Basic principles of Pot Limit Omaha
In Front of you poker lesson where it introduces the basic principles of Omaha poker game. Its differences and basic advice for the Pot limit Omaha. Now Omaha is second of the most popular poker games in the world after Hold’em. Before the Poker boom in 2003 Omaha was distributed in american cards rooms and was the most popular cash game in Europe. When Hold’em became a certain poker standart game, Omaha stayed the most popular alternative. No one world series of poker tournaments goes without Omaha with quite high buy - ins.
It is very rare to play with no limits in Omaha. Because its features make it more action game than Hold’em. It is based on draw and requires more developed structure. Therefore it is customary to play Pot Limit or Limit format. In Hold’em the most important rounds of betting are preflop and flop, when in Omaha the most important streets are flop and turn. Comparing these two games they cal Hold’em is Game of Flop and Omaha is Game of Nuts or Game of Turn.
In this article the main characteristics of Omaha poker strategy will be deeply analysed.
So, let's look at key skills of the good Pot Limit Omaha player:
- Patience/discipline (one of the main factors — strict hand choice)
- Table selection (this skill is useful not just for Omaha but to any kind of poker game)
- Ability to read opponents
- Aggression (ability to bet and raise with draw and other perspective hands)
- Immunity to tilt (because of high game dispersion tilt resistance is more important factor in it than in Hold’em)
Lets compare Pot limit Omaha and Texas Hold’em:
- In Omaha poker players more often see flop. Differences between premium and average hands in Omaha are not as big as in Hold’em. Due to the fact that PLO8 is drawn, game suited connectors have more strength than in Hold’em. And even pocket aces are not such a strong and desirable combination as in Hold’em.
- Huge number of players raise on preflop and this makes pots significantly bigger than in Hold’em. And the higher preflop pot the bigger bets are on next streets that is why Omaha is a larger moneywise game.
- In Hold’em very often pair or even weaker hands win the pot. In Omaha the same hand practically never will be the strongest. Meaning, the hand always must have a draw.
- In Omaha, pocket cards have more meaning that's why you have less opportunities for bluff. If on the board there are three suited cards then practically always somebody will get flush. If there is a pair on the board it is a very high chance that someone will get Full house. In Hold’em situations like that are not too thrilling.
- Value bet is very important because there are many draws. You must get maximum value from situations where you have maximum equity. Otherwise you won’t be winning constantly in PLO8.
- Position is also very important both in Hold’em and Omaha. But a Hold'em player in position will win more often than out of it. In Omaha success depends on the hand and main goal of the position - it is an opportunity to control pot size.
- In Omaha it is almost impossible to use tight passive players. Due to the fact that your bluff opportunities are very limited. The pressure of these types of players is not as effective. Not, it is not impossible but it is way harder.
If you are absolutely unfamiliar with Pot limit games it is necessary to understand conceptual differences with No limit games. But first you need to know what the Pot Limit format means - is that maximum bet in Pot limit game equal to the total pot size including your call. It is not hard. Let's take an example:
First player: Pot: 100$; Maximum bet: 100$
Second player: Pot: 200$ (100$ on pre flop + 100$ from first player);
Maximum bet: 400$ (100$ on pre flop + 100$ bet from first player + 100$ your call to first players bet. In total 300$ is what will be raised in the pot. If to add to 300$ another 100$ from your call then total will be 400$)
Sometimes it is hard to count. If pot is 424$, someone bets 68$, what is the maximum you may bet? No need to waste time counting. Just say “pot” then count. Initially count your call then add total pot size with all bets and then your own bet. In this case, the maximum bet size will be 628$.
Now that the betting mechanism is clear, let's look at the differences. First what you can see is that in Pot Limit poker bets are significantly higher than in No Limit games. In Hold’em you will bet 800$ in 1000$ pot. In Pot Limit format the same hand will bet 1000$. The reason is the power of the bet. If you bet three quarters of the pot the bet seems more dangerous than all-in. In Pot Limit games pot size bet shows a very strong hand. What will be unusual for a No Limit Hold’em player.
Also in Pot Limit game “check - raise” it is standard strategy and is used pretty often. The reason is simple. If in pot there is 100$ your move is first but want to push all-in 200$, you cannot do that. Maximum bet will be 100$. But if you will check and raise 50$ then you can put in the pot all of your money. Another difference in betting structure is the problem in defending strong hands on early streets and on pre flop. In a closed pot with blinds 1$ /2$ potraise equals 7$ (1$+2$+2$=5$ what forms maximum bet as 2$+5$), and this is only half of standard raise in No Limit game of the same kind limits.
Now let's look at important recommendations on how to play Pot Limit Omaha:
- Very carefully select starter hands. It is very easy to overestimate hand power looking at the variety of possible draws which you can get with it.
- Play according to opponents. When you get on the table straight away try to recognize their particular qualities. Some like to play with marginal weak hands. Someone folds to aggression. Somebody calls high bets with weak draws. And someone bluffs.
- Respect big bets and raises. Good players in Omaha betting high rarely will be bluffing. Not as the same type will do in Hold’em.
- Don't hold on to an open-ended straight draw. In Omaha you can get a straight draw with 13, 17 or 20 auts already on the flop. It is better to wait when the draw will close and then put large money in the pot.
- Don't overrate pocket aces. If you have a pair of aces and a couple of suited cards there are very little chances to improve on flop. If there won’t be an ace on the flop then as a rule by
- the showdown you will be way behind everyone else on the table.
- Omaha it is Nuts Game. It always will be a bad decision to play a draw which doesn’t have chances to become nuts.
And in the end I would like to consider the most frequent mistakes meeting in Pot Limit Omaha:
- Overestimating pocket cards which are monsters in Hold’em;
- Limp - bets with weak draws with just few outs;
- Playing too many starter hands;
- Passive game on pre flop with strong hands;
- Free cards for opponents or too small bets without nuts.
In Omaha it is very important to understand the meaning of blinds. Read about blinds in poker in the next article.