When I first started to play internet poker, I headed for the texas holdem tables. One day, while distracted, I accidentally joined a single table Pot Limit Omaha Hi Lo tournament. Despite not knowing anything about the game, I proceeded to eliminate all 9 players within the next 30 minutes. “This game is SO easy!”. Of course, I was the first one out in the next tournament and the one after that. But it didn’t matter. I was hooked! Over the next few months, I continued to study the game and improve. Looking back over my records, I see that I have crushed the game at the lower limits over hundreds of hours. My Pot Limit Omaha Hi Lo articles will help you to do the same!
The good news is that you do not need an exceptional talent, “luck”, or some sort of a mystical esoteric quality to do that. It is well within your reach if you are willing to learn and persevere. The fact that you are reading this article indicates that you have already taken the first step. Don’t stop here!
I suspect that most of you come to Pot Limit Omaha Hi Lo from hold’em. You probably played some no-limit hold’em tournaments and low-mid limit hold’em cash games. Some of you may have done extremely well. Others may feel discouraged with their results and feel like quitting. But regardless of your past results, O8 may become your new “best game”. Let’s look at why O8 is such a great game to play:
1. Easier to master than hold’em and stud – contrary to appearances, the decisions in Pot Limit Omaha Hi Lo are somewhat simpler than those in hold’em and stud. This is particularly true of pre-flop hand selection and decisions made on the flop.
2. Easy to beat – at low limits, the Pot Limit Omaha Hi Lo games are typically very loose. Mistakenly, many players consider Pot Limit Omaha Hi Lo to be hold’em with four cards. Consequently, they play more hands than is optimal for maximizing their profit. This creates a great opportunity for those players who are more selective and understand hand values. The good news is that there are few good players at the lower limits. And it sometimes takes poor players a long time to discover that they are really losers at the game. Once poor players start losing, they usually blame “bad luck” for the results instead of their play. Inevitably, such thinking will only keep them playing (and losing) longer.
3. Pot Limit Omaha Hi Lo has lower variance – because it is a split game (high hand splits the pot with low hand, if there is a low), the Pot Limit Omaha Hi Lo variance is less than that of Hold’em and Stud. This can be an important fact for a number of new players who easily go on tilt. Lower variance means lesser swings. Typically, new poker players do not respond well to wild fluctuations. Pot Limit Omaha Hi Lo is more gentle in that respect than Hold’em or Stud. If you tilt easily, Pot Limit Omaha Hi Lo might be a better game for you.
4. Pot Limit Omaha Hi Lo is fun – Pot Limit Omaha Hi Lo has a reputation for being a “boring” game that offers no excitement. Nothing could be further from the truth. As it is a game of draws and re-draws, many hands are decided on the river. Moreover, because it is a high/low game, on average, you will win much bigger pots in Pot Limit Omaha Hi Lo than in Hold’em or Stud at the same level. Pot Limit Omaha Hi Lo offers plenty of excitement.
5. Pot Limit Omaha Hi Lo is a great game for bonus chasers – since pots are usually bigger than in other games, Pot Limit Omaha Hi Lo games will have more “raked” hands that can count towards bonus withdrawal requirements. Suppose you deposit $1000 for $200 bonus on Party Poker. Now you have to play 1400 raked hands. What is the best way to clear the bonus?
Some hold’em games may have a consistent number of raked hands per hour (you will usually find a waiting list for these seats since there must be “live ones” in the game for the rake to be consistent. This, in turn, attracts better players). Other hold’em games may be very tight and achieve the rake requirement only about 50% of the time.
Pot Limit Omaha Hi Lo games, however, will almost always have a greater percentage of raked hands than hold’em at the same level. From my experience, you can easily find low limit games that have 8 out of each 10 hands raked.
6. Pot Limit Omaha Hi Lo expands your horizons as a poker player – if you simply know how to play one game, you are likely missing out on income opportunities in other games. Moreover, it is to your psychological advantage to take a break from your favourite game once in a while. Playing a variety of games keeps you active and challenges you to stay sharp. You do not want to stagnate. The greatest players in the game are never satisfied with their play. They always desire to learn more, and are never content to learn and master only one form of poker. Continuous improvement and constant reflection on their play are assets that help them to crush the game at any limit. Picking up another game allows you to grow. Pot Limit Omaha Hi Lo, in that it is significantly different from hold’em, allows you to do precisely that.
In the next article, we will look at hand selection in Pot Limit Omaha Hi Lo.
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