Blockers are an important concept in all card games, and by virtue of technicality in all poker games. Blockers have a particularly strong importance in Pot Limit Omaha.
The concept of blockers
The basic concept of blockers in any card game goes a little something like this: If you hold a specific card then your opposition cannot hold that card. This in turn limits the amount of combinations your opposition can make against you to win the hand, and it also dictates the way the hand can proceed whether you are a part of the hand or if you folded.
Blockers Example in Go-Fish:
An elementary example of blockers could be the following:
You are playing go-fish and have the 66 and 6 in your hand. The villains in this hand are Lindsey, Sally, and Debby.
It is clear that it is going to be hard to find the last six in the deck to make your set since you are blocking your own outs, the chances drastically decrease of you successfully ending the game here with one shot.
Say the game proceeds and on your turn you ask Lindsey, “Hey, do you have any sixes?” She responds with, “Nope, GO FISH!“ This is a bit standard and likely to be expected. Now things would be a bit different if you were holding just the 6 in your hand, now you know that most likely you would be able to get another six out of one of the girls.
Blockers in Pot Limit Omaha (PLO):
Now to gear these examples more towards the game of PLO,
If you had all the aces in your hand for a starting pot-limit omaha hand of aaaa, you can gain some great insight and information on the hand. You can be sure that:
- None of your villains have an ace in their hand.
- None of the villains will be capable of making a nut flush. (The nut flush now becomes of a king-high suit variety.)
- Also there will not be any ace-high hands being taken to showdown - Since you are blocking all the ace-high combinations.
- In general when you block all the ace high combinations people will tend to try and showdown hands less since they are normally used to doing it with ace high. (Albeit more in NLHE and not in PLO)
These last two examples are instrumental in that they outline a new set of rules the game must now abide by because of the absence of the four aces.
Using Blockers to gain advantage in Pot Limit Omaha
Essentially what blockers in PLO are - They are the cards that can be found in your hand that prevent or limit the combinations the opposition can make in order to beat your hand. Your PLO blockers are the four cards you hold! So be aware!
There are various things you may do once you become aware and knowledgeable of the power of your PLO blockers.
One thing you may choose to do is go on the offensive and put a lot of pressure on opponents with the nut flush blocker bluff, straight blocker bluffs, etc. An example of the nut flush blocker bluff can be found in the article that precedes this one.
There are many different other ways to utilize combinatorics and blockers, and essentially we have only scratched the surface of the iceberg of their uses.