Continuation betting in PLO

Jakub Szczotka
5 sty 2024
6 mins read

Despite the differences between the two games, continuation betting is as essential in Pot Limit Omaha as in Hold'em. The key to success is understanding which details to consider when building your PLO continuation betting strategy.

Before we move to that topic, we'd like to underline three aspects.

Firstly, due to the vast number of combinations of hands available, the ranges in PLO are much harder to visualize.

Secondly, since your opponents have four (or even five!) community cards, it is easier for them to hit some connection with the board. As a result, you will win the pot with a continuation bet less often (your opponents will likely fold less than they should, according to the theory).

Thirdly, since your opponents are likely to continue more frequently, the position is much more critical than in Hold'em.

These characteristics heavily influence how you should approach c-betting when playing PLO. With that in mind, let's look at the basics of PLO c-betting strategy.

C-betting in PLO is not as easy to visualize as in Hold'em

Why do we c-bet in the first place?

That is a question worth answering, and our friends from Deepsolver took a closer look at that matter in their recent blog entry. In a nutshell, whenever you were the preflop raiser and your opponent (or opponents) called your bet, your range of hands should be stronger than those of other players. Since you should have the best hand more frequently, you are incentivized to put more money into the pot.

In Hold'em, many factors validate continuation bets; let's look at the reason to c-bet or check in PLO.

Continuation bet: PLO edition

The basic logic behind continuation betting is similar to the one used in NLH.

If you raised preflop and wonder whether to continue betting or not, you must ask yourself: who has the range advantage and nut advantage at the particular board? Boards with higher cards usually favor the aggressor (since the raiser should have more pocket aces), and lower boards often tip the balance in favor of the player defending preflop, especially Big Blind. It’s worth noting that the preflop caller will usually have more KK combinations than the raiser in PLO spots. In PLO5, there are spots in which the same is true for AA combos!

How about c-betting in a heads-up pots? A good starting point when constructing your c-betting strategy is a polar approach. It assumes betting the best and the worst hands you can possibly have in a given scenario. By worst, we mean the hands with poor equity but with some qualities in the form of backdoor draws or important blockers.

Betting the best hands in your range should be self-explanatory; since you are very likely to win the pot, you want to bloat it as much as you can, as fast as you can, and continuation bet is the best tool to do so. You have to, however, be mindful of identifying the playability of your hands on future streets. Even the top sets in PLO aren’t an auto c-bet (if your other cards do not interact with the board).

But what's the logic behind betting your weak hands? You bet these hands because they usually have poor showdown value; they will rarely improve, and you don't mind getting check-raised since you can fold without remorse. Also, they "balance" your range, so your opponent can't exploit you by overfolding to your bets.

There's one more reason behind betting polar that's worth mentioning.

Slowplaying in PLO makes much less sense than in Hold'em

Due to the nature of the game, your hands will very rarely be unaffected by cards on the later streets. In PLO the top set might be a slight favorite on wet boards versus hands with good straight and flush draws.

Another reason for c-betting is the one hinted above - often, your opponent will have a hand weaker than yours but strong enough to continue. Since the players on low-to-mid stakes tend to be very sticky both pre and postflop, you'll often find yourself in a set over set or nut flush versus second nut flush draw scenarios.

Whenever such a spot occurs, you are more than incentivized to make your opponent pay and build the pot; after all, value betting correctly is the most efficient way to win money at poker tables.

To summarize: unless you have the board locked up, there is absolutely no reason to slow play strong hands.

At this point, you might wonder why betting the medium strength hands is usually not advised. This category of hands does not like to be check-raised since often they are not strong enough to continue versus aggressive opponents. Additionally, medium-strength hands lack turn cards to continue betting. It's a good rule of thumb: if a hand has few good turns to continue betting, there may be better candidates to c-bet with.

The first postflop PLO 5 sims are already added to PLO Genius!

Continuation betting strategy is strongly connected with the SPR

Whether we talk about online poker or live games, PLO is played mainly in the cash game variant, so usually, you will be playing on a big stack-to-pot ratio. The bigger the SPR, the more important your hand's playability on the later street becomes. As the ranges narrow with subsequent streets, the blockers become more critical (mainly nut flush blockers).

In PLO, people tend to get sticky with their hole cards. Therefore, you will face multiple opponents more often than in NLH.

In heads-up pots, your c-betting frequency can be relatively high, especially when you are in position. However, if you are out of position or the pot has gone multiway, you must be much more cautious with c-bets since such spots are much more difficult to navigate, and your fold equity is way lower.

Even in a simple BU vs BB spot, you'll operate 47% out of 270K combos!

How should you construct your continuation betting strategy?

Let's implement the c-betting knowledge and look at a simple example. Let's assume a single raised pot in which you’re a pre-flop raiser on the Button, playing against the Big Blind on a QT5 board with the flush draw.

How do you construct your strategy? Since the number of combos you'll have in this spot will be enormous, you'll have to use shortcuts and categorize the hands according to their essential qualities.

Let's start with the categories of hands which usually benefit from betting.

In this spot, good hands to bet with will be mostly over pairs with nut flush draws (emphasising the ones having some additional equity), your best draws (wraps with the flush draw) or the top two pairs. Many hands in these categories benefit from building the pot and can continue against a raise.

The postlfop for PLO 4 is also coming to PLO Genius!

What hands should you check with? The bottom two pairs without backup are great candidates (since you can't protect their equity as you could in Hold'em); the same goes for draws to lower straights. Both categories hate to be check-raised but function pretty well as calling hands against turn leads.

While it would take quite some time to pinpoint the exact strategy for each possible category of hands, creating heuristics for the most important ones will help you decide when to bet and when to check.

With its upcoming addition of postflop solutions, PLO Genius is a great tool to study the qualities of making a hand a c-bet or a check.

It’ll take some time, but with enough practice, you’ll learn to spot the good opportunities to c-bet automatically.

A good c-betting strategy will save you a lot of tough spots on later streets

This topic's broadness gives you much room to create an edge over the competition. An excellent place to start honing your PLO strategy is PLO Genius. Studying with our tool will greatly improve your preflop skills.

Recently, we've added the first solutions for PLO5 postflop spots, and there is much more to come in 2024.

Try PLO Genius now and outpace your competition.