Friday, November 04, 2011

Omaha post!

It looks more and more credible that there will be some sort of regulated on-line poker in the US in the next couple of years. When it does return, I will not be playing much hold'em. The more I play any other game, the more I see the common mistakes I used to see in Hold'em years ago. Mostly, players overvaluing hands.

I play Omaha relatively snug pre-flop, and I understand the "Deeb Rule" that most Omaha decisions are made on the FLOP (not the turn or river). So, when I sit down at an Omaha table, I commonly note two things:

1. Early in the session, players are wacky, stupid gamblers. Somehow sitting at a PLO table with just a buy-in, seems to make people feel inadequate and they will play volatile poker on purpose chasing the most unreasonable draws.

2. If they call a bet pre-flop, they will call ANY RAISE preflop.

I am at a 1-2 PLO table with a straddle. I am in early position with a marginal (very marginal) hand and I decide because of my middling connecting cards to limp and hope that we see a flop. Guy on my left raises to $25, 4 people call and I fold. Guys looks at me and asks, "How can you fold?'

Turns out he has a worse hand than me and had to fold to a bet on the flop. Two guys flopped pretty solid hands, but when someone now bets POT, its an all in this early.

After the hand, I explain to the guy. Look, when you guys "juice" the pot because you want to play big pot poker for some reason with marginal hands, all you do is create a situation where the first to bet the flop is all-in and the callers are chasing draws and gambling. If you want to gamble, play roulette. If you want to play poker, you dont make it $25 from early position with 23QJ two suited. WTF?

Needless to say, I never limped again from EP. Never should have. But I am not going to compound a marginal play with an awful one.

I did create a what I thought was an interesting situation when I was later dealt AA9x double suited and limped from EP. But when someone made it $25 again and everyone started calling, I got pissed and POT pre-flop all-in. EVERYONE called. Stupid. Two of the hands should never have called $25 and the third hand should never have called the $225. But one of the stupid hands flopped a straight with Q9 and STILL I was live to ANY HEART on the river. In the end, I did not improve and lost a Buy-in. Wow. What a game.

I pushed chips around for another hour after that, but it was clear that over the long haul, this was a game I was going to profit at. And each player played every hand consistently for his play, no guessing necessary. Like watching a movie after reading the book.

(I had taken $1400 out of this game a month ago, so despite the minor setback, feel even more confident now.)

On a side note, just to comment on Hoyazo's comments on the craptacular WSOP play. I never got the see the bubble bustout as my DVR cutoff. In watching that now, how does KQ call there? Ever? Just how did you get that far? Just wow.


matt tag said...

One point you might be missing - if regulated online poker DOES come to the US, a new poker boom will begin that will re-stock the Holdem tables with the fish that once again overvalue their hands.

All these Zynga poker noobs will try out the real money tables for the first time, and the games will be great again.

Hammer Player a.k.a Hoyazo said...

Agreed on the KQ. I didn't watch the last WSOP ep all that much, given how uninteresting the poor poker player was to that point, but I did also see one guy insta three-bet allin preflop with A5s, and then Devonshire instacalled with TT. The A5s was obviously a terrible play against a guy who had already reraised preflop -- personally I'd much rather be in there with 87s in that spot than Ace-rag -- but even the no-thought-even-for-one-second call with the TT I thought was not such a great play. I would definitely consider calling with the TT there, don't get me wrong, but the key is, I would be thinking and thinking that one over for a good long time before I just pushed in. The instacall with TT is what I would expect in the 50-50 on full tilt (maybe), but not for essentially a $2 million cash decision just near the end of the WSOP.

Omaha is an awesome game, and I definitely think a skilled player can have a solid advantage there. My issue is more that it is also a drawing game, and I just can't stand when I can regularly get it in ahead, but not be ahead enough to either (1) chase out the draws, or (2) reliably prevail over those draws over time. I've never really played it for cash to any great extent, but in a tournament context I've had a bit of success but almost always seem to find myself getting drawn out on eventually before I can survive to the end. I really have no idea how the world's best tournament Omaha players can consistently run deep in these things. Somehow, avoiding the hands against the big draws has to be a key part of the strategy.

Memphis MOJO said...

I play some Omaha-8 and one huge mistake is that players with A-A or K-K play it like it's the nuts. You can tell they've transitioned over from NL hold 'em and haven't figured it out yet.

vijaysaw said...
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