How to Reduce Variance in PLO Tournaments

It is all too easy to look down at every hand in PLO and see endless combinations and start wanting to play every pot.

Pot Limit Omaha (PLO) is about the wildest poker game available, and even the most battle hardened grinders often struggle to deal with the variance involved. In tournaments this problem is even more pronounced, as unlike cash games where you can simply reload, in tournaments when you bust you are out, and thinking about how best to reduce variance is crucial to getting through the early stages of PLO tournaments.

The best way to reduce variance in most forms of poker is to try and reduce pot size and the frequency of marginal situations. In the early stages of PLO tournaments this usually consists of actually being quite passive pre flop, and only playing hands that have a very good chance of developing into nut hands.

There are an extremely high number of very soft spots in PLO tournaments right now, and it is simply not worth pursuing small edges in big pots early on - too many better spots arise to risk busting on flips or 60/40s. Just like you should rarely be over playing hands like ace king or top pair early on in hold'em tournaments, so it is in PLO, where any hand outside of an absolute monster should be considered marginal early on.

It is all too easy to look down at every hand in PLO and see endless combinations and start wanting to play every pot. The reality of the game though is that you have to trade off of solid equities just like you do in all forms of poker. As the equities pre flop and on the flop are usually quite marginal in PLO, in tournaments it is crucial that you avoid building huge pots at these stages of hands to give yourself the best chance at surviving deep.

There is lots of dead money in PLO tournaments, but making sure you take the lowest variance route to it fundamental to getting the highest return on investment possible. You can't survive endless coin flips and marginal situations in any form of tournament poker, and you certainly can't in the game that if played aggressively throws up the most of these of any form of poker - a lesson crucial to understanding if you are just starting out in PLO tournaments.

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