as Qd-Jh-4c-4s look like they have set and straight potential. But, and here’s the but, you don’t want to flop a set of fours with this hand. Why? Because it is so easily dominated by the other potential hands out there.

Sets are strong, but they are vulnerable unless they improve to the nut full house.

Overvaluing Non-Nut Flushes

Making a flush in Hold’em almost guarantees you’ll win the hand. Improving to a flush lower than a queen-high one in Omaha can be a costly mistake. We can’t stress enough how important it is to be drawing to the nuts in Omaha games. It makes us sound like a broken record but it is crucial to keep your bankroll intact.

Small flushes are definitely playable heads-up, but drop them like a hot potato in multi-way pots.

Getting Too Excited Over Big Pairs

Pocket aces are great hands in PLO games, but only preflop. Hands containing aces are usually a favorite preflop but things change rapidly after the flop.

Aces have the potential to improve to top set. They can also improve to nut flushes (if suited with another hole card), or nut straight (ditto). Your other two hole cards need consideration when you are dealt aces.

Pocket kings and queens are also strong, but are more reliant on your other hole cards. For example, Ks-Kc-Qc-Jd is a much stronger hand than Ks-Kc-7d-4h. It should be obvious why by now.

Failing To Respect the Power of Position

Position is as important, if not more so, in Omaha compared to Hold’em. Try avoiding limping from early position with mediocre hands and definitely don’t call many three-bets out of position.

Pots grow quickly in PLO and you’ll often find yourself priced in to call with less-than-premium holdings. Save your chips for when you can be the aggressor.

Always Betting Pot

OK, the game is called Pot-Limit Omaha because the betting structure is pot-limit. This doesn’t mean you should simply mash the “bet pot” button at every given opportunity. Betting pot is a tool you should have, but some players only bet pot when they have the nuts. They bet smaller when they don’t hold the best hand.

Try for some consistency and bet similar when you have a strong or weak hand. This keeps your opponents guessing, which is always a good thing.

Also, it pays to play your opponent when it comes to bet sizing. Always bet the maximum you believe your opponent will call with a weaker hand or draw. This amount differs from player to player; it’s up to you to figure that size out.

Matthew Pitt

If it’s something you can play online for real money, chances are Matthew knows a bit about it. He’s been writing about slots, craps and poker for the better part of the last decade. He’s written for PokerNews, PartyPoker and many other respected online gambling websites during the last nine years.


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