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Pot Limit Omaha Fold Equity

The differences between PLO & NLHE
1. Position is even more important
2. Your fold equity is often a lot lower
3. On certain very drawy flops pushing even the nuts can be a mistake
4. On average there are far more close decisions
5. The correct play is more dependant on stack sizes
6. Playing loose/passive pre flop can be okay
7. Variance is much higher
You are reading page two of our seven page guide to the main differences between Pot Limit Omaha and No Limit Hold Em. Here in part two we’ll look at Pot Limit Omaha Fold Equity and why you often have a lot less of it in PLO than you might expect.

2. Your fold equity is often a lot lower

If you’ve ever played No Limit Hold ‘Em you’re probably familiar with ideas like “continuation betting” and “3betting light”. These ideas are profitable often because you have a lot of fold equity that is you stand to win the pot a high percentage of the time when your opponent folds right away. Your Pot Limit Omaha fold equity, on the other hand, is often a lot lower because it’s so much easier for a player to make a piece of the board. Similarly when facing a reraise your opponent will almost always have the correct odds to call because it’s so easy to crack even the best starting PLO hand.

In NLHE certain boards are considered bad ones to continuation bet because they hit a large percentage of your opponents “range”… an example might be you raise KQ from 1st position (UTG) and a player in the Cut-off (CO) calls. The flop falls 78T. This might be a situation where it’s better to simply check/fold rather than continuation bet because so many of your opponenents calling hands will have either hit this board or have some kind of draw. They’re also more likely to float you or bluffraise you than on, for example, an AJ5 board.

If this is true for No Limit Hold Em’ then it’s easy to see how we could have even less fold equity when our opponent has 4 cards with which to hit the board with. When we consider bluffing or semi-bluffing into 2 or more people it now because even less likely that we have significant fold equity on certain boards.

Let’s say you raise AA23 rainbow (4 different suits) and you get called by somebody in middle position and somebody on the button, the flop falls:

Should you make a continuation bet with your overpair? The answer is probably no. It’s actually far more likely that your opponents either have a straight already, a pair+ a straight draw, a set, or a flush draw that they will all continue with than it is that they have nothing and will fold. If they will rarely fold then you should only be better for value, but again an overpair on a board like this is rarely the best hand on the flop, let alone by the river, because you’ll be playing out of position it’s going to be almost impossible to play profitably on later streets, especially if you build a big pot. The right play is to check and probably fold to a big bet.

Because of these facts you want to be checking back a lot more hands than you would in NLHE, especially if you have a piece of the board. Getting checkraised off your marginal hand by a draw is a lot worse in PLO than it would be in NLHE because you’ll often have so many outs on the turn and river that not seeing them when you get the chance is often a big mistake.

Similarly when discussing your Pot Limit Omaha Fold Equity in 3bet pots it’s important to understand you really don’t have any! What does this mean? It means you should almost exclusively be reraising for value. The only exception is when you’re 3betting in position in order to exploit your opponent post-flop by using your position against him. Even then it’s better to only do your reraising with strong hands that can flop well.  3betting out of position with anything except strong value hands is strongly discouraged.

On the flip side there are some, reasonably uncommon, situations you’ll find yourself in where you actually have a ton of fold equity on your bluffs in PLO that you might not have in NLHE. For example, let’s say you’re playing against a very straightforward tight player who 3bets you from the blinds, you call and the flop falls:

He makes his standard continuation bet of 2/3 pot… you look at your hand and realise you’ve totally missed. Well here is a spot where you can (if used sparingly) reraise your opponent with a big bet and he’ll be almost forced to fold his entire range unless he flopped the flush. With straights and flushes out and his own hand polarised to strong AAxx and high card type holdings we know he’s often missed in this situation and we can exploit that fact by putting him to a tough decision. In NLHE on the same board somebody holding KK would no doubt shove over our reraise as they could easily decide we were semi-bluffing with the ace of spades or just trying to push them off AK, in PLO, however, it’s very easy for us to actually have a flush or a straight and so it puts our opponent in a much tougher situation.

There are plenty more examples of situations where our Pot Limit Omaha Fold Equity is actually very high, but those are for a different article. This piece is just to hammer home this basic difference between NLHE and PLO which is that you should bluff less because you will get called more. Remember, this fact also gives you another piece of free information: if you’re getting called more that means you should bet stronger with your huge hands and slowplay much less. These two points are two sides of the same coin and they are core principles in winning PLO play. Internalise the concepts!

Click here for reason #3: On certain very drawy flops pushing even the nuts can be a mistake

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