Part 2: Making Decisions Before the Flop
After a really exhaustive introduction to the game and explaining how to go about picking your starting hands, the second part of the Upswing PLO University moves on to the preflop decision making. Leaning on the knowledge from previous videos, it breaks down decisions by various positions at the tables, showing when you should raise first in (RFI), what spots are good for cold calling raises, and when you should be going for 3-bets.
Apart from providing specific ranges players can use, this segment of the course also offers various thoughts and ideas to really understand how you arrive at certain decisions before the flop. That way, players aren’t offered just raw data in the form of charts but also some background and underlying reasoning backing those decisions.
Raise First In
Usually, the idea of being the first to raise is to take control of the hand and win money. There are as many as 10 videos explaining when to raise first in based on your hand strength and your position at the table:
- Early position raise (4 videos)
- Middle position RFI (2 videos)
- Cut off RFI (2 videos)
- Button raises (2 videos)
Every single one of these videos lasts between 30 and 40 minutes, and JNandez87 explains hand ranges and reasons behind opening different hands across different positions. At the same time, he constantly explains and underlines some fundamental principles, which is much more helpful than just giving out fixed charts to try and learn by heart.
Although there are ranges and stats, it is important also to understand that not all players have the same skillset and the profitability of different opens from different positions is highly related to these skills. So, not all hands will be as profitable for everyone and going on auto-pilot is not the way to approach PLO games.
This is a lot of material to watch, and you’re probably best off taking some time with it. Trying to absorb all of it in one day is likely to be too much and not as effective. Watching a few videos at the time and really focusing on what’s being explained, however, will help you construct your preflop raising ranges and really understand what it is you’re trying to achieve with different groups of hands.
Two videos in the Part 2 deal with 3-betting spots in and out of positions. In total, there is about an hour worth of footage, with the first video dealing with some general concepts, while the second one brings a number of concrete examples from actual hands.
The ranges explained in the videos are based on the 100 big blinds play, and JNandez shares his own ranges, which should be more than enough to help anyone looking to improve to structure their 3-bet play.
Once again, hands are broken in categories, with two categories dealing with in position ranges and four of them discussing out of position plays. Of course, the 3-betting range increases as the initial opener’s position moves closer to the button, but you need to be able to adjust accordingly if certain opponents are deviating from standard opening ranges.
In the second video in this section, JNandez brings out some of his own interesting hands featuring 3-bet pots. This is very helpful with regards to understanding what was explained in theory because it shows how these virtual ranges actually stack up in real hands.
The final two videos in Part 2 deal with cold calling, i.e. those situations where your best play is just to call and take your hand to the flop. Videos are broken down into two natural categories:
- Cold calling from big blind (out of position)
- Cold calling in position
When playing from the big blind and deciding which hands to flat with, it isn’t just about the number of players in the pot and the odds you’ll be getting. JNandez also advises looking into tendencies of other players at the table and factor these into your decisions. All the concepts are explained through actual hand examples, alongside equity calculations to show how different hands stack up against perceived ranges.
The video dealing with cold calling in position is structured in a similar way, with hand examples from the hand database. JNandez87 introduces the video with the idea that cold calling in position becomes increasingly difficult to make profitable the further you get away from the button. Reasons for this are obvious, as we’ll often get squeezed, which will cost a lot of money in the long run.
This isn’t a particularly long video, simply because cold calling an open raise in position doesn’t make that big of a part of the overall PLO strategy. However, there are some interesting hand examples from this group analyzed and explained as well, keeping in mind important factors like how often you’ll actually stay in position or someone else after you will overcall, etc.
Part 3: Postflop Play
The third and final part of PLO University finally moves to postflop play, i.e. everything that comes after the preflop stage is over. JNandez introduces Part 3 with a 20-minute video talking about some general concepts to consider when approaching postflop play in PLO.
Although there is a lot of talks out there, it seems that not many of these ideas are actually implemented, which is something that you need to change to improve your PLO play. Going from theoretical understanding to practical implementation is the main goal of this particular module.
Single Raised Pot Videos
The rest of Part 3 deals mostly with single raised pots in various scenarios (alongside a couple of videos touching upon 3-bet pots where we play as preflop raiser). JNandez looks into heads-up pots, because these are the most common scenarios. Of course, it is possible for a PLO pot to go multi-way, but in heads-up pots it is possible to come up with much more accurate solutions.
Videos are divided into three groups:
- Playing in position
- Playing out of position
- Playing out of position against a preflop raise
Once again, JNandez goes deep into analysis of different ranges and how they stack up against each other depending on different board textures. He uses PioSOLVER to come up with these calculations, a program that many players might not be familiar with but is very useful for these types of tasks. So, alongside learning about a postflop play in PLO, you’ll also get a chance to see how to use PioSOLVER and how it can help you improve your PLO and NLHE game.
Once you’ve been through all the materials in PLO University, there are actually quite a few extras thrown in there. These are a great addition to the overall course, and you can watch them even alongside the actual course as they tie in nicely to the general concepts discussed in the teaching videos.
- PLO Play & Explain Sessions
- PLO Webinars
- Bonus videos
In the Play and Explain section, as you would probably expect, there are quite a few videos showing the actual play from JNandez87 as well as Ryan Fee. In these videos, you’ll see the footage of live play from these players, and you’ll get to see how they apply all the different concepts in their own game.
In the Webinars’ section, there are few interesting discussions covering PLO Solver, game strategy at different big blinds depth, 3-bets, etc.
Finally, in the Bonus section, there are several play reviews featuring analysis of hands from other players played across different stakes as well as more talk on Monkey Solver, which is one of the poker tools you should get for PLO.
Conclusion: The Most Extensive PLO Course Out There
If you’re serious about learning Pot Limit Omaha and becoming a good player, Upswing’s PLO University has everything you could possibly need to get there. Starting with the core concepts and then building upon these, the course actually contains the type of knowledge to take you from zero to hero.
A good thing about PLO University is the fact it is suitable for those new to the game and more experienced players looking to improve. There is a wealth of knowledge contained in there, and there is practically no way the course isn’t worth the money.
Of course, like most Upswing courses (upswing poker lab review), you’ll need to put in some work yourself and also take time to really understand and implement what’s being explained in the videos. Sometimes, getting through all the different ranges and calculations can become tedious so you should take your time with it. However, don’t try to skip on certain parts simply because you don’t think there is anything else you need to know about a certain segment.
Take the course as a whole and try to watch every single video from the beginning to the end at least once. Some of them you’ll probably get back to later, but to start with, go through the entire course and try to start implementing suggestions and ideas as you go along. If there is something that’s not working as it should, you can always go back and see if you happened to miss out on an important piece of information.
All in all, this is a great way to learn Pot Limit Omaha strategy and take your game to the next level so be sure to check it out!