How to Not Suck at PLO: Start and End with a Plan

Shaun Deeb
Shaun f Deeb: Always has a plan.

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

Check below the article for the rest in the series.

The easiest way to get better at Omaha is to start out from the very beginning with a plan.

When you’re learning the game it’s best to overly simplify it down to “look to make the nuts by the river and you’ll win.”

You do that by playing only good hands before the flop. Good hands before the flop make good hands after the flop.

And when you make good hands on or after the flop, your decisions are much easier than if you make weaker, marginal hands.

Easy decisions mean right decisions, and making right decisions is how you make money in any form of poker.

The Turn and River – Take Advantage of Easy Decisions

Liv Boeree
On the turn you finally reap the benefits of your solid pre-flop and flop play.
 

The turn is a very important street. By the turn you have a pretty good idea of how your hand is going to turn out.

If you’re drawing and you’ve hit, try to get all-in.

If you’ve missed, play poker and figure out if you’re being laid the right price to peel off one more card to hit your draw.

If you weren’t drawing, you have to decide whether or not the turn card helped your opponent.

You do this the same way you do in Hold’em. You put your opponent on a range of hands, decide whether or not this turn has helped him and you play accordingly.

It’s impossible to go over all of the different scenarios you might encounter on the turn, but the basic idea is that on the turn you finally reap the benefits of your solid pre-flop and flop play.

You started out with a goal to make the nuts and now you have to play poker.

You have to think critically about what your opponent is playing for and you have to adjust accordingly.

River Value-Betting Relies on the Same Fundamentals

By the river, you now know exactly what your hand is.

Antonio Esfandiari
There’s no magic formula. It’s just poker.
 

Most of the time you’re going to be all-in by this point, but when you’re not you have to determine how strong your opponent’s hand is.

You can still value bet without the nuts in Omaha but you have to be sure your opponent doesn’t have a better hand.

You use the same fundamentals to figure this out as you do in Hold’em.

You re-create a picture in your head of how the hand has played out to this point and ask the same questions:

  • How would your opponent play made hands?
  • How would he play drawing hands?
  • Does your opponent call with weak hands on the river?
  • Is he easily bluffed?

You need to take all of this into consideration on the river to decide how to act.

There’s no magic formula. It’s just poker.

Use your observation skills from previous hands to determine what you should do in each situation.

Position, Position, Position

Position in Omaha is paramount. It’s already been stated but it needs to be stated again

On the turn and river you’ll really see why.

Often in Omaha you’ll be drawing to one hand but another draw comes in.

When you’re in position and your opponent checks, you can choose to bluff or you can choose to check it down.

When you’re out of position you don’t have those options but you have to face your opponent who does have these options.

Position in Omaha just can't be understated.

Dan Smith
Use everything you’ve learned in Hold’em and adapt it to Omaha.
 

If you’re playing too much out of position in Omaha, you’re going to burn money.

Key Takeaway:

Remember to plan the entire hand from the beginning. You want to make the nuts and you want to have back-up plans.

If you set out from the get-go with excellent pre-flop fundamentals and you carry that over to the flop, the turn and the river are going to be a lot easier to play.

You’ll put your opponents to tough decisions and you’ll avoid the tough decisions yourself. The rest is just poker experience.

Use everything you’ve learned in Hold’em and adapt it to Omaha.

Despite key strategy differences the fundamentals are the same: calculate pot odds and observe, observe, observe.

If you do that, you’re already going to have a step up on your opponents.

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

assets/photos/authors/_resampled/croppedimage6060-daniel-skolovy.jpg
About Daniel Skolovy

Daniel Skolovy started out in the gaming industry as a lowly dealer, spending countless graveyard shifts dealing blackjack, pai gow, carribean stud, baccarat, etc. He quickly became bored dealing games that were so obviously weighted in the house's favor.

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