Professional Pot Limit Omaha player Fernando “JNandez87” Habegger, one of the authors of the popular upswing poker resource, shares with us the secrets of this discipline. The information below is the result of his many years of practice and intensive work on his game. Use these 10 secrets to level up your PLO skill and boost your winrate.
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Don’t protect too many hands while on BB
Trying to defend too many hands in Omaha while out of position is a huge face in the game and can cost you dearly. Micro and mid-stakes players should be especially careful, as the high rake that the poker rooms charge will very quickly turn a weak EV protection of a hand into a negative one.
Coordinated hands containing cards of the same suit are well suited for defense.
Don’t cold-call from MP and CO too often.
These cold calls will be negative EV actions for the following reasons:
- There are too many players behind you who can join the game.
- You will be playing against the player’s strong raising range from early position.
- Very often, postflop, you will be making a decision while in a “sandwich”, when the open raiser makes a continuation bet, and one or more players will act behind you.
We will be forced to fold our hand postflop too often, thereby making our preflop investment unjustified. We should refuse to play hands with which we will not be able to continue playing after the opponent’s continuation bet and which are bad against a squeeze.
Opening less than pot-bet will not be justified
If we open-raise less than the pot-bet, the open is likely to be unprofitable. This is usually not the best solution for Pot Limit Omaha. Since the equity of the hands is pretty close here, we shouldn’t let our opponents watch the flop cheaply and be able to outbid us.
If you give the blinds pot odds that are too good, better than 2: 1, quite often it will be profitable for them to enter the game. You also need to take into account the high rake. Playing too many small pots should be avoided as it will eat up a significant portion of the profit.
Try to resteal as often as possible
When you encounter a BTN steal, you should re-steal at a rate noticeably greater than 10%. 3-betting is the only way to push BTN into negative EV and make him narrow his preflop range.
In addition, when you 3-bet, you negate your opponent’s positional advantage somewhat, since the SPR drops significantly and it is more difficult for him to bet bluff.
3-bet with weak aces is better than flat calling
Flat calling with a hand like AAxx will usually be a minus action, since it will be very difficult to realize your equity and improve postflop with it. This hand does not stand up well against the continuation bet on most boards, especially multi-way. Squeezing with a hand like this will be more profitable because you make it harder for the opponents behind you to enter the game, take over the initiative, and can most profitably realize the potential of your hand.
This is the equity and equity distribution frequency of the AA72 hand versus 24% of the opening range.
Don’t continually CBet out of position.
When we are out of position, most of the time, the correct play is to check most of our range.
Since we act first on all streets, the rest of the players will receive too much information about the strength of our hand. By checking almost all of our hands, we tell our opponents almost nothing about the strength of our cards.
There are two main reasons why we can place a bet:
- We have a significant real equity advantage given the ranges of the players in the hand and the texture of the board.
- … And / or our range has basically more strong hands than our opponents.
- In both of these cases, we have to bet with part of our range, best of all with a large size.
Consider an example where UTG raises preflop and BTN calls.
Even though UTG has the equity advantage on this board, he should still check as his range is heavily biased towards top pairs and high cards, but he doesn’t have many straight draws.
Avoid direct play
Many Pot Limit Omaha players use an overly obvious strategy in which they rely mainly on the strength of their hand.
When these players take an aggressive action, such as a continuation bet, they usually have a premium hand or a hand with good potential for strengthening. While this strategy is convenient for beginner players, it has a number of significant drawbacks. The strength of the hand becomes apparent to opponents and the player becomes easily readable whenever he chooses an active or passive play line.
When deciding to c-bet, mix low-equity hands with good potential that you can bluff with on further streets or pass them.
Check medium strength hands and check draws so you can call smaller bets on the turn and river.
Consider a situation in which the BB defended against the CO open.
The CO should check behind here, even though he has a very strong hand right now. The bet doesn’t make a lot of sense as we will get called more often from the better hand. The CO must defend his check-back range and this hand is very good for that.
On boards with a certain structure, the lead bet is the right decision.
Although the lack of position is a significant disadvantage for the play, on some boards it will be beneficial for us to seize the initiative from the opponents.
After defending the big blind, we will rarely be the favorites on most of the flops, but on some boards we will have good potential to improve. When a suitable board comes out, putting pressure on your opponents can be very effective. Often we can squeeze them out of the pot and the lead-bet with large sizing will often put them in a difficult situation.
Consider an example where the BB defended after opening with CO.
Even if we are not favorites against the CO opening range, there are both straight draws and two pair in our range. It makes sense to make a lead-bet here, this could force the CO to fold his hand now or on the next streets when the straight draw we are drawing hits.
Don’t pot-bet too often
High betting is often the right decision in Pot Limit Omaha, but doing it all the time, especially on the river, is giving too much information about our pot-betting range.
By making this kind of mistake, we make our hand easy to read, let our opponents play almost always right, and exploit us.
River Hiro Calls Are Most Wrong
You should very carefully select the hands with which you will do them.
More often than not, after an opponent has bet on the early streets and bets on the river, his range will be significantly biased towards the value range. Typically, low-limit players don’t bluff the river often enough to balance the hand ranges they bet for value so that our hero call is justified.