Many players, that only ever play Texas Hold'em, believe Pot Limit Omaha to be a game where only the nuts win! This is a far cry from the truth! Even though a starting hand in Omaha hand contains six times the number of combinations compared to a Texas Hold'em hand, this just means that the nuts is six times more likely to happen. However, this outcome is far from guaranteed.
Quite often, especially in 6-max PLO, there are many scenarios where bluffing opportunities arise. It is in your best interests to spot when these situations happen – and take full advantage of them.
This can make all the difference between a mediocre earn rate and an impressive one.
Opportunities to Bluff
So just what opportunities can we look for in PLO? Well it helps to have a tight image at the table. This will open up plenty of opportunities for you to represent many more hands than you actually have.
For example let us say that you have been playing very straight forward and tightly in a $2/$4 PLO cash game. The effective stacks are 150bb. A hand is open raised pot by a player on the cut-off, and you call on the button with the 7d-7h-6h-5s.
Now before you get all up in arms about a small pair – this is in fact a reasonable holding to play in position against a cut-off raiser. Both blinds fold. Straight away you are presented with a textbook bluffing opportunity because you are heads up AND in position.
Executing the Bluff
Let us say that the flop comes 9s-8s-3h and your opponent fires out a two-thirds pot sized bet. You have a 12 outs for straight as well as a possible back-door flush draw. With this many outs you have a draw that is more than strong enough NOT to fold to the c/bet.
However, this isn’t the sum total of possible “outs”. If you call your can use what are called “bluffing outs” - or cards that can be used to represent the flush as well. There are a possible 10 remaining spades in the deck. These cards can be added to the existing 12 straight outs, taking your total number of “outs” to 22.
It would be very difficult for our opponent to call a raise if the turn card was say the 2s. Any decent, tight opponent with a hand like top pair, an over pair, or a two pair would fold here - if you have the right image. In fact, some players would lay down a set to an all-in raise or strong turn bet.
Of course, if your opponent has the flush this play would more than likely fail. However, it is not unheard of for players in PLO to lay down a weaker flush in the belief that this was the proper play.
Knowing your opponent and timing your bluff correctly will minimise the bluff fail scenarios and keep chip loss to a minimum. If you raise to represent a hand and your opponent comes over the top – there's no shame in folding.
Lick your wounds and use the play to extract chips from the same opponent when you really have the goods!