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PLO8 Strategies and Tips



Pot Limit Omaha 8

   - by Wesley R. Young

Pot Limit Omaha Eight is quite possibly the most profitable variation of poker played by good poker players. It is also the variation of poker that is most dangerous and costly to unskilled players. These two bits of information lead to the poor players losing their money at a highly accelerated pace, which is the main reason that you will rarely, if ever, find a live pot limit Omaha 8 game. However, thanks to the Internet bringing thousands of players from around the world together, you do have many options to play it online, any hour of the day. You may be wondering what any of these facts have to do with you. Though Texas holdem has taken the poker world by storm, the fact is that the fastest way to make the most money playing poker is to become a strong pot limit Omaha/8 player.

There are a few rules that I consider completely unbreakable while learning how to play this game. The first rule is never play pot limit before you are a winning player at the limit tables. Pot limit is a brutal and unforgiving game, yet highly mathematical and can be beaten. You have little to no chance of succeeding until you learn the basic game play, like starting hand selection, positional advantages and disadvantages and post flop play.

The second unbreakable rule is never commit all of your money to a pot where you only have a draw to half the pot, and no realistic draw to the other half. This is by far the single biggest mistake poor pot limit Omaha high low players make. The following strategies are more general in nature, but none of them will matter if you donít master the two rules above.

As one of the best Omaha players in the world says, ďThis is a game of home runs, not singles.Ē To put this into laymanís terms, by winning just a few big pots in a session, you can easily have a great win rate. And when I talk about win rate, I donít care how many hands I win, the only thing I care about is how much money I win. It is worth it to fold hands for two hours in a row if they set you up to scoop a pot two or three times the size of your table stake. It is also at times worth investing a small amount of money into a poor situation to set up the same kind of scoop potential. These are not things you can learn from reading an article or book, but they are things you will learn as you master the game.

The worlds best pot limit Omaha eight players put themselves into situations where the worst they can do is win their investment into a pot back, but have an opportunity to multiply that investment. You usually see this when two or more players get all or most of their stack in the pot with one or more cards still to come and one player has at least half the pot locked, but has a draw to win the other half. You also see this when three or more players are in the pot and two of them are tied for low, while another player has the best high hand and a second best low. Sometimes the two hands tied for low will be counterfeited and allow the high player to scoop the pot.

Of course there is no way of knowing pre-flop how a hand will turn out, but the best players recognize when to cut their losses and when to push their advantages. For example, with two other players in the pot when you have a bare A2 (Bare means no counterfeit protection) and no draw to the high half of the pot, if you recognize this situation before investing too much into the pot, you should usually fold. The odds of you getting chopped for low are very high, because everybody plays hands with A2, and getting counterfeited will lose the entire pot. This can quickly turn a winning session into a losing one, and also place an emotional strain on your playing ability. You do not want to play pot limit Omaha when you arenít at the top of your game both mentally and ability wise.

The final tip I will offer is that you should play well below your bankroll when you first venture into the pot limit Omaha 8 games. Once you master your skills, you will be able to play below the normal bankroll requirements for Texas holdem, because Omaha is more mathematical than holdem. In other words, there is less short-term luck and variance in Omaha. But when you start playing you can lose a great deal of your bankroll quickly. My recommendation is to start no higher than the $25 buy-in games and have a bankroll of at least $5,000.

In summary, if you are willing to put in the time and work involved to become a winning limit Omaha player and can learn the things we covered above, you can quickly find yourself winning on a steady basis at the pot limit Omaha eight tables. One last parting shot before I go; beyond these basic concepts, the only way to become a consistent winner is by practicing at the tables on a regular basis and judging your own play harshly. Recognize mistakes and improve upon them immediately.

* If you donít understand any of the terminology in the preceding article, like scoop or chopped, DO NOT play at a pot limit Omaha eight table. Learn to play limit Omaha 8 well first.