PLO Hand Selection - the Source of Countless Mistakes
PLO is different from Holdem in many ways, but possibly the most obvious difference between the two consists in the preflop hand-selection. Also known as "the game of the nuts" PLO can indeed be quite unforgiving in this respect. Unfortunately, there is no fail-proof recipe for this issue: players have to be able to determine time after time whether their hand can be profitable or not, under the given circumstances. In an ideal case, you will want a hand which stands a good chance to improve with the flop, which can potentially land the nuts and which has a little bit of extra to it. Obviously though, such hands will only come about every once in a while. It's the rest of the hands you have to be worried about, because those are liable to force you to commit mistakes.
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One of the frequent such mistakes that Holdem players make is that they play weak Kings. In Holdem, pocket Ks make a great starting hand, and if you commit on them only to lose out to pocket rockets, you can say you've taken a bad beat. In Omaha losing with Ks to As is not a cooler though: it's what they call a mistake. Why exactly are Ks so weak in PLO? Think about it this way: in this game, a high pair only very rarely wins at showdown, and as a general truth: it is also much more difficult to make it to showdown in PLO than in Holdem to begin with.
Given that there are 4 hole-cards in PLO, one pair of Ks is not equal to another pair. Consider these two hands: K,K,A,Q and K,K,4,9. It's obvious the second one has no plan B going for it. With such a hand, your only hope is to make a set, if you miss out on that, you can pretty much muck them. This example makes it obvious that starting hands which can be considered good/playable in PLO have several things going for them. One has to be able to aim for the nuts with them and in case he misses, he has to have a plan B to which he can fall back.
Another thing that one has to keep in mind in regards to PLO hand selection is that playing out of position is impossible here. In Omaha, reversals occur on every street most of the time and it's really difficult to tell exactly where you are in the hand. Add to that an early position and you have the odds stacked sky-high against you.
Bear in mind that by being tight on the flop, you will make it much easier on yourself to play the later streets. Learning proper starting hand selection is difficult in this game, and you will only be able to achieve it through experience. Don't play too many hands, keep tight and stick to hands you know will be easy to play later.