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How to Play Pot-Limit Omaha

  • Post category:Basics
  • Post last modified:December 28, 2023

Pot-Limit Omaha, otherwise known as PLO, is an exciting game that is bringing many new players every day. As with any game, you need to know how to play before you’re dealt your first hand. Read on for a quick overview of how to play PLO.

PLO is a community card pot-limit poker variant. For more information on what this means please read our article “What is PLO?”

How to play PLO

Several rounds occur in a PLO game. This helps structure the game.

  • Pre-flop
  • Flop
  • Turn
  • River
  • Showdown

Pre-Flop

This round begins with the movement of the Dealer Button one place clockwise. In home games, this will be the same person who is dealing. In organized games at poker rooms, or a casino, it is a marker that says “Dealer” and is symbolic of the dealer’s position.

Open poker chips case with poker chips and a Dealer Button showing.
Photo by 308182 © Jxpfeer | Dreamstime.com

Next, the Small Blind (SB) and the Big Blind (BB) post their blinds. The blinds are forced bets that give everyone something to fight over. The SB is typically 40%-50% of the BB depending on the structure.

The SB position is one place to the left of the dealer. The BB position is two places to the left of the dealer.

Next, the dealer deals every player one card at a time face down, starting with the SB, moving in a clockwise manner. Each player receives four cards.

Betting action begins after all players receive four hole cards. This starts with the first player to the left of the BB. The action moves in a clockwise manner. Actions that all players can make are:

  • Call: Call the amount of the BB or the amount of the raise if there is a raise.
  • Raise: Increases the bet size ranging from two times the current bet up to the amount of the pot.
  • Fold: Give their cards back to the dealer and they are no longer in the hand.
  • Check: Available to the BB if no player has raised. They can opt to put no additional money in the pot.

Once all actions are complete, the players move to the flop.

The Flop

The dealer will burn one card placing it face down on the table. Then the dealer will deal three community cards face up called the flop.

Each player still in the hand, starting to the left of the dealer, has the same options as pre-flop, with the addition of being able to check, passing on their option to bet.

The action continues clockwise until all actions are complete.

The Turn

The dealer burns another card and deals one card face up on the board. All players that are still in the hand starts a new betting round just like the previous.

The River

The dealer burns another card and deals the last community card face up on the board. The last round of betting continues. If there are still players left at the end of the betting round, players move to the showdown.

The Showdown

The remaining players will showdown their hands to determine who wins the pot. This is where many players familiar with No-Limit Hold ‘em make a critical mistake.

A valid Pot-Limit Omaha hand consists of exactly two of the four hole cards (no more, no less) and exactly three of the five board cards (no more, no less). The player uses this specific combination to make the best five-card hand.

Failure to accurately construct hands is a common PLO beginner mistake. Careful attention must be given.

The winner is the player with the best five-card hand.

This should be enough to keep you in line with the game rules when deciding to sit down. However, you will need more than rules to be a winner in this fast-paced game.

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