How to Beat Pot Limit Omaha 8 Low-Limit Tables


Pot limit Omaha 8 (a.k.a. PLO Hi/Lo) is an interesting game that includes four hole cards and the chance to form both low and high hands. The latter means that players can split the pot, with different high- and low-hand winners.

This creates a different strategy dynamic from Texas hold’em. The latter offers 169 possible starting hand combinations, while Pot limit Omaha Hi/Lo has over 16,000.

You also must account for having four hole cards, meaning that you’ll have stronger starting hands on average. This makes bluffing with air ineffective because you’re more likely to be caught.

But you can also use the stronger starting hands to your advantage in low-stakes PLO. Low-limit players are willing to play more hands than they should, meaning you can get extra value in these stakes.

I’m going to discuss strategy on how you can beat low-stakes pot limit Omaha 8. I’ll begin with the basics and branch into intermediate concepts towards the end.

Know the Best Starting Hands in Pot Limit Omaha 8

The best place to start with PLO 8 strategy is by knowing the best starting hands. Given that this game offers two different pots, you want to choose hands that are capable of scooping both the high and low portions.

This means that any hand involving A-2 gains value because it can lead to a nut-high and nut-low straight/flush.

Here’s an example:

  • You’re dealt Ad-2d-4h-5s
  • The board is 3c-6d-Jd-Qd-9s
  • You have the nut flush with Ad-Qd-Jd-6d-2d
  • You have the nut straight with A-2-3-4-5
  • If nobody gets a nut-low flush, you can win the full pot

Another unique thing about PLO starting hands is that you can be dealt double-suited holdings. These hands are valuable because they give you two chances to get a flush.

PLO 8 hands also become better when they include two aces. This means that you have two chances to get the nut-high or low flush.

Here are the top 10 starting hands in pot limit Omaha 8:

  • A-A-2-3 double suited
  • A-A-2-4 double suited
  • A-A-2-3 suited
  • A-A-2-5 double suited
  • A-A-2-4 suited
  • A-A-3-4 double suited
  • A-A-2-3 non-suited
  • A-A-2-2 double suited
  • A-A-3-5 double suited
  • A-A-2-6 double suited

You can see that A-2 is a common theme among many of the best starting hands. But also keep in mind that not all A-2 hands are great.

Here’s an example:

  • You’re dealt A-2-K-K double suited
  • Your opponent is dealt A-2-T-8 suited
  • Your hand is much better due to the increased options

Many players concentrate on the low hand first and then worry about the high portion. But note that both sides make 50% of the pot.

Therefore, you need to take a balanced approach towards starting hands, rather than focusing too much on the low pot.

Make Sure You’re Chasing the Best Low Hand

You’ll commonly have hands that are capable of winning the low portion of the pot. But you won’t have the nut-low hand as often.

This is an area where many new low-stakes players fail to make a distinction. They often call big turn and river bets when chasing the second-best low hand.

Here’s an example:

  • Your low hand is 7-6-4-2-A
  • The opponent’s low hand is 7-6-3-4-A
  • Their low hand is better because their 3 beats your 4
  • Calling big bets here would be a mistake

The reason why players struggle to calculate the best low hand is because they run closely in value.

The easiest way to begin determining low-hand value is by starting with the ace as the bottom card. You then go down the line to compare what you have versus what the opponent might have based on the board texture.

If you think that your low hand could be second or third best, then you need to think about folding or calling a small bet. In contrast, adding the best hand means that you want to build the pot and hopefully win a large sum from a player chasing with second-best low cards.

It takes experience to figure out when you’re going for the best low hand. You’ll also need to know your opponents’ tendencies and if they call a lot with marginal low cards.

Understand Backup and Counterfeit Cards

Again, any starting hand with A-2 gives you a good building block to win both the high and low hands. But simply having A-2-X-X doesn’t guarantee you anything.

It’s much better when you have A-2-3-X. The 3 is considered a backup card because it gives you another piece of the top low hand.

You must use three cards from the board and two hole cards to make an Omaha hand. Therefore, you can’t use all these low cards.

But the more nut-low cards you have, the better off you’ll be when filling in the gaps. You’d have A-2-3 if 2 lands on the board and vice versa.

The other side of this is that you must watch for counterfeit cards, or those that land on the board and make one of your low cards useless.

