Four Card Pot Limit Omaha, or as it is popularly abbreviated, 4 Card PLO can easily be considered a cousin of the cult favorite Texas Hold’em poker. Both of their gaming styles are eerily similar to each other, with just a few changes here and there that mix it up a little.
In a game of Pot Limit Omaha, as in Texas Hold’em, every player receives private cards or hole cards. In this game, the hole cards that the players receive are four in number. Whereas, the number of community cards remains the same as in Hold’em, a total of five.
The game is played with a minimum of two players and a maximum of ten at a table.
We will first brush over some of the basics of the game and then take a deep dive into the game stages and some tips to help you improve your gameplay.
What is Pot Limit?
When it comes to the limits of the game, Pot Limit Omaha is played with the general Pot-Limit rules, which means that the maximum bet amount allowed is dependent on the size of the pot. As opposed to No-Limit Hold’em, players don’t have the option of betting all their chips in this game. Pot Limit games are usually aimed at protecting the players and structuring the game.
We will discuss the game in detail in this article so that you are prepared to play it at the tables the next time you are in the mood for a challenge.
Hand rankings in Pot Limit Omaha
The first and foremost thing to understand in any poker game is hand ranking. The hierarchy that is followed in this game is identical to that of Texas Hold’em poker.
For a quick revision of hand rankings in poker check out our page on poker hand rankings at Spartan Poker.
The twist in Pot Limit Omaha
Remember how we said that Omaha is slightly different from Texas Hold’em poker? Well here is the tricky part of Omaha.
The players at the table are expected to make their best five-card hand using precisely two of their hole cards and three of the community cards. This rule of being able to use only two of your hole cards makes Omaha a tricky game to play.
Now that we have all our basics down let’s understand the flow of the game so that you don’t feel lost at the table.
Game Stages of Pot Limit Omaha
Once again, the game stages of PLO poker are similar to those of Texas Hold’em. Before the betting rounds begin, each player is dealt with four of their hole cards. The betting rounds then begin and take place as follows:
The pre-flop begins straight after the players have received their starting hands. In PLO poker, as in other games, the starting hand selection is extremely critical.
When playing, you should keep in mind that from the hand that you hold only two cards can be used in your final five-card hand. This means that if you hold three kings and one ten you still do not hold a three of a kind because you can use only two of those kings.
So, you should analyze the strength of your card and act accordingly. At this point, you have the options of folding, calling a bet or raising a previously called bet. Choose wisely!
The betting action will continue in a clockwise direction until everyone has had a chance to act.
This is the second betting round. Here the action gets turned up as three of the five community cards are displayed on the table. These are the cards that are common to all the players at the table. If you are lucky, you will be able to make a strong five-card hand at this point itself. You should be on the lookout and make your decisions now as the community cards will keep getting presented. Each of these cards represents a new opportunity to lock down the strongest hand possible.
The betting commences with the player to the left of the button when playing online. Usually, this place is occupied by the player who posts the big blind but in case that the player who posted the big blind has folded, then the player to the left of that assumes the starting position.
The pattern of betting is the same as in the pre-flop, and it takes place in the clockwise direction. The options available to all the players remain the same; folding, calling a bet, or raising a previously called bet.
Once all the players have had a chance to act, and the action is equalized, the round ends, and the next one begins.
The third betting round in PLO poker is called the Turn. In this round, the fourth and second last community card is presented to the players. Once it is presented, the players have a better knowledge of where they stand at the table and the betting commences.
With the same options of calling, raising, and folding players act following the clockwise direction.
This completes the Turn, and we proceed to the final betting round of the Pot Limit Omaha.
This is the round that all the players wait for. Some have their hearts in their mouths, hoping for the final community card to be in their favor.
This is all because it is their last chance to bet. To raise the stakes or to fold before the stakes get too high for them to handle.
If you have a strong hand, then this is your chance to shine.
Other than the revelation of the final community card everything in the round is pretty mundane.
The betting action runs in the clockwise directions and based on their hand rankings, players either bet, raise, or fold.
The showdown is the final part of the game. At this stage, all bets are completed. All the players at the table reveal their hole cards and based on all the best five-card hands, the winner is determined. The winner sweeps the pot away, and the game is officially over.
Tips to Keep in Mind while playing Pot Limit Omaha
Pot Limit Omaha can be a tough game to wrap your mind around. To help you get a better grip on the game, we have a few tips that you can make use of at the tables.
1. Select your starting hand carefully
In a game of Omaha, your starting hand is more important than ever. Making a five-card hand in Omaha is trickier than in the usual poker games. Don’t play too many hands in Omaha; choose your hands more carefully than you would in Hold’em. Only the most premium hands with loads of potential should be played.
The best hands to play are the ones that can improve.
For example, double suited hands that give you the chance to grab two different flush draws at the flop.
A double suited hand with a pair of kings and a pair of aces is popularly considered one of the best hands in PLO poker.
2. A pair of aces is not a dream come true in Omaha
Holding a pair of aces can be a great asset in the pre-flop when it comes to PLO poker, but they aren’t as strong as they are traditionally considered to be in the long run. They need to improve when paired with community cards. Otherwise, you are not very likely to win the game with a pair of aces. So, be careful and don’t keep your hopes too high.
3. Hold’em Strategies are better left home when playing Omaha
Keeping a No Limit Hold’em mentality while playing PLO poker can be one of the biggest drawbacks for a player. A player can overvalue hands like one pairs and two pairs due to this mentality.
4. Players don’t bluff much in Omaha poker
Bluffing is not as much a staple in Omaha as it is in Texas Hold’em. An aggressive and strong play usually hints at a strong hand in Omaha, unlike in Hold’em where it could mean a lot of other deceptive things.
These pointers above should help you formulate your 4 Card PLO strategy and bag the pot that is rightfully yours.
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