Meet Pot Limit Omaha, the Coolest "New" Game Out There

Jakub Szczotka
12 wrz 2023
4 mins read

There is no doubt in our minds that No Limit Hold'em is, and will be, the most popular poker variant for the foreseeable future. However, the recent rise in the popularity of Pot Limit Omaha can not be denied. If you're reading these words, chances are that you are stumbling upon more and more people who treat Omaha as a fresh alternative that guarantees a lot of action and new thrills.

And, as is always the case, the money in poker games lies where the popularity is. So, if you're unsure whether Pot Limit Omaha is worth trying, you're in the right place, as we'll introduce you to Omaha poker rules.

The basic rules of Pot Limit Omaha are similar to NL Hold'em

However, it is the details that make PLO so unique. While the flow of both these poker games is similar, the most significant difference to NL Hold'em is that every player receives not two but four hole cards. This fact alone changes the math drastically. While there are 1,326 possible combinations of starting hands for Hold'em, there are astonishing 270,725 unique combinations for PLO - that's over 200 times as much.

Such a big difference significantly changes the preflop strategy despite the identical betting structure to NL Hold'em. In PLO, there is one betting round without community cards - preflop, and after it's finished, there are up to three more: the flop (first betting round), the turn (second betting round) and the river - final betting round, just like in Hold'em.

With over 270K starting hands, there's a lot more room for gaining an edge!

You have to use exactly two hole cards to make a hand, though

That's probably the most essential difference to NLH, and it often leads to costly mistakes from people learning the game. Whenever you play Omaha poker, you always have four hole cards, but at the same time, you have to use exactly two of them with three community cards (ergo, the board) to make a hand.

This rule has many practical implications, but one of the most significant is that you can't make a nut flush with only one hole card - an Ace. To do so, you must have at least one additional (or more cards) in the same suit. At the same time, when there are five community cards of the same suit, and you do not have at least two more in your hand, you do not have the flush.

It's also easy for newcomers to misread their hands on double-paired boards. For example: on the AATT2 board, you must have an Ace AND a ten or a deuce to make a full house.

Overall, this requirement is intuitive, and you'll get used to it in no time, but we advise caution at the beginning of your Omaha journey as overlooking the "two cards from hand" rule can be pricey.

Omaha poker is usually played as a pot limit game, hence PL Omaha

The last essential difference to Holdem is that, in most cases, Omaha is played in the pot limit scenario.

It changes the math a lot. The pot size limits your maximum bet when playing Pot Limit Omaha. What does it mean? "The pot" in limit games equals the last bet multiplied by three plus the size of the pot before betting.

We look closer at how pot mechanic works in the "What Does the Pot Limit Imply?" article.

Omaha's great, but does not allow to overbet

Omaha Games come in other variations

Poker players love to implement twists to games, and Omaha's case is no different.

The default, four-card Omaha is still the most popular one, but there are variants in which players receive five or even six hole cards. Both of these games, 5 Card Omaha especially, are getting increasingly popular. Five (or six) hole cards instead of four add another level of things to consider for the most advanced players while offering more action for the recreational players.

That's not all; in Omaha Hi-Lo players "split" the pot and compete for both "high" and "low" hands. There even is a game called Courchevel in which the first round of betting starts with only one of the community cards face up!

All of the games derived from the good old PLO offer even more action, but given their additional complexity, it's a topic for a separate article. Stay tuned!

That's a brief introduction to Pot Limit Omaha

And a first out of many more articles to come. PLO is undoubtedly similar to No Limit Hold'em, but due to its unique qualities, it has a special place in the heart of many players. We want to help you explore the intriguing nuances of PLO along with the solid theory approach provided by PLO Genius.

PLO Genius is a learning tool that helps you lay strong foundations for your preflop game. With the help of PLO Genius, you'll quickly improve your understanding of the game's preflop mechanics.