Here’s an example:

  • You have A-2-3-6
  • Your opponent has A-3-4-7
  • The flop comes out 2-8-T
  • Your 2 hole card doesn’t help any longer
  • The board has swung the advantage towards the opponent

This by no means relegates you to a losing hand. But you need to be aware of counterfeit possibilities so that you don’t overplay these cards.

One-gap hands can be powerful in pot limit Omaha because there’s less worry about being counterfeited. Examples include A-2-4-X and A-3-4-X, where you can count on other low cards when a counterfeit hits the board.

Limit Playing Marginal High Hands

I mentioned earlier that playing hands with low and high value is good since you can scoop both parts of the pot. But too many players have a narrow focus and waste bets on marginal high hands.

One example is double-suited JT98. While this hand gives you a solid chance to win the high portion, it gives you no opportunity to win the low portion.

It’s also worth mentioning that this is merely a drawing hand. You’re only playing for half the pot, and you have no guarantee of getting the top high hand.

The shorter the table, the less you want to think about playing cards with high potential only. The reward for going after half the pot becomes smaller when fewer players are involved.

Limping Isn’t a Sin in PLO Omaha 8

Limping, where you call the big blind pre-flop, is treated as a cardinal sin in poker. This shows weakness in your hand, and you’ll likely be raised when limping from early or middle position.

But this logic comes from Texas hold’em, where many pots are won pre-flop. Contrast this to pot limit Omaha, which is primarily a post-flop game.

Players want to see the flop as cheaply as possible. Therefore, it’s more common to see players limping into the pot.

The goal is to flop a nut-low and/or high hand and take it from here. You don’t, however, want to try and win too many pots pre-flop.

Of course, this isn’t to say that you should be limping into every hand. But keep in mind that limping is a more viable option in low-stakes PLO 8.

And you’ll see many low-stakes PLO players limping into pots while hoping to get a big hand.

Focus on Your Table Position

Omaha Hi/Lo is like any poker game in that you stand a better chance to win money when you’re in good position.

The most advantageous position to be in is the dealer button, because you act after everybody post-flop. The blinds and seat to the dealer’s left are the worst spots to be in because you’re last acting first.

You should keep your range as close as possible to the top 10 hands when you’re in early position. This prevents you from playing too many marginal hands out of position, which costs you money.

Meanwhile, being on or close to the button allows you to play more speculative hands. You can also be more aggressive and try stealing pots when you feel that an opponent(s) doesn’t have the nuts.

The button also allows you to see more flops, too. You can wait and see if everybody else is limping into the hand, then limp yourself with a drawing card.

Long story short, you want to play more hands in position and get maximum value from later seats. Meanwhile, you want to fold all but the best hands when you’re out of position to limit your losses.

Know PL Omaha 8 Odds

One important PL Omaha 8 skill involves knowing your odds and using this info to help you make calls or folds. But keep in mind that knowing when to call bets with PLO Hi/Lo drawing hands is more difficult than what Texas hold’em entails.

Hold’em involves using the following variables to decide if calling a bet is profitable:

  • Pot odds, or the percentage that you must contribute to the pot to call
  • Outs, or the number of remaining cards that’ll make your hand
  • Hand equity, or the percentage of the pot that’s yours based on a formula involving outs

This math works out cleanly to show if a Texas hold’em call is profitable in the long run. PL Omaha Hi/Lo is different, though, because you must account for more variables.

First off, you should normally be drawing towards the nut high or low straight/flush. If you’re drawing to the second-best hand and facing a big raise, then chances are that you have poor odds of winning.

Another thing to consider is that you may only be drawing towards the low or high hand. This halves your hand equity, because you’re only going after one half of the pot.

Another consideration is that PLO Hi/Lo drawing hands have more outs than hold’em hands. Here’s an example:

  • You have Qs-Js-8d-2c
  • Flop is 10h-9s-3d
  • Between the board and your cards, you have 8-9-T-J-Q
  • You can only use two of the three straight cards in your hand (8-J-Q)
  • You need K (4x), Q (3x), J (3x), 8 (3x), or 7 (4x) to make the high flush
  • This gives you 17 outs

Calculating your outs is harder in PLO Hi/Lo because you must account for more hand possibilities. But this becomes easier as you gain experience with pot limit Omaha Hi/Lo.

The next step is to put your outs into the percentage chance that you have of making a drawing hand.

