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PLO (Pot-Limit Omaha)

Texas Hold'em is the gateway to many different versions of poker for most players. One of the most popular versions today is the game of Omaha - specifically Pot-Limit Omaha, better known by its acronym PLO.

The largest difference between Texas Hold’em The game of Pot-Limit Omaha is obvious from the first hand dealt. Instead of two cards, you get four cards face down. Another big and significant difference between the two games is that you have to play exactly two cards face down and three community cards on the table;

The hand rankings are exactly the same as shown in our How to Play Texas Hold’em Introduction - The best hand is a Royal Flush and then in descending order Hold'em and PLO have the same betting rounds as described in the Hold'em introduction.

Although the initial values of the cards are similar, they are greatly influenced by a wide range of four-card combinations. PLO is a game with a lot of action due to getting four cards in a hand, which creates chances for the stronger combinations needed to win most bets.

Pot-Limit Betting Rules

The betting rounds are the same - one round of betting before the flop and another round after the flop, turn and river - but PLO allows players to bet the entire pot at any time during each round. You can bet very cheaply right at the start of Omaha Limited Limit Hold'em, but by the end of the pot, betting gets very expensive.

Play Stronger Hands than Hold’em in PLO 

The starting hands are actually more similar in PLO at the start of the preflop hand, which causes most players to enter the pot with a wider range of starting hands than in Hold'em. However, don't start out thinking that any four cards can win, you still need to be selective when choosing starting hands;

PLO is more of a draw game than a hold'em game, but if you fail to connect on the flop, you should fold. You should also note that due to the many hand options available to any four-card player, you will only need to call on the river if you have a very strong hand.

Strategy Differences Between Hold’em and PLO for Beginners

PLO is usually the first type of poker that novice Hold'em players turn to, so it's important to know about some of the other differences between the two games that may surprise you when you first play PLO. Hold'em players tend to overestimate the value of pairs and flushes in PLO (especially if a pocket pair is dealt), as well as frequent and weak draws;

If you decide to chase the draw, you will often want to raise the nuts, because with the amount of cards in play there are many other options, which will cost you dearly in a limit betting structure. This is another reason why you have to be very picky about the strength of the hands you start with;

You pay for these initial "lessons" when you make initial mistakes while learning PLO, and then you can open up the initial range when you feel more comfortable in the variety.

Examples of Good and Bad Pot-Limit Omaha Starting Hands

So what kind of starting hands should you be looking for in Pot-Limit Omaha? 

Double-suited hands are the best hands to play preflop. Ideally you would want Spade_1 Heart_1 Club_13 Heart_13 but even hands like Club_1 Diamond_1 Club_8 Diamond_7 give you a lot of possibilities. 

As in Hold'em, the hands you choose to play must be proportional and/or connected. Obviously, two pair hands, such as.Club_1 Diamond_1 Diamond_12 Heart_12 are strong as well. 

On the other hand, you should avoid playing with hands that have dangling arms;

A hanging card is a card that is not connected to any of the other cards in the initial hand. If you choose to bet withSpade_13 Diamond_13 Diamond_12 Heart_5Essentially, you are playing with only three cards and you are at a huge disadvantage to other opponents who are playing with four cards.