Playing Static Flops In PLO8

by Dan ‘ CampFireWest’ Deppen

About The Author: Dan Deppen is the author of Pot Limit Omaha 8 Reveals & a Cardrunners coach.

In this article I’m going to go beyond the basics of PLO8 and delve into a slightly more advanced topic. I’ll be discussing common scenarios on flops with a static board texture. By static board texture, I mean boards where the nuts aren’t likely to change from one street to the next. This includes paired or monotone boards, such as 5c 5s Jd and 3h 7h Qh. On boards like these, the player who is ahead in the hand on the flop is likely to remain ahead on the turn. For the rest of this article, I am going to discuss this topic in regards to heads up pots. Obviously multi-way pots can be quite a bit different.

The first thing I want to point out is that most hands are likely to miss this type of flop. More often than not, no one has anything on a flop of 66T. If you happened to make trips on a board with no low draw, you usually have your opponent crushed. You don’t see made hand versus made hand clashes on these boards very often, although it certainly happens from time to time.

On these boards your bluff or ‘air’ hands go way up in value, for the obvious reason that your opponent usually doesn’t have anything. Also, most hands won’t flop too many draws, and most of the draws that are out there won’t be too relevant. The exception is a low draw. When a low draw is present players are more likely to put money in on the flop, and hands that are the nuts on the flop will often be splitting the pot on the turn. But keep in mind you need to be careful with a bare low or low draw in a heads up pot. One way hands are always dangerous in PLO8, but on static boards they are a particularly great way to end up getting free-rolled. Overall there aren’t a lot of medium strength hands on this board, people tend to either have it or they don’t.

Given all of this, what is the correct strategy on these static boards? The short answer the ideal strategy depends on the type of opponent you are up against. Let’s start by defining some simple player types:

Level 0 player: This is the calling station who is a huge donk, he’ll usually call because he has 4 cards in his hand. They don’t know what board texture is and aren’t thinking about what you have at all.

Level 1 player: This player has some reasonable understanding of hand values, but is overly conservative and tends to be too “fit or fold”. They are usually worried you have nuts, and probably don’t realize that some board textures are great for making bluffs.

Level 2+: This is the more advanced player who understands hand values, may be TAG or LAG, and realizes that most hands miss static boards. They realize that paired and monotone boards are good ones to bluff at, and that you probably missed these flops most of the time.

Versus the level 0 player, you want to be careful about how often you bluff. In general, continuation betting on these types of boards is very profitable, but you need to do it less often against these players who love to call. But with made hands you should almost always bet for value. Since these opponents tend to be passive, you can’t expect them to do the betting for you. Continuation bet a little less often that you normally would, but value bet them to death with your good hands.

The straightforward level 1 players are the easiest ones to play against. You can continuation bet on these flops a huge percentage of the time, and they will tend to fold way too often. However, if they play back at you, they almost certainly have a strong hand. So if you bet and get raised when you hold a medium strength hand, say KK23r on a 994 board, you probably need to give it up. Just keep betting at these players until they decide to start playing back at you.

Against level 2+ players these get much trickier. The key is to understand exactly how far out your opponent is thinking. These players usually realize that you were unlikely to hit these flops either, and will continuation bet a large percentage of hands. One thing to watch out for is how often they bet the turn after they do this. A common leak that many overall competent PLO8 players have is they will make a stab at the pot on the flop and then give up too easily on the turn. These players can be exploited by floating some flops and then betting at them on the turn if they check to you. Some advanced players are capable of check raise bluffing on these boards, if they realize you are continuation betting a high percentage in these situations. Versus players like this things can turn into a game of chicken! You are still going to want to continuation bet a high percentage of hands against these players, and occasionally bluff raise them if you think they are continuation betting too much.

Against all opponent types, you should almost always be betting with your strong hands. You want to get value out of the calling stations and straightforward players. With the more aggressive, thinking players, you want to have strong hands in your betting range to help balance all of the times you will be betting with air. An exception to this can be if you decide to check-raise an aggressive opponent. But in general don’t try to be too tricky, slow playing can really backfire sometimes in PLO8 since there are so many backdoor draws.

I hope this gave you some insights on things to think about as you move beyond the basics of PLO8. For more information on PLO8, check out my videos on Cardrunners, or my book: Pot Limit Omaha 8 Revealed Expanded Edition.