PLO Tournament Strategy Part I: The Re-Steal

David Benyamine

One interesting aspect of Pot-Limit Omaha: if all of the money goes in pre-flop, rarely is one hand a large favorite (or underdog) against another (single) hand.

Typically, the vast majority of Omaha hands have pre-flop equity in the range of 40%-60%. This differs markedly from Hold'em, where it's quite common to find situations where one hand dominates the other - either an overpair versus an underpair, or A-K versus A-Q.

In these situations, the player with the dominant hand is generally anywhere from a 70%-82% favorite to win the hand.

This fact has a direct strategic implication. Since you're rarely in really bad shape if you get most of your chips in pre-flop, it's often a very effective strategy to play far more aggressively pre-flop than you might in Hold'em.

Specifically, liberal use of the re-steal - a play all top No-Limit Hold'em tournament players are familiar with - can be extremely effective in Pot-Limit Omaha. You'll often force your opponent to (incorrectly) fold his hand.

The Resteal: Particularly Effective in PLO

The reason the re-steal is such an effective play is twofold: first, it will quite often result in stealing the pot (the ideal result); second, if you do get called, you'll quite likely still have close to a 50% chance to win the hand.

at the final table of the €5k PLO, 2011 WSOPE

This situation is somewhat analogous to re-raising pre-flop in Hold'em with A-K. You want your opponent to (incorrectly) fold his medium pocket pair, but if he calls, you still have a virtual coin flip situation.

Let's look at how the re-steal can be used in practice. Suppose you're playing in a typical 100-player online Pot-Limit Omaha tournament with 15-minute levels and a starting chip count of $1,500. During the normal progression of the tournament, there are two ideal times to attempt a re-steal:

1. During the last level of the first hour of play. At this point, the blinds are $50/$100. If your chip stack is slightly below average and in the range of $2,000-$3,000, your M is between 14-20. You will need to begin increasing your chip stack.

2. On the bubble for the money or the final table (often for online Omaha tournaments, this is the same thing). At this point, there are 10-12 players left and the average chip stack is between $12,500 and $15,000. The blinds are typically $400/$800 and therefore the average M is in the 10-13 range.

Let's take a closer look at the first of these two situations. Typically, by the end of the first hour, the field will have been reduced to around 50 players each with an average chip stack of $3,000.

Ideally, you've played fairly tight for the initial levels when the blinds were quite small relative to the average chip stacks and therefore have a reasonably solid table image.

Now is the perfect time to open things up a little. The blinds are now more meaningful and with an M in the range of 14-20 you have the perfect-sized stack to apply some pressure with the re-steal.

So, when do you make the move?

There are three principal factors that need to be considered: position, the opponent and your cards. In today's article, we'll restrict ourselves to discussing the first two of these factors.

Patrik Antonius


The best time to attempt a re-steal is from late position, either from one of the blinds or from the button against a (possible) steal attempt from a player in late position.

You generally don't want to attempt a re-steal if there are still many players to act behind you, although re-raising with strong hands is perfectly acceptable.


To make the re-steal move a profitable one, two conditions need to be fulfilled. The first condition is you must have fold equity. For this to be the case, your opponent needs to be the type of player who is capable of folding his hand.

So the re-steal is best attempted against a player who is relatively solid, not someone who will automatically call you down every time.

Ideally, your opponent will also be right around or slightly higher than the average chip stack. If he's a large stack he'll tend to call you down too often and if he is somewhat short-stacked, he may feel he's already pot-committed or he'll enerally be in a gambling frame of mind.

The second condition to make the re-steal a profitable proposition is you need to have the type of hand that's still in reasonably good shape against the hands your opponent will likely call you with.

In the next article in this series, we'll take a look at which cards you want to hold and which hands are best avoided when attempting a re-steal. We'll also consider some of the mathematics behind the move.

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