A Beginner’s Guide to Pot Limit Omaha

Pot limit Omaha (PLO) is an exciting variant of Poker derived from Texas Hold’em. It is the second most common form of poker in the world today. Before the 2003 poker boom, Omaha was much more prevalent in American cardrooms, and was the most popular cash game in many rooms around Europe.
In Pot Limit Omaha, each player is dealt four private cards (hole cards) which belong only to that player. Five community cards are dealt face-up on the board. In Omaha games, all players use exactly three of the community cards together with exactly two of their hole cards to make the best five-card poker hand.
For example:
If a player holds {A-Hearts}{K-Clubs}{Q-Spades}{J-Clubs} — a strong starting hand in pot-limit Omaha — and the five community cards read {K-Hearts}{10-Hearts}{6-Spades}{3-Hearts}{2-Hearts}, the player does not hold a flush despite holding the
 {A-Hearts}Neither does the player have a Broadway straight. The player actually only has a pair of kings with an ace-kicker.
The bet sizing is another special aspect of Pot Limit Omaha:
It is not unlimited as in No Limit, but there is no specified limit as in Fixed Limit either. The maximum raise always depends on the current pot size. To put it simply, you can keep in mind that a pot size raise equals the current pot + three times your opponent’s bet. If there are $50 in the pot and your opponent bets 50, you can raise to a maximum pot size of 50 + 3×50 (150) = 200.
Best Starting Hands in Pot Limit Omaha:
Computer simulations show that {A-}{A-}{K-}{K-}double-suited is the best pot-limit Omaha starting hand. Mainly, those hands that have a big pair in them and some connectedness that allows them to improve preflop. Other strong hands containing a pair of aces include {A-}{A-}{J-}{10-} and {A-}{A-}{Q-}{Q-}, while double-suited connected holdings such as {J-Spades}{10-Diamonds}{9-Spades}{8-Diamonds} are also extremely strong.
Basic Strategy for Pot Limit Omaha Beginners:
  • Its easy to fall into a trap thinking any four cards are worth playing. Preflop hand selection is extremely important in PLO.
  • While bluffing does occur, it’s less prevalent in most players’ PLO strategy than happens in hold’em; especially at the lower stakes.
  • Although there are times when you can play a weaker draw aggressively, drawing to the nuts is the best idea.
  • Most PLO players come from a no-limit hold’em background and play the game as such. They could overvalue one-pair and two-pair holdings, as well as open-ended straight draws (with eight outs). The latter is particularly terrible, since in PLO it is possible to have “wrap” draws with up to 20 outs with the perfect community card and hole card combination.
Pot-limit Omaha continues to be a hugely popular game. The $1,000 PLO event at the World Series of Poker 2017, broke the record for biggest non-hold’em live tournament, as 1,293 players took part.