The theory behind PLO has been studied extensively over the last few years, and there is a lot of material to help you get better. However, this comes with a price, and games are getting tougher and tougher, so to keep up with the competition, you need to use these tools yourself.
Upswing PLO Matrix is one such tool that focuses on helping you improve your preflop play.
Built using MonkerSolver and powerful servers but delivered in a simple-to-use and player-friendly interface, the PLO Matrix training tool provides everything you need to quickly improve your play before the flop in all sorts of different scenarios.
Before moving on, it's important to emphasize that this tool requires zero knowledge of solvers or any behind-the-scenes stuff.
It's an interactive grid that gives you the exact information you're looking for with a few simple clicks.
PLO Matrix at a Glance
There are quite a few players out there who hate hearing words like solvers and GTO. These terms usually include complicated calculations and formulas, and learning concepts built upon these foundations is often quite hard.
PLO Matrix by Upswing uses solver-based solutions but delivers them in a human-friendly way.
When you run the app, the first thing you’ll need to decide is the stakes. PLO Matrix offers three choices:
And high stakes.
You might wonder how this is relevant if the matrix is based on GTO poker solutions and doesn't account for the opponents' skill level? The answer is simple, and it's the rake.
In terms of percentages, you’re paying more rake at lower stakes, and that's something that can and should be accounted for. So, depending on what stakes you play, you may have slightly different ranges for the same scenarios, especially in certain positions.
The best approach is just to select the option that best describes your current level and go with it.
Once you make a choice, you'll see the grid containing different options. There are two sides of the grid, the top-right, and the bottom-left. You can use either of them as there is really no difference.
However, if you want to see how ranges change depending on the stack depth, you can choose 100 big blinds on one side of the grid and 50 BBs on the other (for example).
Next, you’ll simply pick the situation you’re interested in based on the position on the table and the action, i.e.:
Ranges for the Raise First In (RFI) scenarios
Playing against the opener
Squeezing in multi-way pots
Depending on your level of experience with Pot Limit Omaha and tools such as this one, it may take you a little while to figure things out, but it’s pretty intuitive.
How to Learn With PLO Matrix
Upswing’s PLO Matrix is all about simplifying the process of learning the preflop theory.
All calculations were done beforehand, so you get a visual representation of optimal ranges for every scenario.
To understand how PLO Matrix works, it’s best to look at some examples.
Let’s say you wanted to figure out if you should open with a particular hand from the cutoff when playing 100 big blinds deep (which is the software’s default setting).
You would go to the row marked with CO and then click on the field marked ‘CO’ in the ‘RFI’ column.
This will take you to the next screen, where you will see a grid of hole cards very similar to those found in similar Hold’em software. The right side of the grid is for double-suited hands, while the left side of the grid is for single-suited hands.
If you’re wondering what about monotone hands, these are apparently really bad in PLO in most scenarios, so there was no reason to include them as a separate category. These hands will mostly be pure folds.
Here, you might encounter the first obstacle. This is PLO, yet the grid is only showing two cards?
It is a bit confusing at first but not too hard to figure out.
The way you'll define your hands in PLO Matrix is by using your two strongest cards.
For example, if you want to see what to do with a hand like K Q 5 7 double-suited from the CO, you’ll click on KQ on the right side of the grid. If your hand contains a pair, you’ll click on that pair in the relevant section of the grid.
Finally, you will get the grid with all possible K Q X X poker hands combinations and the best actions for every combo marked by distinct colors.
You will notice that this grid also has two sections, the good suit, and the bad suit. What this means in PLO Matrix is the following:
Good suit – two highest possible suits (i.e., Ks Qh 7s 6h)
Bad suit – two highest cards of the same suit (Ks Qs 7h 6h)
In single suited hands, the good suit is the suit in the highest card, with only two of the same suit
Don't be confused by the large black area (I was at first because I didn't take enough time to think about it). Hands marked in black are impossible combos for your current selection, i.e., if your hand contained a pair of QQ or AJ, that’s what you’d pick to begin with.
That’s pretty much the whole process. You can do this for any hand you want, across all positions, and for different scenarios.
If you wanted to explore how to play against the raise from a certain position, you'd use the “vs.” fields.
For example, if you want to see how to play a certain hand from the button against a UTG open, go to the BU row and select “vs. UTG.”
You'll notice that there are no scenarios for limpers, i.e., if there is a limp in front of you.
For these situations, PLO Matrix suggests shifting your raising range for one position.
For example, if you're on the button and there is one limper, you should raise with a hand if it is in the cutoff raising range.
It won’t take you more than a few minutes to figure out how to study preflop scenarios with PLO Matrix. The software is really not complicated, so you should have no problems on the technical side of things.
Improving Your Play With Upswing PLO Matrix
While creating all sorts of preflop scenarios using this tool is easy enough, you still have to do the hard part. PLO Matrix was created for those who truly want to study their game, find their mistakes, and fix any leaks they have.
PLO Matrix is best suited for analyzing your sessions, but can also be used in play.
You can quickly check out any tricky spots you had and see if you made the right play.
Was your 3-bet against that early position open good, or was it too wide?
Were you supposed to fold your hand to a button 4-bet in that big pot you lost?
Of course, PLO Matrix is also very good for testing some common scenarios that you encounter all the time. It will give you the exact way to play your bad aces, middling rundown hands, etc.
It’s hard to learn every single spot by heart, but once you start analyzing the game using PLO Matrix, you’ll develop a completely new approach.
While you will not learn advanced postflop plays like with a solid PLO training course, you’ll begin to see things from a different angle, and you won’t have to memorize every scenario to know what to do with certain types of hands.
It’s impossible for humans to play like computers, but your goal is to get as close as possible, and this tool will help you get there.
Is Upswing PLO Matrix Worth Your Money?
Unlike most other coaching programs on Upswing Poker, PLO Matrix is based on a monthly subscription and will cost you $49 a month to access this tool, which may seem a bit high.
With the edgePLO Matrix can give against your competition, the subscription model and price is in the right spot.
Creating a ready-made solution such as this for PLO was a gigantic task as it involves very complex solutions and countless hours of computations by powerful computers. Even if you had the necessary software and the know-how, doing something like this on your own and using a normal PC would take forever.
At the same time, getting your preflop ranges right is key to success in PLO.
While it is often described as a “flop game,” it all starts with your decisions before those first three cards hit the felt. Your decisions up to that point will heavily influence your profitability, even if you're very good in postflop situations.
So, if you’re looking to quickly improve your PLO game and start moving your graph in the right direction, I’d say PLO Matrix is worth it, so make sure to check it out.
Even if you’re completely new to Pot Limit Omaha, you’ll be able to figure out and start using this tool to improve within minutes. This and the wealth of information you’ll get access to make PLO Matrix well worth buying even if you’re playing at very low stakes.
What’s so good about it is that you don’t have to be a poker expert to take full advantage of what it has to offer. You just need a curious mind and a desire to get better.