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What is PLO?

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

Pot-Limit Omaha, or PLO for short, is one of the fastest growing games today. While many players are more familiar with Texas Hold ‘em, PLO is quickly becoming a staple in most poker rooms. This is largely due to the similarities it has with No-Limit Texas Hold ‘em. If you’ve glanced over at the monster pots and wondered what is PLO, look no further. I am here to explain it to you.

Winning Big Pot with Four Aces

Broadly put, Pot-Limit Omaha is a community card poker variant with a pot-limit betting limit structure with the hi hand winning the pot. It is also played with a 52-card French deck. But what does that mean? Let’s break it down.

Poker Variants

Poker consists of three main variants.

  • Community Card Poker: Games where players receive a group of face down cards that are theirs. They combine these cards with a group of face up cards from the center of the table that all the other players can use.
  • Stud Poker: Games where each player receives a combination of face up and face down cards.
  • Draw Poker: Games where players are dealt a complete hand with all cards hidden. They improve their hand by discarding cards and drawing replacements from the deck.

Most players are familiar with community card poker games, the most popular being Texas Hold ‘em. The second most popular variant is Omaha Hold ’em, but most people just call it Omaha.

Close up of Texas Hold `em Tournament game where two players are all in AK vs QQ

There are many other community card poker games. Specifics on how many hole cards each player receives, how many community cards are dealt, and how many of each must be used to make a hand varies on the game.

In Omaha, five community cards are dealt, just like in Texas Hold ’em. However, each player receives four hole cards in Omaha, and they must use exactly two hole cards and three community cards to make a hand.

All three of these poker variants can be broken down into three subcategories for winning hands:

  • Hi games award the pot to the player with the highest ranking hand.
  • Lo games award the pot to the player with the lowest ranking hand.
  • Hi/Lo or Split Pot games are a mix of these two where the best hi hand and the best low hand splits the pot.

PLO is played with a hi format where the player with the highest hand wins.

Betting Limits

The next major part of a poker game is the betting limit. There are six betting limits in poker:

  • Fixed-Limit: Games where bets and raises are fixed to a single betting unit, which sometimes varies on the round of betting.
  • Spread-Limit: Games where players are allowed to bet or raise any amount within a set range of betting units.
  • Half-Pot-Limit: Games where players can bet or raise up to half the size of the total pot.
  • Pot-Limit: Games where players can bet or raise up to the size of the total pot.
  • No-Limit: Games where players can bet or raise any amount that they have in front of them.
  • Cap-Limit: Games can be played with no-limit or pot-limit betting limits up until a maximum amount of the set cap is reached by the player.

While you can play Omaha with any of these betting limits, you play Pot-Limit Omaha with the Pot-Limit betting limit structure. That means at any time players can bet any or raise any amount they want that does not exceed the total amount in the pot. A player can make a maximum bet by simply saying “pot.”

That’s a simple break down of what Pot-Limit Omaha is. If you are interested in learning the specifics on how to play PLO, please read our follow-on article.

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