This article is based on an episode of the Level-Up Podcast, hosted by poker pro and coach Dylan Weisman and Upswing VP Mike Brady. You can watch or listen to the entire episode via the links above or read on if you prefer a written version.
Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO) is the world’s second-most popular poker variant, only trailing No-Limit Hold’em. PLO continues to gain momentum in the world of poker, drawing new players to the four-card game year after year.
Upswing Poker coach and high stakes PLO pro Dylan Weisman stopped by for a special guest appearance on the Level-Up Podcast to discuss the great game. Weisman talks winning Pot-Limit Omaha strategies in Level-Up Season 3 Episode 3.
This week’s episode includes:
- General preflop strategies for PLO
- Tips and tactics for playing postflop
Preflop Strategies For PLO
It’s a common mistake for newer PLO players to overvalue starting hands – many “good-seeming” hands are actually quite trashy in practice!
In Dylan Weisman’s PLO Launch Pad course for Upswing Poker, which is meant for people wanting to get started in PLO, Dylan talks about the four components to look out for when deciding whether or not a hand is worth playing.
Four Components of Hand Playability in Pot-Limit Omaha
- Nuttiness (ability to make the nuts)
- High-Pair Power
In PLO, we want to stack equity – the more components that a hand has, the more likely it is to have robust equity versus an opponent’s range.
For example, consider a PLO starting hand like . That hand ranks high in all four categories of hand playability.
The order of importance for these components is contextual. Weisman gives the following guidelines for which of the four components matters most depending on stack size:
- Smaller stack sizes favor high card power.
- Deeper stacks and multiway pots favor connectedness and nuttiness. Very deep stacks favor nuttiness the most.
The four factors combined contribute to a starting hand’s robustness. Robustness incorporates all four playability factors, and the more robust your hand, the more likely it can make the best hand by the river.
Preflop General Tips
Weisman defines starting hands in PLO by hand class. The hand class system puts starting hands into distinct groups, rather than assessing each possible four-card starting combo individually.
Suppose you’re under the gun (UTG) in a six-max cash game. Weisman recommends the following hands to be at the bottom of your UTG range (as well as hands similar to these, aka the same hand class):
The earlier your position, the “smoother” your connectedness needs to be (aka no gaps in your straight draw). A hand like passed the smoothness test from UTG, while a hand like does not.
Let’s see how the bottom of your range (aka the worst hands you would open with) change when you’re on the BTN in a six-max cash game:
You can certainly open a lot more trashy hands from the BTN when compared to UTG. Let’s take a look at why:
Your are much more likely to play heads-up when you open from the BTN, and therefore a lot of hands that would be clear folds from UTG have value as BTN opens.
In multiway spots, shy away from good-looking combos that will frequently be dominated (like from the CO).
The best 3-bet/4-bet bluff combos are double-suited (even better if they have an ace!)
Playing Pocket Aces Preflop
Every poker player gets excited when they look down at pocket aces. In PLO, however, consider the following factors when you have a combo that includes two aces:
- Not all AAxx are created equal! Position, stack depth, and the four components of playability still need to be carefully considered. For example, is a considerably better starting hand than .
- When out of position (OOP) in a late-position opener/3-bettor matchup, ALWAYS 4-bet your AAxx hands if you’re less than 150BB deep.
- Don’t just blindly pot the flop – think through what your opponent’s range will likely be, and how this interacts with the board (especially in 3-bet pots).
Navigating Postflop Play In Pot-Limit Omaha
Moving forward to postflop play, let’s take a look at a couple of Dylan’s tips when you take a hand to the flop:
Avoid trying to play medium-strength/vulnerable hands aggressively in an effort to get your opponents to fold. These kinds of hands are better played passively in PLO.
Dylan offers these general guidelines for playing postflop in Pot-Limit Omaha:
- The robustness of your hand (the likelihood that it will be the nuts by the river) should mostly dictate your aggression level.
- When deciding what our c-bet sizing should be, we need to consider our entire range.
- When OOP in a matchup where equities are competitive (like non-A-high boards in non-3-bet pots), consider checking your range. And check-raise with your most robust hands.
- In multiway pots, you generally want to use small bet sizes (25%-50% pot). When OOP, you should be checking a LOT (you can bet A-high boards as the preflop aggressor).
The PLO Launch Pad is an introductory course that will help you become a winner at Pot-Limit Omaha fast.
You’ll learn preflop and postflop tactics used by top PLO players, and perhaps, more importantly, learn how to exploit common player tendencies.
Use the coupon code PLO25 to save 25% on the PLO Launch Pad. The course isn’t that expensive to begin with, so there’s no need to tank this decision.
If you enjoyed this written version of the Level-Up podcast, check out more episodes here.