How to Not Suck at PLO: Avoid Weak Rundowns

Kirill Gerasimov

This is the third in an eight-part beginner strategy series on how to not suck at Pot-Limit Omaha.

Check below the article for the other parts in the series.

In Omaha, you start every hand out with a plan to make the nuts.

Rundowns (meaning four cards that are connected in sequence, like 6789) give you that chance and are among the strongest starting hands in PLO.

But not all rundowns are considered equal.

Bigger = Better

The bigger the rundown, the better.

You always want to make the nuts and “cooler” people when they make a second-best straight.

If you set yourself up by playing the right hands in the right position, you’ll be doing the coolering more often than you’ll be getting coolered.

It’s for that reason that big rundowns are much stronger than smaller rundowns.

Leif Force
The bigger the rundown, the better.

For example:

T 9 7 8 is a lot more powerful of a hand than 3 4 5 6.

The former will simply make the nuts far more often than the latter.

Making second-best straights in Omaha is extremely expensive and the primary reason why small rundowns should seldom be played.

Rundowns also have excellent flopability because when you flop two pair you always flop a draw to go along with it.

The Best Rundowns

The best rundowns are large rundowns with few gaps.

Just like in Hold’em, suited connectors (eg. 7 8) are much better than suited two-gappers (eg. 7 5).

In Omaha, T987 is a much better hand than J786.

The more gaps in your hand, the harder a time you’ll have making the nut straight.

AKQJ is an excellent hand but it’s not the most powerful rundown because it can only make two different straights as opposed to four. 

More powerful rundowns are:

  • J T 9 8
  • Q J T 9
  • 9 8 7 6

These rundowns can make straights in more ways, and when they do they’ll often “cooler” smaller straights.

Dan Shak
The more ways to make second-best, the weaker the hand.

Strong Rundowns

Weaker, but still strong, rundowns are rundowns with a gap in them.

Ideally if you do have a gap in your rundown you’d like it to be on your smallest cards ex. JT97.

That way when you flop a “wrap,” a straight draw with more outs than an open-ender, more of your outs will be to the nuts.

Eg. JT97 on 89X, 78X, 68X etc.

When the gap is on your top card, eg. T765, when you flop a wrap half the time you’ll be drawing to the non-nut straights e.g. T765 on 89X, 87X etc.

And, as we’ve established, drawing to non-nut straights is ill advised.

Other strong rundowns are three-card rundowns with a nut suit.

e.g. A 8 7 6.

The nut suit (having the ace of the suit) adds value to this hand because you can now flop huge.

You can flop a wrap with the nut flush draw, two pair with the nut flush draw, etc. If you have a nut suit it really increases the value of your hand.

You must always be calculating in your head how often your hand is going to make the nuts. The more ways to your hand can make the nuts, the stronger the hand.

The more ways you can make second-best, the weaker the hand.

Weak Rundowns

Weak rundowns are hands that, even when they flop big, are trouble hands.

Small rundowns like 3456, rundowns with gaps (8543) and similar hands are extremely weak.

When these types of hands make straights they will seldom make the nut straight. And when they make two pair, seldom will it be the best hand.

Patrik Antonius
Suited rundowns are infinitely more powerful.

Bottom line, these hands are trash and should be avoided.

Suited Rundowns Make Your Hand More Powerful

Having a rundown that’s suited (or preferably double suited) makes your hand infinitely more powerful.

Eg. 5 6 7 8 is so much better than 5 6 7 8.

Though none of the suits are nut suits, being suited just adds Plan Bs and Cs to your hand.

Remember we want to flop something with something else.

When you flop the nuts on 4 3 2 with 5 6 7 8, you can freeroll on anyone with 5 6 7 8.

Being suited and double suited gives you more options to win and makes your hand much, much stronger.

Case Study:

$1/$2 PLO with $200 effective stacks.

A player raises to $5 under the gun and another player calls on the button. You call in the big blind with T 7 8 6 and go three-way to a flop.

The flop comes 8 3 9.

You bet $10 and the original raiser makes it $40. The button calls.

Phil Ivey
Not all rundowns are created equal.

What Should You Do?

You should fold. Yes, you have a wrap, but it’s a weak one.

You have few outs to the nuts, there’s a flush draw out there, and you’re out of position.

There are very few good turn cards for your hands. Often you’ll make a straight and someone will make a bigger one costing you money.

Key Takeaway

You have to remember not all rundowns are created equal.

If you play weak rundowns too often you’ll find yourself being coolered as opposed to doing the coolering.

If you do that, you’ll lose a ton of money.

Learn how to recognize strong wraps, avoid weak rundowns and you’ll find yourself on the right side of those straight-over-straight scenarios.

More in the How to Not Suck at Pot-Limit Omaha series:

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