Omaha Poker Strategy: An Easy to Avoid, Yet Still Common Mistakes

Jakub Szczotka
13 wrz 2023
5 mins read

Learning new games takes some time, and usually, it's a process full of errors. Most people starting their PLO adventure have a Texas Hold'em background, so it's no surprise that they start playing Omaha poker with certain habits that are not helpful and can even be harmful.

Even if PLO is the first of the poker games you're trying to master, you'll likely commit similar mistakes to more experienced poker players.

In this article, we want to draw your attention to a few ideas to help you avoid the pitfalls many newcomers fall into.

While "pretty", some hands are troublesome!

Do not overvalue your hand strength in a Pot Limit Omaha game

Let's start with stating the obvious: The hands ranking in PLO is exactly the same as in Texas Hold'em (unless we're talking about the Omaha Hi-Lo, where there's a little twist).

This fact is very convenient and deceitful at the same time. At NLH, a strong pair with a strong kicker is a winning hand reasonably often. Therefore, whenever you hit a much stronger hand, like a set, straight or a flush, it's likely that you're going to win the pot.

In Pot Limit Omaha, the average strength of the winning hand is much higher, and as a result, you should have a good reason to put a lot of chips into the pot.

One such reason can be nuttiness. This quality is critical to evaluate your hand potential and strength preflop. Inexperienced players tend to play too wide, often hitting low-end straights, middle sets, and mediocre flushes. At the beginning of your Omaha career, it's easy to overvalue these hands and fall prey to the more disciplined, aware of correct Omaha strategy villains.

Stacking off with mediocre hands just because they would be more than enough to do so in Texas Hold'em is a common, but easy-to-fix leak.

Putting some work into creating a solid preflop strategy will make your postflop decisions easier and save you a lot of money.

Do not overplay Aces

One of the first things new poker players learn is that the Aces are the best hand by a solid margin, crushing other holdings. While this is true for NLH, and Aces are usually relatively easy to play, playing Aces correctly is much more challenging in Omaha poker.

The first thing to point out is that AAxx in PLO will have around 65% equity against a random hand, which is a massive dropdown if you compare that to the analogical situation in NLH (where their lead is closer to 85%).

There are two essential things to keep in mind when talking about Aces in PLO: firstly, even if you get stacks in preflop, it's unlikely that you'll have more than 60% equity (that's still more than enough to profit, but a smaller equity advantage preflop results in increased variance).

Secondly, you'll play with the Aces postflop more often and usually on bigger SPRs (stack-to-pot-ratio) than in NLH. As a result, you must be extremely wary of your Aces' side cards, as they will be detrimental to your hand playability. Whenever you end up with an overpair with a few outs to improve, do not get too sticky - it's quite unlikely that your naked aces will reach the showdown and be the best hand after the third betting round.

So, while hands like AA72r are still among the best hands in PLO poker equity-wise, they will be tough to play profitably, and most of the time, their main goal will be to set mine. Remember that most "good" Aces have at least one Ace high flush draw (especially double suited) and cards that interact with each other.

Not all aces are created equal

Be aware that multiway pots are common in Pot Limit Omaha

Our experienced readers might know that the optimal strategy for the multiway pots in NLH differs greatly from the heads-up one, especially if you're out of position. Adding even one additional player to the mix drastically increases the size of the game tree. As a result, a GTO strategy, even if you're the preflop raiser, is much more passive than in a heads-up situation.

It's even truer in Pot Limit Omaha games. One of the biggest selling points of PLO is that making a relatively strong hand is easy (after all, almost always, you can draw to something). That quality alone attracts a lot of players thirsty for action. As a result, at the low stakes (but not exclusively there!), multiway pots are something natural. If you've ever tried to play Omaha poker online, you must have experienced it.

Things are no different in live games. The good news is that, in consequence, the PLO tables are usually the softest ones in the casino. The slightly worse news is that a solid Pot Limit Omaha's strategy for multiway pots includes a lot of checking.

Whenever you're in the multiway pot in PLO, you need a very good reason to bet into many people. Usually, that reason is a powerful hand with a lot of equity that dominates other players' ranges.  You'll rarely be in that situation, even with a very sound preflop strategy. More often, you'll flop an average hand, which wants to see the turn, the river, realize some of its equity and would hate to be check-raised along the way. This fact implies a check-heavy strategy.

To visualize it: whenever you raise a strong overpair and get to a four-or-five-way flop in Holdem, there are some relatively safe boards (like paired, low boards). In PLO, when you're against four other players, there are 16 unknown cards in their hands, and the probability that someone made a three-of-a-kind or better is much higher.

Remember why solid preflop is a must

These are only a few traps that await you in the PLO landscape. Don't be afraid, though. The playing field is even, and the same hazards await your poker opponents.

A solid preflop strategy is the best way to avoid postflop catastrophes. And the best way to craft one is repetition. That's where the PLO Genius got you covered. With the help of our tool, you will develop a muscle memory that will help you identify what hands should be played under which circumstances.

And that's a great foundation for creating a very solid edge.

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