Beating Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO) SNG’s – Early and Middle Stage Play
The Tip Top Fox shows you how to handle the early and middle stages of a Pot-Limit Omaha Sit and Go (SNG) in part two of our three-part strategy guide
In part one of our Beating Pot-Limit Omaha SNG’s – Basic Strategy Guide we discussed the dos and don’ts of PLO and examined the importance of starting hand requirements. Now we will look at putting some of that into practice in the Early and Middle Stages of a PLO SNG:
Aside from the differences in starting hand selection from its No-Limit cousin, the early stages of a Pot-Limit Omaha SNG play quite similarly. One key difference is the fact that most PLO tournaments and SNGs are usually played without antes, meaning you can afford to play a little tighter than you would in an NLHE SNG as you only have to post the blinds once an orbit.
You should be playing tight and waiting for strong starting hands, which should stop you from bleeding chips. That’s not to say you should be playing passively, but raising out of position and calling too much are both big leaks in many beginners’ games. Obviously, if you only raise with aces your game will be easily exploitable so you should mix it up by raising with a range of quality hands including double-suited high-card/pair combos and run-down hands. By all means, play your big draws aggressively but you want to hit the flop hard before you commit a lot of chips to a pot during the early levels.
As a rough rule of thumb, the above list of hands is what you should be looking for during the early levels, and you should be opening them with a raise, or three-betting (re-raising) with them in late position if an opponent has already opened. However, PLO being a positional game, it is fine to mix things up with the occasional late position call with a speculative double-suited run-down hand like 10-9-8-7 down to 4-5-6-7, you just shouldn’t be committing a large portion of your stack to do so pre-flop. This means you should be watching out for the other players betting tendencies early, as if you do call a raise from late position, you don’t want to have to then fold if a habitual three-bettor squeezes from the blinds, so it pays to pay attention to how your opponents are playing from the get-go.
In addition to having built yourself a tight/aggressive table image during the early levels that you can now exploit, you have had ample time to study how your opponents have been playing and should know who is more likely to fold to a re-raise.
At this stage you should avoid calling if a bet will commit you to the pot – you should either be re-raising or folding pre-flop. This is where the three-bet comes into its own; not only does it increase your chances of taking the pot heads-up increasing the value of your draws (your non-nut flush/straight draw is more likely to be good) it also traps dead money as many players in early/middle position will call/fold to a three-bet.
Awareness of stack size and position becomes crucial at this point and you should be considering your plan of action on the flop. Call/folding out of the blinds is weak play and you should be looking to put the pressure back on your opponents. Observing the tendencies of your opponent becomes a key factor; If your opponent is more likely to check to you if you have position then consider re-raising pre-flop – you can then put them to the test by shoving the flop.
You can read more in Part Three: Beating Pot-Limit Omaha SNG’s – Bubble and Beyond