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First ever PLO sessions, observations, and adjustments

I am one of the top winners in my 2/5 player pool, but am brand new to PLO. I’ve decided to learn the game because a lot of the spots prefer to play it over hold-em these days. I played my first live PLO sessions this weekend and have some initial impressions about possible ways to beat the game besides the basics of value betting and making exploitative folds, but would love feedback.

1) PLO live games seem much looser pre than hold-em. 4-6 player pots were the norm. But it also seems to me that the PLO games are even more passive than their hold-em equivalent at those stakes.

2) Bet sizing tells. When people bet pot it was always the nuts or a nutted draw. Smaller sizings were either stabs or draws with unclear equity (i.e wraps on a two tone board). People seem way more unbalanced with their sizing than hold-em.

3) I saw some small stabs that were pretty weak at showdown.

4) There was zero slow playing on flops.

5) I saw minimal hero calling and minimal bluffs. There were zero pure bluffs on river with the exception of a hand I played. I did see one blocker bluff that was shown.

6) Some people seemed to level themselves with blockers. They seemed to prioritize a blocker in their hand over all the other factors (i.e what type of player they are facing, betting patterns, etc). I was smh at some of the plays that people made based on blockers. Some players outright said they made the play based on blockers.

So some potential adjustments based on what I saw:

1) Since people are playing such wide ranges and giving away the strength of their hand on flops, stab some IP and possibly follow up with another barrel. Weak ranges just can’t take a lot of heat. This seems like one of the most profitable adjustments to quickly make.

2) Attack the smaller non-pot bet sizings. Identify the stabbers and play back at them in spots. For example, pre flop raise - 4 callers , flop comes two tone - checks though, turn - pfr checks again - a stabby players bets half pot.

3) Since nobody slow plays and people generally give away the strength of their hand by the river, I think there is some potential for other types of bluffs because people are so unbalanced with their ranges that arrive at the river.

4) Don’t level yourself with blockers. When a nitty guy is repping top set, he has it, even if you have a blocker. Your reads on a player and betting patterns >> blockers.

I’m curious if my thinking is not too far off base. I would like to know if my assumptions are correct for live PLO and what people think of the possible adjustments.


  • FreeLunchFreeLunch Posts: 1,311Pro
    Ill respond in more detail later (leaving for casino in 5) but I pretty much agree that your observations describe a very typical game. There is a progression of thought that players go through and the mix that they end up with most of the time corresponds to your observations.

    Its the exploits where you have to be careful, especially bluffing. When you are new to PLO those exploits do make sense, but eventually you will see that people have hands to call you down with way more often than it seems like they should. The primary reason for that is that if you look at what a weak players range is when they open the pot, and then you have 4-6 people with those ranges its amazing how often one of those 4-6 players will flop a really strong hand. You will see that observation #4 is not spot on as there are lots of players that trap or continue passively with weak value hands they dont intend to fold to any pressure.

    The blockers bit is a reflection on the same observation - people will have it. Blockers really only come into play as a bluffing tool when vs fewer players with ore narrow defined ranges. Even then its more about using blockers as a tool for picking ranges then it is because the blocker has some magic that will make the bluff work every time.

    Ill add more later but if you are approaching this as a people game primarily then you are on the right track.

    The #1 exploit for all your observations is having better preflop ranges
  • Jack7777Jack7777 Posts: 655Subscriber
    CB said "because a lot of the spots prefer to play it over hold-em these days"
    I think they come to have fun, be a part of the group, have a good time and blow money. I see players who can not play NHL go play 4-card poker like it's easier. Lots of money to be made, lost too. There was a 50K pot one night, right in the middle of 2/5 and 1/2 games. I heard there was a 100K pot on the regular floor at the Heater in N.O. That's a lot of money over here.
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