All you need to know about PLO poker variant

There are a few good poker simulation games out there for PC, but the closest thing I’ve seen to a real life card game is a freeware program called PLO. It stands for Pot Limit Omaha and it’s one of the most interesting games around. In our opinion, it’s even better than Texas Hold ‘Em because of its added complexity and the fact that you’re not restricted to just the flop, turn and river.

PLO is similar to Texas Hold 'Em, but there are important differences:

* There is no “pot” yet. The players themselves must put money into the pot instead of having it done automatically by blinds.

* There are four community cards and the players get to use any two of them in combination with their own cards.

* You can bet multiple times per hand, there is no limit!

First player to place his chips in the pot after each round starts is considered the ‘betting leader’. He may check (not put money into the pot), or bet (put money into the pot) by placing chips in a stack on the table, announcing the amount of his bet and pushing them forward.

If everyone folds (leaves their cards face down on the table), it’s considered as if they checked. If no one bets, but someone has previously checked, it’s called “being checked through”.


The lowest bet allowed is called a "small blind" and it has to be half the amount of the big blind.

The big blind is an equivalent to hole-card in Hold ‘Em – bets are placed before seeing any cards, but its size depends on how many players are at the table. If you play with less than nine players, the big blind is as large as the lowest bet allowed. If you play with nine or more, it’s double that size.

Whoever starts first (i.e., makes a small or big blind) must have chips in front of him so everyone knows how much he has to call if anyone else bets higher than his stack. If he runs out of chips while playing (for example, if he bets all his money on the first round), then that’s considered as folding.

When everyone has folded or put in enough money to call, the hands are shown and the best hand wins all the money in the pot. However, there is also an added bonus called “the drawing hand”. This is any hand that contains at least one community card or any combination of two cards.


If there are any doubts about who won (e.g., if two players show an equal combination of cards) it’s called a “split pot”. Usually you want to make sure the best hand wins, but it’s not always the case. Some players prefer to split pots rather than risk losing to someone with a drawing hand. The details are up to you, or whoever is in charge of the game.

The four community cards are face up in the center of the table right after the betting round ends. Everyone must use at least two of them when playing. The last card is the river, which is dealt before the showdown.