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Some interesting PLO plays

PLO top player If you are looking to move your PLO game to the next level, here are a few moves that may help you.

Always remember that in Pot-Limit Omaha, the safest strategy is a solid straightforward play. Your will make the most money in mid-stakes PLO by making fewest mistakes than your opponents, not by making the most clever plays. Keep it tight and solid and you should make good money playing PLO.

Having got this out of the way, there is nothing wrong in experimenting with unusual plays on occasion, or try an out of the ordinary play. This is how you learn to mix up your game and to play at higher stakes.

Weak lead against a good LAG

A weak lead is defined as a bet of considerably less than full-pot size, which usually denotes a weak hand or a draw of some sort when made by unsophisticated PLO players. An example would be a $4 lead bet first to act in a $20 pot.

I find that when I'm playing the sort of aggressive opponent who is liable to seize on any sort of weakness, that making a weak lead can sometimes be a great way to escalate the pot with the nut hand when out of position.

The reasoning for this is that I usually check-raise top sets and flopped nut hands when out of position on an aggressive table, and observant players will note this and thus be able to put me on one exact hand when I make a check-raise.

Good ways to prevent them getting this read are making the same check-raise move with other hands (potentially hazardous, but with the right hands it's not a bad move), and also making the occasional weak lead when there's a highly aggressive player who likes to bet into other players' weaknesses yet to act.

You should note that this play only works against the right opponent, so you need to have a good read on their likely actions. The advantages of making this weak lead-raise play in the right spots are:

  • You charge your opponents at least something to see another card if it's called around, which obviously won't occur if you try to check-raise,
  • You introduce some confusion into your betting patterns if you play the same opponents regularly,
  • If it is raised by your target LAG player, because of the extra money that went into the pot as a result of your weak lead, you can generally make a much larger re-raise and get more of your stack in quicker.

I should make a cautionary note here. I use this move very rarely, and only against specific players who I feel will seize on my play as being weak. In most cases, check-raising or full pot betting is a much better play when you hold a nut hand on the flop.

Save the last bet

This is a move that, like most good plays in PLO, is based in simple common sense. However, the mistake it's designed to prevent is one I see even good players making all the time.

When you have a large draw, even a monster draw, but you are not liable to be a huge favorite, and when you're facing a player who seems very clearly to have a strong made hand that he will not lay down (e.g. top set), you do not need to get your last few dollars into the pot when you both seem to be pot committed.

The reason for this is, if you hit your draw, your opponent will be too deep in the hand to be able to pass to your bet on the end. However, if you miss, you will have no hand whatsoever and thus there's no need to waste your last few dollars, and you can safely fold.

Additionally, if the situation is on the flop, and it is already clear your opponent definitely has a set, you can save your last bet on the off-chance the board pairs on the turn. You should be careful to look for situations when this concept applies. Here is an example:

At the turn in a $100PLO game, you hold KsJsTd9d. The board reads 8dAsQs7d.

You're up against a preflop raiser who raised you the maximum on the flop after you bet out, then bet the maximum on the turn when you checked to him. It seems 99% certain he has top set, or perhaps a set of queens. You need to hit one of your multitudes of river outs to win, and of course you are in very good shape here against the set player.

The pot is already $200, and you have $25 left. However, there's no need to put that last bet in. If you hit on the river, your opponent won't be able to get away from the hand for the last few dollars, and if you miss, of course you have no hand and can save the $25.

On the flop here, the situation is the same. Although you have a colossal wrap and nut flush draw, there would be no need to get the hand all in once you've bet out, been raised the maximum by a solid player you can assume he has a set (providing that read is possible with this player!), if all that remains is a few dollars, or less than a full bet.

If a Q or A falls on the turn, it's well worth reserving the right to pass. If not, the pot is likely to become all-in anyway, either by you betting or by him doing it for you. Saving that last bet in these spots is a perfect positive EV play. If you miss, you limit your losses, whilst if you hit, you still make the maximum win.

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