Omaha Poker Strategy: Limping or Raising Preflop in PLO?

One thing that every pot limit Omaha player has to get their head around is the fact that no matter what you’re holding at any given time, there’s generally the possibility of your opponent being able to beat you. There are so many cards in play in any given Omaha hand that it’s easier for people to make good hands. So, what do you do when you’ve got a good starting hand preflop? Even if you’re dealt AAKK double-suited (which the odds against are 50,000:1, for the record,) you’re still only a 3:2 favorite against someone holding 8-7-6-5 double suited!

A common Texas Hold ‘Em strategy is to raise only when you’re holding Aces. When you do this in Omaha, you become far too predictable. Limping in on every hand can work better, even if it’s not quite an optimal strategy, because it’s less predictable. If you never raise before the flop, though, you let other players see the flop for free, which means you won’t maximize when you’re holding good, strong hand. Instead, you look at raising with a broader variety of hands.

Raising with a larger range of hands before the flop means that you become much less predictable and you’ll also pick up more pots. On top of that, you’ll make opponents pay to play when you’re holding a more playable hand and, naturally, more bluffing opportunities will come your way because they’re less able to put you on a hand.

You should look at raising with any of the top 30 Omaha poker hands, which includes any suited AKXX hand with one of the X cards being a Ten or higher; all double-suited four in a row that’s higher than a five; any double-suited double-connected hands with a maximum of one gap between the top two and low to cards (AKJT for instance); KKXX, double suited, even if the non-kings are unconnected and low.

You should limp in with hands like AQXX with, again, one of the X cards being a Ten or higher and the A being suited with another card; any four-in-a-row combinations higher than a four; AXXX with at least two of the X cards being connected and the Ace suited with another card in the hand.

Hand selection in Omaha requires a little more finesse than in Texas Hold ‘Em and you have to remember, as we’ve frequently said. that it’s a game of the nuts. That said, it’s actually more fun to play Omaha with a wider hand selection, just be sure that when you can put an opponent on a hand that you pay attention to what happens with each successive community card that’s dealt.