Playing A Short Stack In PLO Tournaments

Playing a short-stack in Pot Limit Omaha Tournaments has its own difficulties. With hand values far closer together than in other forms of poker it is likely that you’ll be called those times you do get the chips in. However, with the right adjustments, holding a short stack may not be a disaster – a few adjustments could easily see you come back into the picture as a serious contender.
This article looks at adjustments with a short stack in Pot Limit Omaha Tournaments at the key stages that a tournament will go through.

Early Stages

A common scenario is this – you get your chips in ‘good’ with a massive multi-way draw against trips and end up missing everything… half your chips are gone in one fell swoop. The key here is that, while the blinds are small as a proportion of your stack, you may easily have enough chips left to bounce back. Do not panic with a half-sized stack – simply keep playing your normal game, looking for opportunities to get your money in good.

Middle Stages

Having 6 to 10 blinds when the middle stages appear will seriously reduce your flexibility. You can not afford to raise and then fold on later streets (any meaningful raise will often commit you to the pot due to the huge pot-odds offered on later streets). Here your most powerful weapon is the limp-reraise. Ideally you are looking to get your money in with a premium hand either quality aces (or maybe Kings) or a double-suited rundown (7-8-9-10 double-suited for example) fit the bill. The advantage of the limp-reraise is that you can get a large enough percentage of your stack in pre-flop to push out some limpers. The best situation is that the larger stacks will offer you some ‘protection’ by continuing to bet after you are all-in – this may cause a hand which would have been a winner by the river to fold on the flop, increasing your equity further.

Short Stacked In A PLO Tournament #3 – Late Stages

If you find yourself short during the late stages the blinds (and antes) are likely to be very high indeed. If you only have 3 or 4 big blinds then your fold-equity (ability to make opponents fold pre-flop) has all but disappeared. Here your short-stacked PLO tournament strategy changes once again – now you are looking for a multi-way pot with a reasonable quality hand, hoping for ‘protection’ from post-flop action from the bigger stacks. Something like J-J-10-8 (single or double suited) or even 5-5-6-7 fit the bill at this stage in addition to coordinated broadway hands. Since doubling up would leave you in much the same situation you are looking for an opportunity to treble your chips. While premium hands would be ideal these do not come along often enough when you are very short stacked – hands which play well multi-way are an ideal method of getting back into the running.

Remember, not all Pot-Limit Omaha tournaments are equal – check out our detailed look at the Best Omaha Poker Tournaments for some great information on this!