Pot Limit Omaha Starting Hands

What are good starting hands in PLO?

PLO Strong Hands

Very few poker players start poker with omaha. Usually their first poker variations are draw poker, holdem or stud. As a matter of fact Omaha Poker is a derivative form of holdem, so it would make absolutely no sense to learn omaha before holdem.

The problem is that you need to adapt your starting hand requirements when you go from holdem to omaha as Omaha has a different dynamic of its own. The simple thing to notice is that as you have 4 hole cards in Pot Limit Omaha, you can create 6 different grouping of two cards from them.

So playing PLO is somehow like playing six holdem hands each time you play one hand. But not exactly so. It is not like the 6 hands were totally separated, in fact they occur simultaneously. So what you want are hole cards that work well together.

With respect to suits, the ideal starting hand is the so-called "double-suited" hand, like KhKsQsJh. This is the best as it gives you two potential flush draws. By the way PLO is a game where draws are fundamental type of hands, because as was just said you want to have hole cards that work together well, and this is particularly true of draws.

Pot Limit Omaha Starting Hands.

In the previous example, KhKsQsJh also offers straight draw possibilities. In fact except KhKs, all other five pairings are straight draws type of hands, like KhQs. Adding the chance to hit a king, this hand is very strong.

With respect to pairs, the difference between high pairs and low pairs is accentuated compared to Texas Hold'em Poker. Double high pairs double suited (ds) are the top hands, such as AAKKds, AAQQds,...,AAXXds, KKQQds, etc. Other similarly very strong hands are JT98ds, as this hand offers the largest possible number of drawing combinations.

This leads us to hybrid type of starting hands such as AAJTds, which is considered as strong as AAKKds. As this hand leads to numerous draws in addition to the potential for top set and top boat.

In hands such as AAXY, it is good that the X,Y work well with the aces, like in AAJT. Otherwise the aces lose their appeal and you should fold them if there is heavy action post flop and you did not hit the board.

Similarly big pairs like KK or QQ are much stronger if the two other cards coordinate well with them. Pairs lower than QQ are to be played with caution as they often lead to the second best hand.

On the pure draws type of hands, the best hands are double suited high straights like KQJTds. These are only slight underdogs compared to AAXX type of hands, and they can become the favorite if they hit the flop with simultaneous flush and straight draws.

Overall remember that on average hands will be stronger by the river compared to holdem, so that for example top set will often lose at a showdown. Play coordinated hole cards only, and you will multiply your chances to hit the flop.

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