Common Pot-Limit Omaha Preflop Mistakes

Try cutting out these PLO preflop mistakes and watch your win rate sky-rocket

Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO) is one of the most fun poker variants you can play. Pots rapidly grow large, you make big hands more frequently, and there are bad beats galore. Preflop mistakes are amplified in PLO, which is why you should do everything in your power to avoid making them.

There are a staggering 270,725 possible starting hands in Pot-Limit Omaha. Compare this to the 1,326 of No-Limit Hold’em and you can see why PLO preflop mistakes are common. New PLO players play the game like Hold’em but with four hole cards. While this is partly how the game plays, PLO is far more complex. It is true you use two of your four hole cards to make the best five-card poker hand. However, there are more variables than you can shake a stick at, which is why preflop mistakes happen all the time.

We are going to highlight three preflop mistakes that PLO players regularly make.

Common PLO Preflop Mistakes: Calling Too Loose on the Button

The button is the best seat in the house because position is everything in poker. This is especially true in Pot-Limit Omaha games. Being on the button allows you to obtain a lot of information before you act. Furthermore, your position makes it possible to play more hands and do so profitably.

Playing too loose on the button in multiway pots is one of the most common preflop mistakes in PLO. Your pot odds increase with each additional opponent, but your equity plummets. Even hands as strong as suited ace-king should hit the muck with two or three players before you.

The strongest hands of this type, including A-K-Q-J, A-K-Q-T, and A-K-J-T are still playable. However, do not fall into the trap of playing a hand with only the nut flush to chase.

Calling Under the Gun Raises To Often

Both players and seasoned PLO players call too often when they are in middle position and face a raise from under the gun. There are two main reasons why this is dangerous in Pot-Limit Omaha games.

First, the under-the-gun player almost always has a super-strong range. Your typical player is not raising from the worst position on the table with trash. Even the craziest of players avoid preflop mistakes by playing super-tight from under the gun. We are talking double-suited hands with aces and other similar holdings.

Second, your call of the raise opens the door for the players behind you to call. In addition, some of those players may squeeze you out of the pot with a three-bet. Calling only to fold to a raise costs you a lot of chips.

Consider tossing away hands as strong as single-suited kings in this scenario. Double paired hands are always playable, as are hands such as K-K-Q-J that give you straight possibilities. Tighten your calling range when facing an under-the-gun raise. This is especially true if the players behind you are aggressive.

Do Not Pray For a Big Blind Special

It is very tempting to put in calling chips from the big blind in a multiway PLO pot. You have incredible pot odds to do so, but pot odds are not everything.

Often, you are going to make a weak hand or draw and feel compelled to go with it. This is, of course, one of the major PLO preflop mistakes. You will only remember the times you made a funky straight and cracked someone’s aces. But, and here is the but, you will lose so many chips, and even get stack, by drawing to a weak flush, straight, or weaker full house than the opponents that have already shown strength.

Preflop mistakes escalate quickly and become very costly in PLO. Cut out these mistakes and watch your win rate soar; your bankroll will thank you, too.

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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