A Primer for Pot Limit Omaha High-Low – PLO8 – SNGs

A Guest Article by Mike W

Note: This article is originally published at our sister site – Sit And Go Planet.

I’ve played several hundred $15+1 turbo Pot Limit Omaha High-Low (PLO8) SNGs on Poker Stars over recent months, initially with amazing success, latterly with a more normal (and hopefully sustainable) 20%-ish Return on Investment.

As I’ve gone along I’ve kept a document with thoughts on playing these – the list below is in no particular order – hopefully it will provide some insights into winning an Online Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Sit and Go Tournaments!

Tight is right. Tighter is better. Once you’re in a hand it can mean playing for your whole stack.

– Let the others knock each other out. Most opponents are more than willing to do this!

– You need to be able to make a high and a low, however weak… you should always be aiming to scoop the pot.

– A naked A-2 is tricky in cash games where you can re-buy, is borderline in a limit tourney and is poison in a PLO8 sit-and-go tournament. Without backup such as a suited Ace and two Broadway or a mid-to-high pair, it is not worth it even in LP for a limp. Well, maybe in the first two levels, but go easy – remember counterfeiting.

– With a big stack, take shots at any small stack with just about anything, especially with two low cards and two high. You’re probably not worse than a 40% dog and you only have to get lucky once.

– With a small stack and large blinds (say you have less than twice the cost of a round) you’re looking for a hand that can go both ways, preferably one with a good shot at making a high – a good low hand looks pretty silly the 30% of the time that the board precludes a low. For that reason, your low cards need not be sensational: the low is insurance anyway. Needless to say, an Ace, particularly a suited one, is a huge advantage – it effectively gives you an extra card, working for both high and low.

If you get pulled back to average, tighten up again – there’s a chance that people might have noticed what you were fooling around with and pay you off when you get a monster.

When the blinds are low you have approximately zero fold equity pre-flop. And PLO8 flops can turn monsters into minnows just like that. So even with a monster, limp with the limpers. The hell with a big raise – you don’t need to gamble in a huge family pot, take the flop and see where you stand.

Don’t play draws for all your chips, pot odds or no pot odds, unless you have the other guy well covered. With strong redraws, however, when you may already be ahead – jam the pot with abandon.
If the card you feared comes on turn or river, someone somewhere is cheering. Crying calls need to be cheap.

Four Broadway isn’t a raising hand unless you think there’s a good piece of fold equity involved, which means you need to be betting a large proportion of the stacks of the players behind you, say 40%+

No-one appears to have heard of the Gap Theory – you’ll find your all-ins getting called with all sorts of garbage, so don’t be afraid to get stuck in once the blinds are big.

Remember that top set is not a great hand. On an uncoordinated board, jam to take the pot immediately away – the turn is likely to produce something that you won’t like. Unless you fill up or have big redraws of course, but otherwise slow down. Going bust with a set is really annoying.

Don’t get carried away with raises – just because you have a playable hand, consider if it likes company (strong low draws, four Broadway) or plays better short-handed (high pairs, two high/two low without immediate nut potential). Chips are precious – don’t commit any more than necessary unless you have a strong reason to believe either you’re going to significantly reduce the field or you’ll be able to take the pot instantly.

Even with a hand that wants a reduced field (AAxx, KKxx) you’re probably not going to thin them out with a raise from EP in the early stages: pot limit, remember? Your raise just isn’t going to threaten them enough. On the other hand, in the late stages, hands that like company can be raised big-time: the cost of calling means you’re now able to start counting in some fold equity, which is fine – better those blinds in your stack than someone else’s and better taking the pot without having the agony of an unhelpful board that leaves you not knowing where you are. Now LP with a bunch of limpers can be different. That pot-size raise might be enough to whittle out a few of them. Of course, unless you win it straight away, you’re potentially going to be playing for your whole stack, so make sure you flop the nuts.

Be happy to play multi-way pots for small bets early – for maybe 10-20% of your stack. Late, avoid situations where you can’t get heads-up unless you have an authentic monster. Heads-up gives you two worthwhile ways to win: showdown the best hand or cash in your fold equity.

Many poker sites offer Pot Limit Omaha 8 or better SNGs (in addition to the high Pot Limit Omaha version). Check out our Best Omaha SNG Site Section for further information on where to find a game to suit you.