Rules of the Game
Pot Limit Big O High/Low Eight or Better is a five card version of Pot Limit Omaha Eight or Better (PLO8) and is often referred to simply as Big O. Big O is much more common as a live cash game than PLO8 especially at the WSOP. In addition, it’s also included in the WSOP Dealer’s Choice and Omaha mixed game rotations.
In our opinion, PLO8 might be the most challenging of all poker variants to play at a high level. It is a split pot game so you must play technically sound but at the same time must make strong reads and bold moves in order to deny other opponents their equity. Does that mean since Big O is played with five cards is it even more challenging? Not necessarily, in Big O since everyone holds five cards the playing field is more level. Talented aggressive players cannot roam with as reckless of abandon because they will more often run into powerful hands. Thus a key weapon of their winning PLO8 strategy will be neutered to a degree.
In Big O starting with high quality starting hands is imperative. In four card Omaha games there are up to six different two card combinations that may be used to make the best hand, however in Big O it is ten. So going from PLO8 to Big O is not a 20% increase (5/4) in combinations, it is a 66% increase.
It is mandatory that low hands have some extra value, such as three premium low cards, a big pair, and/or flush possibilities. High hands also needed to be very strong. Two very large pairs regardless of the side card or whether or not they are suited are typically playable as top set is a premium holding. High hands not accompanied by two big pairs need to be very good to premium; they should either be double suited or at the minimum have all cards above a nine. Middling rundowns are marginal in PLO8 but are even more so in Big O.
There are none either online or written that we know of so be on the lookout for more material in future on countingouts.com.