How Does PLO5 Preflop Differ from Four Card PLO?

Jakub Szczotka
23 lut 2024
4 mins read

If you’re interested in playing Pot Limit Omaha, you shouldn’t ignore its younger brother - PLO5. As we’ve mentioned in our introductory article, Five Card PLO is worth giving a shot, especially by live poker players. However, given its rising popularity, even if mainly online poker is your thing, it won’t hurt to learn the basics of PLO5 strategy.

Since many recreational players love Five Card Pot Limit Omaha, the game is getting more attractive for regular players. However, prepare yourself before you take advantage of soft fields; without a basic grasp of PLO5 characteristics, your results might be very far from expected.

Still, there’s not much PLO5 content and reliable poker tools out there - meaning many players follow intuition to formulate their poker strategy. Thanks to PLO Genius, you do not have to do so.

Currently, Five Card Omaha is played primarily on casinos and poker apps, so it's likely that your average opponent will poorly understand the regular PLO concepts, let alone those in the five-card variant. As a result, the games are looser than PLO4 ones, have a higher average VPIP, have bigger pots with multiple players involved, and stacks go in the middle even more often.

How not to get lost in this madness?

Finding Poker GTO in PLO5

Let’s start with the things that are similar to other games. Since the backbone of the PLO5 is similar to PLO4 (you receive your hole cards, and there are up to five community cards), you should be familiar with universal concepts, namely range advantage, range awareness and equity estimation.

The key is the ability to translate them from PLO4 to PLO5.

One of the first skills you should develop when playing PLO5 is identifying the combos to VPIP preflop.

What might be surprising for many of our readers, especially given the game's characteristics, are the preflop frequencies for the Raise First In stat for PLO4 and PLO5.

RFI values for both games

As you can see, the fifth card does not validate loose plays, which happen in almost every PLO5 game. As is often the case when two concepts seem identical, the devil is in the details.

The differences between PLO4 and PLO5 preflop strategy

There are a few numbers worth knowing about before we move on. Over 46% of all combinations of hands are double-suited (in the regular PLO, it’s only 13%!), which means this quality is not as big of an upside as you might think.

Since every hand you get dealt is at least single-suited, around 25% of hands have an Ace high suit. Such a considerable number drastically reduces the expected value of King, Queen or Jack high flush draws, as they are dominated much more often than in regular PLO. It also should visualize how much more critical drawing to the nuts in PLO5 (which we’ll tackle more in-depth in the follow-up article).

How do the Omaha GTO opening ranges change between PLO4 and PLO5? Let's examine differences in opening hands for a few of the most important classes. From now on, we assume a stack depth of 100BB.

Let’s start with the most popular hand category, Aces. The biggest difference between the two games is how often you get Aces. In PLO4, 2.57% of hands include AA (excluding trips and quads); in PLO5, this number goes up to 4% (once again excluding the AAA+ combos). As a result, almost ¼ of the UTG opening range consists of AA combos. Unsurprisingly, all of the combos in this category are pure opens on every position.

How about the KK combos? If we exclude the AKK and KKK combos, you can open around 64% of KK hands in PLO4 under the gun. This number drops significantly in PLO5, where only 30% of Kings are UTG open. What might be surprising is that even some suited combos are folded in the five-card variant. If we move up to the Button, all of the KK combos open in PLO4, but the worst combos (almost 4%) are folded  in PLO5.

When it comes to QQ, you have to be even more careful. If we consider the combinations without the Ace, 23% of combinations are raised Under the Gun in PLO4 according to the GTO; this number drops to 15% in PLO5. The difference is much more prominent on the Button; in PLO, you can open around 96% of your Queens combos from this position, but only 74% in PLO5.

Finally, let’s compare a few numbers in the double pair category, where the differences are most profound. In the four-card variant, you can open over 75% double paired hand UTG; most likely, you would easily guess the majority of the combos correctly. When it comes to the Button, there are only two combos that open fold under set circumstances: 7722 and 8833.

Things are much different in PLO5, where you must be more selective. On UTG, only 11.7% of all double-paired combos should be opened. This number goes up to 47% on the Button, meaning you still have to ditch over 50% of your double-paired combos!

As you can see, the additional card can greatly change the opening strategy for many scenarios. As a result, using the same approach for PLO5 and PLO4 is a mistake, which you'll often notice at the live poker tables.

Find more differences yourself

We will explore other PLO5-related topics in our following articles as there are more preflop nuances worth mentioning. Meanwhile, we invite you to do some research yourself.

With the help of PLO Genius, you can quickly identify the correct preflop approach and, at the same time, fix your leaks translated from PLO4!