Pot-Limit Omaha Hi/Lo (PLO8) SNG Strategy

If you’ve mastered the art of Pot-Limit Omaha Sit & Go tournaments then consider trying your hand at the more complex hi/lo version PLO8 SNG’s; The Tip Top Fox talks you through the basics

Following on from our three-part Beating Pot-Limit Omaha SNG’s series, this article is designed to introduce you to an even more complicated and high-octane version of the game; Pot-Limit Omaha hi/lo. Commonly known as PLO8, this article will cover the basics of this exciting game. It can be used as an overall introduction, though the rest of the series will focus solely on using this information to master playing PLO8 SNG’s.

Split pot hi-lo games like PLO8 are even more action-packed than their PLO-hi counterparts and offer canny players an edge over the inexperienced – just as long as you follow some basic rules:

The Basics of PLO8

  • The key difference between PLO and PLO8 is that in hi/lo the pot is split between the best high hand and the best low. However, there MUST be three cards eight or under on the board for there to be a qualifying low otherwise the high wins everything.
  • Don’t slow play; be wary of overplaying vulnerable hands like naked flopped sets and straights, but generally if you have the best high then jam the pot and charge your opponents to draw to the low.
  • Straights and flushes do not count against you for the low, therefore A-2-3-4-5 is the nut low and can often be good enough to win the high as well, especially if it contains a suited ace as you can make the nut flush. 
  • Be aware that if the board pairs your low card it can counterfeit your low draw so you should be playing to scoop (win the whole pot) rather than playing to win half. This is key in PLO8; if you are only drawing to the nut low you could be up against an opponent holding the nut high with both high and low redraws. Basically this means that you will get quartered (only win a quarter of the pot) as the high will take half and you will split half of half with the best low – not good…

Starting Hand Requirements

While every showdown in PLO8 will always have a high hand winner, there will not always be a winning low; therefore your focus for starting hands should reflect the fact you are looking to scoop.

This means premium PLO-high starting hands like double-suited Broadway rundowns aren’t quite as valuable but should still be raised in position. Middling gap run-downs like J-10-9-7 and below lose value as they are never going to win the low and are speculative when it comes to winning the high. Raising in position is fine but don’t commit a lot of chips pre-flop.

A-H-H-L and A-L-L-H (where L is five or below and H is ten or better) suited gap connectors make excellent starting hands, as do double-suited big pairs like A-A-K-K to A-A-T-T.

The hi/lo nature of the game means that hands like A-A-5-5 down to A-A-2-2 are now also premiums as are A-A-4-5 down to A-A-2-3. Rundowns like A-2-3-4 up to A-4-5-6 are good hi/lo starting hands especially if double-suited. However, hands like A-7-X-X or A-8-X-X where your other cards are uncoordinated middling-highs will just get you into trouble.

Naked A-2-X-X hands are worth a look if you can get in cheap but should not be overplayed out of position, especially if your ace isn’t suited. 

That covers the basics, so read about how you can apply this knowledge to an SNG in Part Two: PLO8 SNG Strategy: Early and Mid-Stage Play

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