The following is calculated based your odds connecting by the turn or river from the flop:

  • 1 out = 2.3% chance to make hand by turn; 4.4% chance by river
  • 2 outs = 4.5% by turn; 8.8% by river
  • 3 outs = 6.8% by turn; 13.0% by river
  • 4 outs = 9.1% by turn; 17.2% by river
  • 5 outs = 11.4% by turn; 21.2% by river
  • 6 outs = 13.6% by turn; 25.2% by river
  • 7 outs = 15.6% by turn; 29.0% by river
  • 8 outs = 18.2% by turn; 32.7% by river
  • 9 outs = 20.5% by turn; 36.7% by river
  • 10 outs = 22.7% by turn; 39.9% by river
  • 11 outs = 25.0% by turn; 43.3% by river
  • 12 outs = 27.3% by turn; 46.7% by river
  • 13 outs = 29.6% by turn; 49.9% by river
  • 14 outs = 31.8% by turn; 53.0% by river
  • 15 outs = 34.1% by turn; 56.1% by river
  • 16 outs = 36.7% by turn; 59.0% by river
  • 17 outs = 38.6% by turn; 61.8% by river
  • 18 outs = 40.1% by turn; 64.5% by river
  • 19 outs = 43.2% by turn; 67.2% by river
  • 20 outs = 45.5% by turn; 69.7% by river
  • 21 outs = 47.7% by turn; 72.1% by river
  • 22 outs = 50.0% by turn; 74.4% by river
  • 23 outs = 52.3% by turn; 76.7% by river
  • 24 outs = 54.5% by turn; 78.8% by river
  • 25 outs = 56.8% by turn; 80.8% by river

These odds give you a rough guideline for deciding when to call when faced with a raise. Again, there’s no perfect mathematical formula for knowing when to call bets.

But you can use a combination of your outs, chances of making a hand, and whether you’re chasing one or two halves of a pot.

Know Tendencies for Low Stakes PLO – But Don’t Take Hardline Stances

Common tendencies that you’ll see in pot limit Omaha 8 include less bluffing, more limping, and people playing fewer hands with high value only.

I’ve touched down on all these concepts so far. But this doesn’t mean that you should take hardline stances against bluffing or playing high hands.

PLO 8 is like any other poker variation in that you must adapt to the situation. Sometimes you’ll find a table where bluffing is more effective, or limping is less useful.

Every table is different, and you need to study your opponents before making decisions on how to play. This is especially the case in low-stakes PLO Hi/Lo, where table dynamics can vary wildly.

But generally, you can use tendencies that you spot in low-stakes PLO 8 to develop a generic game plan for many tables.

I also want to add that bluffing is indeed usually less effective in pot limit Omaha 8. This is a hand-value game, meaning one or more players will be drawing to the nuts on a full-ring table.

Your chances of forcing everybody to fold are greatly limited due to the hand strength that many players have. A good way to bluff in PLO Hi/Lo is to look for opportunities where your hand has the potential to improve on the next street.

Bluffing occasionally is a good way to expand your hand range and keep opponents guessing on what you have. But remember that it’s almost always a bad idea to bluff with air in pot limit Omaha Hi/Lo.


Pot limit Omaha is a good game for players who like post-flop action and having the chance to improve their hands. Many pots are won after the flop due to the lower amount of pre-flop raising action.

But PLO Hi/Lo also requires a high degree of skill to succeed. And a great place to learn these skills is by playing low-stakes PLO.

What I’ve discussed in this post will help you get off to a strong start. But I urge you to continue studying PLO 8 strategy and improving your skills.

Low-stakes PLO Hi/Lo players are notorious for seeing too many flops, especially when they’re out of position. This allows skilled players to make solid profits.

You can improve your chances of winning in the lower limits just by avoiding many of the mistakes that other players make. But you should constantly look for ways to improve your game and truly capitalize on PLO 8.

Petko Stoyanov
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About Petko Stoyanov
My name is Petko Stoyanov, and I've been a gambling writer for more than ten years. I guess that was the natural path for me since I've loved soccer and card games for as long as I can remember! I have a long and fairly successful history with English Premier League betting and online poker, but I follow many other sports. I watch all big European soccer leagues, basketball, football, and tennis regularly, and I keep an eye on snooker, volleyball, and major UFC events.