Action Seekers: Try These Pot-Limit Omaha Variants

Vivian Saliba

If you are one of those players who has found pot-limit Omaha more exciting to play than Texas hold'em, I have great news for you. There are many variants of PLO, all of them full of action like regular PLO. They are also all exciting and fun to try.

As pot-limit Omaha continues to grow in popularity around the world, these other variants probably will also start to become more popular. That means if you go ahead and start becoming familiar with these other PLO variants right now, you will have a great edge in the future when facing new players beginning to venture into those games.

There are so many PLO variants it would actually be impossible for me to cover all of them here. For that reason I'll cover the most common ones along with a few strategy tips.

Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo (a.k.a. PLO-8, PLO-8 or better)

Pot-limit Omaha hi-low is a "split pot" game in which the pot is divided in two, one-half for the highest hand and one-half for the lowest hand.

The best high hand is determined just like in regular PLO. To be eligible to win the low, your hand must meet certain criteria, containing five unpaired cards, all with ranks of 8 or below, with suits being of no consequence. The best low hand possible — or "nut low" — is A-2-3-4-5.

Like in regular PLO, you must make your five-card low hand by using two cards in your hand and three from the board. That means there has to be at least three community cards ranked 8 or below in order for anyone to make a low hand. If there is no possible low hand, the pot will be played only for the high hand (that is, it will not be split).

As in other split pot games, your goal in PLO Hi-Lo is to win both halves of the pot (to "scoop"). That means your preflop hand selection should be different than in regular PLO.

For instance, hands like J-T-9-8 have less value in PLO Hi-Lo, since you can't make a low hand with them. The board might bring 5-6-7 to give you a straight, but you'd only be playing for half the pot.

5-Card Pot-Limit Omaha

This game is very similar to regular PLO, the biggest difference being you are dealt 5 cards instead of 4. Again, like in PLO, you use exactly two of your hole cards and three community cards to build your five-card hand.

That fifth card can significantly affect equities in this variant of PLO. For example, {A-Spades}{A-Diamonds}{8-Hearts}{5-Diamonds}{4-Spades} is only 52.1 percent favorite over {Q-Clubs}{J-Clubs}{10-Hearts}{9-Hearts}{8-Diamonds}. Meanwhile in regular PLO, {A-Spades}{A-Diamonds}{5-Diamonds}{4-Spades} is 57.3 percent favorite over {Q-Clubs}{J-Hearts}{10-Hearts}{9-Clubs}.

For this reason, when selecting your starting hands you focus even more on playing hands that can make the nuts.

5-Card Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo

This variant combines 5-card PLO with PLO Hi-Lo, making a split pot game.

Courchevel

This variant of pot-limit Omaha is also played with 5 cards, but with one big difference — one comumunity card is exposed to the players before the first betting round. This means that the decision to play a hand will depend a lot on the relation of this exposed card to the cards you hold in your hand.

After the preflop action is over, the dealer deals the two other cards to complete the flop, and the game then continues using the same rules of 5-card PLO.

Courchevel Hi-Lo

This variant combines Courchevel with PLO Hi-Lo, making a split pot game.

Pot-Limit Omaha 3-2-1

Finally, this relatively new variant involves an interesting twist when it comes to the community cards, with three flops, two turns, and one river (thus, "3-2-1"). Players then get to choose which of the flops and which of the turns they want to use when building their hands.

Learn more about this game in the article "Introducing a New PLO Variant — PLO 3-2-1."

Conclusion

Most of the variants discussed above can be found being played as fixed-limit or no-limit games as well as pot-limit, especially online. In general, all these diferences make the game more exciting and fun to be played.

They also provide players with some experience a good chance at winning, since many in the games are still new to them.

I'm sure there will be many other new variants of PLO to be explored and discussed in the future. For now, have fun learning and improving at these. Good luck!

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