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How To Calculate The Pot In PLO

The most common betting structure for Omaha is Pot Limit. Unlike No-Limit Hold’em, where you can bet all your chips at any point, in Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO), the maximum you can bet is the size of the pot. (The same minimums apply as in No-Limit Hold’em.)

Unfortunately, calculating exactly how much the “pot limit” is in PLO is less straightforward than it might seem. In this article we are going to explain how to calculate the maximum bet in PLO given your situation.

Suppose you are first to act on the flop, and there is $20 in the pot. This case is simple – you can bet up to $20.

It’s more complicated though if you are already facing a bet, because you have to include the cost of your call into the pot size.

This sounds very strange at first, and it is. In other words, the pot size is defined as:

  1. the amount in the pot before your opponent bet PLUS
  2. your opponent’s bet PLUS
  3. the amount you would have to put in to call.

Once you come up with that number, that is the amount you’re allowed to RAISE (on top of the cost to call).

Let’s take an example of that so it will be clearer. There is $20 in the pot on the flop, and your opponent bets $10.

  1. the amount in the pot before your opponent bet: $20
  2. your opponent’s bet: $10
  3. the amount you would have to put in to call: $10

Add those all up and we get $40, which is the amount you can RAISE (in addition to the $10 you would have to put in to call). In other words, you can put in $50 total.

If that’s confusing, there is a short-hand for the math. You can bet three times the last bet plus whatever was in the pot before that bet. Note that the last “bet” is only on the current round of betting. So if you are the first to bet on the flop, turn, or river, there is has been $0 bet so far. The previous street’s betting has no effect (except to create what is in the pot currently). Pre-flop, the posted blinds are bets, so if you raise you must consider the value of the blinds in your calculation.

Let’s look at several examples of using the “Rule of Three”.

Example #1

Question: Pre-flop, you are under the gun. The blinds are $5 and $10. What is the maximum you can bet?

Answer: The last “bet” (the big blind) was $10, and what was in the pot before that was $5. So the math is (3 x $10) + $5. You can bet up to $35.

Example #2

Question: Pre-flop, you are on the button. The blinds are $1 and $2. There are three limpers in front of you. What is the maximum you can bet?

Answer: The last “bet” was $2 (the final limper), and what was in the pot before that was $7 (the blinds plus 2 other limpers). So the math is (3 x $2) + $7. You can bet up to $13.

Example #3

Question: In a $2/$5 game, there is $15 in the pot pre-flop. On the flop, you want to open for pot. What is the maximum you can bet?

Answer: This is the easy one! No betting has been conducted in this round. So you can match what’s in the pot pre-flop. You can bet $15.

Example #4

Question: There is $10 in the pot. Player A in front of you bets $5. What is the maximum you can bet?

Answer: The last bet was $5. There was $10 in the pot before that. (3 x $5) + $10 = $25. You can bet up to $25.

Example #5

Question: There is $10 in the pot. Player A bets $5. Player B raises to $25. What is the maximum you can bet?

Answer: The last bet is $25. There was $15 in pot before that. (3 x $25) + $15 = $90. You can bet up to $90.

At first calculating the pot limit can seem daunting. Eventually you will get the hang of it. In the meantime, you can always just announce that you bet “pot” and the dealer will figure it out for you!

When playing on OmahaPokerTraining.com, you can use the bet slider to see the minimum and maximum amount you can legally bet or raise. Slide the bar all the way to the left and you’ll see the minimum amount. Slide all the way to the right to see the maximum (“pot”) bet.