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It's Time To Learn - 5 Card Pot Limit Omaha - PokerStars

Learn how to play winning 5 Card Pot Limit Omaha with this strategy article written by Roy 'Godlikeroy' Bhasin of PokerStars Team Pro Online.

It's Time To Learn - 5 Card Pot Limit Omaha

For a long time now I have insisted that PLO is the greatest poker variant and would fight anyone that would try to suggest otherwise. What could be better than PLO? There's lots of action, you have 4 hole cards, you can play a very wide range of hands.. how can you get better? Enter: 5 card PLO! If 4 is good, surely 5 must be better? And indeed I really do think it is.
 
I was initially skeptical of 5 card PLO thinking that it would be a game descended into madness where the variance and cards you were dealt overtook the element of skill. I could not have been more wrong. If anything adding the extra card only increases the skill cap and creates so many more interesting situations that require complex analysis to be solved. It's nothing to be afraid of though - ultimately the game still does play very similarly to regular PLO and with a few simple adjustments you can put yourself in a great spot to do well in tournaments and at the cash game tables.
 
Here are a few basic tips to think about when learning 5 Card PLO:
 
1) Don't fall into the trap of playing too many hands. With 5 hole cards almost any hand can look playable however you need to remember that everyone else at the table also has 5 cards so the average strength of a starting hand goes up compared to regular PLO. You can of course loosen up as you approach and are on the button but I would advise sticking to a tight range from early position and the blinds until you get some experience under your belt and you start to feel comfortable in marginal situations.
 
2) With that in mind - you want to play to make the nuts even more than in regular PLO, especially when opening from early position or playing a multi-way pot. Suited aces and high pairs are your best friends, preferably with some sort of nut straight potential to go along with those cards. Post-flop average hand strengths for everyone will also go up in value so try not to get too attached to a low flush, non-nut straight or bottom set without backup.
 
3) You can still bluff! Just because everyone has 5 cards doesn't mean that someone will always "have it". Just like in regular PLO you can find plenty of great and profitable situations to try to steal the pot away when you don't have it. I would recommend trying to stick to bluffing when you have a blocker of some sort (such as the naked A on a three flush board or a pocket pair blocking a straight on a three+ straight board) but there will also be times when a bluff without blockers can make sense. Hand reading is tougher in 5 card PLO but it's not impossible and the same principles apply to hand reading 5 cards vs 4 cards vs 2 cards. 
 
The game truly is more fun and exciting and it has been a treat to play and learn this new game over the course of the last few months. 
 
Good luck and I'll see you at the tables!

Roy 'Godlikeroy' Bhasin

Follow Roy on Twitter @roybhasin and keep up to date with all the PokerStars Team Pro Online players @PSTeamOnline


 
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