What is PLO Poker? A Pot Limit Omaha Game Guide

Last Updated on July 4, 2022 Author:Adrian Sterne

Pot-Limit Omaha PokerPoker is one the most played real money games globally, available in many land-based and online poker rooms and casinos. It’s not only a great pastime but also an intellectually challenging, fun, and exciting game.

Poker is available in numerous variants, with various rules regarding its gameplay and end goal.

Besides Texas Hold’em, the most popular version of poker is Pot Limit Omaha (PLO). This variant is action-packed and fast-paced. It has similar rules to Hold’em, but it’s played with more cards, so it allows for a lot more shots at winning big.

If you’ve never played PLO but like the sound of it, stay with us. This article will cover the basics of the game, its rules, and the strategies you can use when playing.

What is Pot Limit Omaha?

As we mentioned, Omaha is a poker variant very similar to Texas Hold’em when it comes to its rules. However, unlike Hold’em, which tends to have a No Limit betting structure, the most popular structure in Omaha is Pot Limit. This is where the abbreviation PLO comes from.

The Pot Limit betting structure is based on one main rule. It limits the maximum bet amount you can place to the sum of the total pot, your call bet, and the bets that preceded yours. In addition, it prohibits players from going All-in.

The main problem new players have with the Pot Limit structure is calculating the worth of the pot. You should keep a record of all the bets made in individual rounds to avoid being confused if you don’t have a dealer to inform you of the current pot worth. (1)

Community Card Poker

Omaha is a community card game, just like Texas Hold’em. Community card poker games use community or shared cards — cards placed face-up in the center of the poker table. All players at the table can combine these cards with the cards in their hands and create a complete 5-card combination.

Pot Limit Omaha Rules

Omaha involves a standard 52-card deck, 2 to 5 players, and a dealer.

The game begins when the two players in the opening positions (to the dealer’s left) make bets. These two bets are called the “Small” and the “Big Blind after their players’ positions at the table. The bet amounts are determined by the betting limits in the game. The Small Blind tends to be worth half the amount of the Big Blind.

After these two bets, the croupier deals four hole cards to each player at the table. The betting round starts from the player in the Small Blind position and continues clockwise. Each player has to decide on their move — they call, raise, or fold, depending on their hand’s strength.

The dealer deals the flop once every player has made their first bet. The flop involves three community cards that the dealer places in the center of the table face-up. The players can use these three cards with their private cards to make a hand and bet.
Once this round finishes, the dealer deals with the “Turn and the River ” — two more face-up community cards — before the next two betting rounds. The same betting rules apply. The players must use only two of their hole cards and three community cards to make the hand. No other types of combinations are allowed.
The last PLO round is called “the Showdown“. The remaining players reveal two hole cards and combine them with the community cards on the table in this round. The player holding the highest card combination wins and takes the pot. The pot is split among the players in the event of a tie.

Pot Limit Omaha Strategies

While there’s no perfect technique that would guarantee a win, it’s helpful to have some tricks up your sleeve. Now that you have all the basic rules down, we can discuss a few PLO strategies:

Hand Strength

Although Omaha uses the same hand ranking systems as Hold’em, hands strength differs between the two depending on the phase of the game. It’s not unusual to win the pot before the flop in Hold’em, even if you only have a pair. However, this rarely happens in PLO. Pot Limit Omaha requires you to have a stronger hand as the game progresses. The ideal hand would contain four cards that both work well with the community cards and in connection to the other hole cards in your hand.

Trapping and hand protection

You don’t want to trap or slow play in PLO for the same reasons we’ve discussed above. It’s much easier to get outdrawn in Pot Limit Omaha since more cards are in play. Instead, try playing fast whenever you’re sure that you have a nut hand.

Blocker cards

Blocker cards make certain card combinations less likely. For instance, if you have a blocker in your hand, you’ll know your opponent can’t have certain combinations of cards that they might need to win. The same goes for the other way around. So, knowing blockers can help you recognize when your opponent is bluffing or allow you to bluff them off their hand.

Additional Tips for Playing PLO

It would help if you gave yourself enough time to get used to the rules and dynamics of the PLO. It might sound corny, but practice does make perfect. So, try playing the game for free before moving on to real money gambling. Once you feel you’re ready, the following pieces of advice might help you get the most enjoyment from your first PLO steps:

Pick a poker room/casino

Do some research on reputable poker rooms, their traffic, and the types of players they attract. You want to find a place with recreational players you can compete with and enough traffic to keep you entertained.

Start small

Begin by playing at one table at a time. Your first goal is to pick up as much helpful information as possible regarding other players and their strategies. This type of player understanding will then let you tackle more than one poker table at a time.

Don’t be passive

New poker players tend to be too scared to make more aggressive moves, so they keep calling most of the game. While we understand the reasoning behind this tendency, it doesn’t lead anywhere. You won’t be able to win or learn anything from your actions. So, make sure you take advantage of any situation when you get solid opening hands.

Think about player positions

Take your and your opponents’ positions at the poker table into account. Play more tightly at the opening positions and more aggressively towards the closing ones. Note how your opponents are playing in relation to their positions, too.

Be patient

This piece of advice pertains to the game and your overall poker gambling journey. Think through each of your decisions while you’re playing by observing the table. However, don’t get down in the dumps if you’re not successful from the very beginning. Poker is not easy to master, so give yourself time to improve and advance.

Study and learn

It’s relatively easy to learn the basics of playing most poker variants. But for all of them, including Pot Limit Omaha, you’ll need to practice intensely to do well at the tables. Consistent practice puts you in a position to begin appreciating the intermediate and advanced poker strategies that you’ll need to understand to mix it with the more experienced opponents you’ll encounter.
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