January 28, 2014 By: KasinoKrime
“Just play every hand. You can’t miss them all.”
Whether this is a quote from Sammy is debatable because I pulled it off of a random website. Regardless, I wanted to provide a saying from my favorite Lebanese PLO degen to help you remember that even though playing every hand might work well for Mr. Farha, that definitely doesn’t mean you can pull it off too. Many beginning players justify playing very loose pre-flop because they’ve heard equities run closer in PLO, but as we’ll talk about in a second, that doesn’t give you a license to go nuts.
In comparison to Hold’em, the equities run much closer together in PLO, but just how much closer are they? If you take one of the most premium starting hands, A♣A♠J♣T♠, and match it up against any other random hand, it only has 71% equity pre-flop instead of the crushing 85% Hold’em Aces have. Furthermore, these are one of the most powerful Aces that can be dealt. Random Aces would have ~65% and rainbow disconnected Aces like A♣A♠9♥3♦ have closer to 61%. Furthermore, nearly every pre-flop match-up between good hands is much closer to the 55/45 range or similar, which makes a huge difference in the long run. So by now you might be thinking, “OK, that’s good to know I guess, but why does it matter?”
See, even though starting hands in PLO are all technically close if you run them heads-up against each other, there’s a big difference between the types of hands that scoop big pots and the ones that get you into trouble in multi-way pots. Since you rarely get all-in pre-flop with 100bb stacks, the playability of a hand matters a lot more than what the pre-flop equity is. This is especially true as the stacks get deeper, which leads to bets on later streets being much bigger than pre-flop bets. Put more simply, pre-flop is just the foreplay that leads to where the real action happens.