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Pot Limit Omaha (PLO)

Bluffing in Pot Limit Omaha

11,060 Views on 27/1/14

Strategy Article on Bluffing in Pot Limit Omaha (PLO)

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Bluffing in PLO is generally the idea of moving your opposition off of their hand when they are a equity favorite. This just means that when they have the best hand, you make them fold with a timely bluff.

We do it because there are only two ways to win hands in Pot-Limit Omaha, that is to showdown the best hand, or make our opponents fold the best hand. If we can accomplish the latter with consistency at least a small percentage of the time, we will increase our bottom line tremendously. 

Bluffing and bluffing at the right times is what separates the solid tight player with a good win rate, from the world-beaters whose results consistently leave the railbirds in awe.

Having a solid fundamental poker game is mostly science, but telling you villain(s) a good story and moving them off of the best hand when all you have is the nut blocker in Pot-Limit Omaha. That’s art! That is the poker garden of Eden, and when you have been there and tasted the spoils, you will never want to leave.

'Bluffing at the right times is what separates the solid players from the world-beaters'


Here is a basic example of a nut blocker flush bluff in Pot-Limit Omaha, why we make it and why it works.

Live $1/$1 Pot Limit Omaha Hi – 9 players

The game has been playing tight, hero is up a buy in and knows the Under - the - gun player is capable of making big folds and is on the tight - aggressive side of things. Hero also knows that villain is unaware hero can make a blocker bluff. The hand continues like this,

Pre Flop: ($3) Hero is BB with kjja with a $445 stack behind.

UTG raises to $7 (213$ stack after bet), all fold, Hero calls $5,

Flop: ($15) 2k10 (2 players)

Hero checks, UTG bets to $15 (195$ stack after bet), Hero calls $5,

Turn: ($45) 3  (2 players)

Hero checks, UTG hesitates on this turn, but bets 45$ (150$ in stack after bet), Hero calls $45 (!?), A dubious move!? Calling with just a pair of kings on this runout in Pot-Limit Omaha isn’t just ambitious, its downright near suicidal! Unless...

River: ($135) 7  (2 players)

Hero bets $135 (!!), The point!! This order of moves stereotypically represents one of the way we would like to extract value with the nut flush, assuming we would like to see safe river cards land and we are already aware of what sort of holdings villain is liable to have.

UTG deliberates for a few minutes, shows the q91010, and folds.


The reasons that this bluff worked and why we could even begin to attempt it lies in the fact that we had a blocker to the nut flush (the #Ac blocker), and also of note is that we had the blocker to the top set (the #Kd). These two cards gave us all the reason we needed to take a risky line that yielded welcome results. (The outright ownership of a 135$ pot that by all rights belonged to our opponent.)

Note that with a hand as strong as his, we were lucky that he actually folded. We are expecting him to fold all the weaker parts of his range that they two barrel with, including lower flushes, some sets, and all bluffs. Not necessarily a hand as strong as the one he actually had.

The benefits are clear cut. The more pots you win bluffing, the more money you will make during your sessions! You can turn complete losers into instant winners.

Such dramatic reversals of fortune is mind-boggling, yet it happens over and over on the felt. The players who have not discovered it or under utilize it are essentially bringing a revolver to a fight against a platoon of machine gunist. Bluffing is arguably as important a skill in everyday life as it is in poker. It makes frequent appearances in such arenas as politics, business, and military affairs.

How to get better at bluffing in PLO?

Practice. Practice. And practice.

There are exercises you can do of going over past big bluffs in the history of poker. A book that is one of my favorites for this method of training is, “The Book of Bluffs: How to Bluff and Win at Poker” by Matt Lessinger, albeit it has only a few PLO bluffs and the rest are mainly from other games. There are a lot of free examples of good bluffs all over the web. Taking a few hours to watch older footage on pokertube.com could yield the right results. Top pros are consistently bluffing each other off of big pots. Try and follow along!

Another good option is watching to competent + players battle heads up on pokerstars without knowing their cards. This is a good exercise in general, but heads up format makes it that much better. Heads- up is a game of microscopic edges and every pot won counts, so you are likely to find more bluffs and bluff attempts in general in this arena. Also please feel free to check out my pokervip.com videos on bluffing in PLO. 


Matt Ranger

Matt Ranger, Small-Stakes PLO Coach at PokerVIP.com Matt Ranger is a small stakes PLO player and coach from Montréal, Canada. He is also an economics student and claims to “have the rap patrol on gat patrol” (Editor’s note: we have ... Read More


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