Why Should You Bother to Learn PLO?

Jakub Szczotka
27 wrz 2023
4 mins read

Poker players need new challenges to grow. That’s one of the reasons why, at some point in their career, many experienced No Limit Hold’em players ask themselves: “Is it worth it to learn Pot Limit Omaha strategy?”.

Even if you have never been an NLH pro, you still might wonder what's the deal with the Omaha games - is it worth it to master PLO?

If one of the above is the case, you are in the right place.

Here’s why we think most poker players should at least try learning the Omaha poker strategy.

Nowadays, many people start learning poker with this screen

Some areas of Pot Limit Omaha world are still not well covered

If you’ve been playing poker (by poker, we mean Texas Hold'em) for at least a few years, you definitely have observed the changes in the poker environment. Undoubtedly, the average player in 2023 poker games is much more strategy-aware than the average player ten or so years ago, especially if we consider online poker.

There are at least a few reasons for that.

First of all, there are much more quality materials over the Internet. Nowadays, you can get basic poker knowledge without spending much money, as long as you have some free time. While there are more efficient ways to study poker strategy, you can achieve a decent skill level using free materials. As a result, many of today's players know how the basic opening/3-betting or 4-betting ranges should look. Also, the simplest c-betting strategies and knowledge of when to call continuation bets are much more common.

The same cannot be said for the Pot Limit Omaha poker strategy. The vast number of preflop combinations makes it challenging to memorize what should and should not be opened/called/raised at a particular position in certain situations. It may sound like a flaw, but you can quickly turn it into merit.

If so many opportunities exist to commit a mistake, there’s a lot of room to develop an edge. And that leads to the most apparent correlation in poker: the more significant edge you can create, the more money you can win.

Using a poker solver like PLO Genius, you can structure your preflop knowledge and easily improve your understanding of which hand category prefers which situation under made assumptions.

We bet your average opponent doesn't know what's the worst Ax to open UTG

Many bad PLO players are not aware of how bad they are

As we’ve already underlined in the article about common mistakes, equities in the Pot Limit Omaha game run much closer than in Texas Hold’em. As a result, whenever you’re stacking off with someone, you’ll most likely be a slight favorite (say 60:40) rather than crushing your opponent.

This quality of PLO is very deceptive for recreational players. Many assume that if they are only a slight underdog so often, the fact that they are losing is a consequence of bad luck rather than their bad choices.

Among the more aware players, PLO is considered “the game of nuts”, meaning that you must be very selective on every street to not fall prey to playing too carelessly. Playing too wide, mixed with a few unfortunate runouts, will result in significant losses, which would be avoidable otherwise.

Learning when to fold strong, yet often not good enough hands (like a flush draw to second nuts) is one of the most crucial skills to learn as a Pot Limit Omaha player, as it will help you avoid losses which your average opponents won't.

Many people, especially in live games, are impatient and hate folding. It’s very transparent in PLO games, where players notoriously enter the pots with speculative and, quite frankly, unplayable hands (e.g. often playing any double suited hole cards). That’s why so many pots are played multiway, where usually recreational players are dominated by the hands of the more skilled and patient opponents.

While it makes the games wilder, it also explains why the Pot Limit Omaha tables are usually the softest in the room.

Pot Limit Omaha test your mental skills like no other poker game

A bigger variance is one of the consequences of the abovementioned concept of equities running close. It means your losses might be more severe when you’re unlucky and run badly than in other poker formats. Since it is so hard to stack off your opponent when they are drawing dead, the odds of losing big pots will always be there, and sometimes you’ll lose a few pig pots quickly.

Of course, falling victim to a suckout feels terrible, but you can turn it into your advantage, like almost every unfortunate circumstance in the poker game. Most people play worse when they run bad for a while or lose a big pot after an unlucky river.

To be a successful Pot Limit Omaha poker player, you must harness your ego and accompanying tilt. It’s a skill many recreational Omaha poker players have never developed and will never do.

If you can maintain a stronger mindset than your opponents, you will lose less than they do when things go awry and win more when the circumstances favor you.

Just like in any poker format, everything starts with an understanding of the basics

The basics of the Pot Limit Omaha case will be a solid preflop poker strategy. Developing an intuition for the categories of hands that want to perform certain actions will translate into fewer opportunities to commit mistakes postflop and, subsequently, more favorable outcomes.

PLO Genius is a poker tool that will help you structure your preflop plan. With its help, you’ll learn how often you should enter the pot preflop and in what way. All the basic functionalities are available for free, so check it out yourself and start playing PLO today.