Tips For Playing In PLO Tournaments

Learn how to approach PLLO tournaments in a way that helps you excel.

PLO tournaments are growing increasingly common in the online poker world. Poker’s action game is as popular as ever before, bringing new players to this crazy, fun game. Succeeding in PLO tournaments requires a different approach to cash games, much like No-Limit Hold’em. Here are a few pointers to help you on your way if you are new to PLO tournaments.

Be Selective With Your PLO Tournaments

The best PLO players enjoy the biggest edge over their opponents when play is deep stacked. Mistakes are costlier in deep stacked games, and players new to PLO make frequent mistakes.

Check out the blind structure before registering for PLO tournaments. You ideally want one with a generous starting stack and blinds that increase slowly with no significant jumps in cost per round. You should, therefore, avoid turbo and hyper-turbo blind structures. Even the best No-Limit Hold’em players in the world have a minor edge in these games. The fact hand strengths run closer in PLO than NLHE reduces any edge further in these fast formats.

It Is Worth Building a Big Stack Early in PLO Tournaments

The majority of PLO tournaments allow players to rebuy or re-enter during the early stages. PLO has enormous variance, so being able to reload your stack is always welcome. Building a big stack early in PLO tournaments is a good idea because of the game’s betting structure.

No-Limit Hold’em players can bet as little or as much as their stacks allow. There are clear favorites and underdogs in hands when a player moves all-in, too. This is not true for PLO players where a pot-sized bet is the largest bet allowed. Betting pot means your opponent will never have worse than 2-to-1 odds for calling.

It is challenging to push a short or medium-stacked opponent off a hand in PLO. Building a big stack help ride the peaks and troughs caused by being looked up by some crazy holdings where you are a 60-40 favorite.

Play Your Strong Made Hands Fast

It is tempting to slow play your strong hands, especially if you come from a Hold’em background. Slowing playing in PLO tournaments is not advised because it is easy to be outdrawn. Furthermore, weaker PLO players overvalue their hands and love calling you down with kings, queens, or weak two pairs.

Betting your strong, made hands maximizes their profitability. Your opponents will sometimes fold, making you wish you had played slower, but the times you win a big pot and are not outdrawn outweighs this situation.

Open Limping Is Not The Worst Play

Most PLO takes place in six-handed cash games in the online poker world. The rake in these games is a major factor in why open-limping is considered a bad play. PLO tournaments do not have this problem, which makes open-limping a viable strategy.

Open-limping with a low or medium-sized stack helps reduce your variance because it keeps the pot smaller. Limping allows you to see more flops against weaker players because they love limping behind. Not raising prevents you from facing a large three-bet from one of the larger stacks, too.

Remember, position is key to success in poker, and this is especially true in PLO tournaments. Try open-limping from late position, so you have only the blinds or just a couple of other opponents to battle. Limped pots are, generally, not fought for as fiercely. Picking up plenty of smaller pots allows you to battle hard for any larger pots that crop up.

Bankroll Considerations

All forms of poker tournament are incredibly high variance, but PLO tournaments are on another level. Where 100 buy-ins is the number given the No-Limit Hold’em games, PLO equivalents should be at least 150-200 buy-ins.

Increased variance, more tournaments being re-entry/rebuys, and the fact you should play hard and fast early on mean you need a larger bankroll.

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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