Bluffing on three flush boards in PLO

Any time three to a flush comes out in PLO people generally get wary and defensive.

Pot Limit Omaha is a game where well timed and thought out bravery is rewarded handsomely if the right spots are picked. It is also a game where miss-timed bluffs can quickly prove hugely expensive, so learning as many of the better spots to bluff and the better spots to back down in PLO is crucial to success.

A great example of this is taking aggressive lines on three flush boards. Any time three to a flush comes out in PLO people generally get wary and defensive. Even with small flushes, people are often loathe to get their stack in, and the simple fact that the nut flush is out there so often makes player's lives very hard with marginal hands when facing large scale aggression.

This ease of bluff is particularly pronounced with three flush boards, as any player with the nut flush will generally want to play their hand hard and fast due to not wanting to let sets see the turn cheaply. This means that you usually find out very quickly who has the nuts and who doesn't - perfect territory for making aggressive moves that stand a high chance of success.

However, attacking three flush boards can throw up situations where you have to back down, and one of the best examples if when the river pairs the board. Say you get involved with an astute player and see a three flush board both playing 200bb deep. You are out of position and bet ¾ pot on the flop, they think for a while and call. The turn is a blank and you fire again. They think for a long time and call. The river pairs the board.

Weak Omaha players habitually fire a card like this, thinking something along the lines of 'Ahh now even if he has a small flush he can't call'. In reality this is a terrible card for you to continue to bluff at. If the opponent has been calling with a full house draw, they just got there, but more importantly, if they have a small flush this card actually increases their chances of calling a river bet.

As the hand you are representing should be very scared of that river card (after all, you are supposed to have a flush), you should be going into check call mode at very best. The only hand that really bets that way is a bluff (full house draws should be shutting down on the turn out of fear of getting raised), and a small flush is a great bluff catcher. In this spot this card is terrible for you to bluff, and it is important to back-down and just give up on the hand.

Omaha is an action game, but is also one that requires a lot of deep thought. Bluffing is critical to success, but so is backing down in spots where your line just cannot make sense, and money you save in poker is always just as important as money you win - something it is crucial to get to grips with when playing PLO.

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