No Limit Texas Hold em surged as the “Cadillac” of poker games in 2003 with Chris Moneymaker’s dramatic televised World Series of Poker win. Before that poker rooms were small, tucked away rooms in casinos, and typically spread structured Texas Limit Hold em and 7 card stud games. No more of that!! Thank you Mr. Moneymaker. That trend has continued to this day. No Limit Hold em is still the most popular game in poker rooms and the World Series of 2015 is expected to draw record numbers. The Colossus event at the World Series this year already has more than 17,000 entrants!!! Poker Politico nation members who are against playing any other game but No Limit Hold em need not worry. The increased number of non-pros sitting down at tables translates directly to higher profits for the better players who study the game. Though the total pool of poker players is increasing, there is a noticeable trend for many of the bigger gambling fish to move towards the Pot Limit Omaha (will be referred to as PLO hereafter) tables. It is often times the more exciting game with pots that get much larger than comparable No Limit Texas Hold em games (will be referred to as NLH hereafter). If you are able to put yourself at an advantage over your opponents in PLO, you should be able to increase your hourly rate considerably.
Here are the advantages of playing PLO versus NLH:
1) There are currently very few seasoned professionals that have made their income exclusively from PLO. The majority of current professional poker players have made most of their income from NLH. Since there are fewer tough players to play against in PLO, there will therefore be more fish seated at your table.
2) The average PLO player has played far fewer hours of PLO than NLH. The reasons for this are obvious. There are far fewer PLO tables available, and they are often higher stakes requiring a larger buy-in. Also, PLO has been on the scene in many poker rooms now for only a short while, as opposed to NLH which has been in poker rooms and on television sets for ages. The less experienced your opponent, the higher your profits will be. I have been seated at rather large PLO games with players who were playing the game for the first or second time ever!! These are $1000+ pots we are talking about!! This level of inexperienced player is not often found at NLH tables with stakes that large.
3) PLO is a far more exciting game. This is a highly subjective assessment, but I challenge you to play or watch a game of PLO and not get the hairs on the back of your neck to stand up once or twice at the suspense and excitement that comes with the large pots this game commonly generates. Decision making skills during these exciting times are often put on the back burner for the non professional, causing logical reasoning to fly out the window. The mistakes that follow can add to a pro player’s net profits. For professional poker players, adding PLO to your portfolio can certainly add some variety to your work week.
4) There is very little good literature about PLO. Good current information must often times be sought out via hard to find books and online poker forums. Most players are unwilling to do this ‘homework’ and make many costly mistakes that could be easily corrected with some basic foundational learning. I assure you, the lessons will be learned in PLO. It is up to you to decide if you want to pay for those lessons in books or via lost money at the table. The latter will be far more expensive!
Here are the disadvantages to playing Pot Limit Omaha instead of No Limit Texas Hold em:
1) YOU ARE PROBABLY A FISH AT THE POT LIMIT OMAHA GAME. I don’t say this to offend anybody. It is a simple quantitative fact. If you have not done a great deal of studying and practice, you will be one of the fish that the professionals feed on. I have seen countless hardened NLH players sit down at a PLO table and lose many buy-in’s, very quickly. You could be the best NLH player in the room and still be a giant fish at a PLO table. Poker Politico Nation, be the jedi pro you were born to be!! Read, learn, observe, and then be objective with your PLO skills. Hone and develop them vigorously so you can watch your hourly win rate skyrocket.
2) Many times the variance is much higher in PLO than NLH. Where I recommend a poker players ‘poker’ bankroll to exceed an absolute minimum of 50 max buy ins, I would recommend you not buy into a PLO game without a ‘poker’ bankroll of at least 100 buy ins. This is looked at as extremely conservative, but I’ve seen too many players rely on less only to suffer the consequences in NLH and PLO. Remember that if poker is your sole means of earning income, your ‘poker’ bankroll needs to be in addition and separate from your total amount of savings that you require to live on. You do not ever want to have to worry about dropping poker stakes because of an upcoming rent payment, or not playing optimally because of a current downswing.
As you can see, there are lots of reasons to play PLO instead of NLH. There are also reasons not to fix something that is not broken. I would recommend reading as much information as possible on PLO, everything you can get your hands on. Play the game for free online to get comfortable with the basic flow. Then go observe a live small stakes PLO game for a while to see how the game plays in a real poker room. At that point, begin looking for PLO games at the lower limits that look fairly soft. This will be tough to determine at first, but look for lots of laughing, alcohol, and players that you often times see playing NLH instead of PLO. When you see one of these games in progress, get on the table and begin to reap the rewards of your hard work!!
Just don’t forget to send the Poker Politico its commission…….
Written by: Jason Bloom
June 1, 2015