A total of 55 players ponied up the $5.00+$0.50, meaning seven places paid. Now I’m only casually familiar with Pot Limit Omaha High-Low. At one time I played a lot of Omaha -- high only -- but it has been over a year, really, since I gave the game much thought. Thus, as the first round of hands was dealt, I was predictably cautious. Indeed, I folded eight of the first nine hands, and in the one I played I had only completed the small blind.
Then came the tenth hand when I was dealt in early position and decided to limp in. The flop came , giving me the nut straight (and ruling out any low possibilities). A player before me bet out 100 chips into the 160-chip pot. I made an almost-pot-sized-raise to 250, and only he called. The turn was the . Another flush draw and an increased chance my opponent now also had made Broadway. I bet 320, just under half the pot, and he called. The river was a meaningless . I went all-in with my last 830 and after thinking a bit my opponent folded.
Nice, I thought. Wait a minute! What an idiot I am! How dumb not to value bet the absolute nuts there on the river! If I had bet less I might have been paid off with two pair or a set. (Indeed, with only 830 chips remaining himself, how else could my opponent call me there unless he held the nuts as well?) After I was done beating myself up, I felt okay about having gotten up to 2,170 here by the middle of the second level.
Not much interesting happened for me for the next few dozen hands. I did claim an orphaned pot of 480 when I bet the pot on the turn holding nothing but King-high and a gutshot draw. Then, around 35 minutes into the tourney, the tables were redrawn as we had gotten down to 45 left. Wouldn’t you know I had the current chip leader on my left -- “willhopper” or Chris Cosenza, the co-host of Ante Up! Don’t know how he’d done it, but this self-professed hater of split-pot games was already up near 6,000 in chips.
I continued to lay low for a few hands, then had a curious blind-vs.-blind encounter with "willhopper." I’m not sure either of us played this one too well, frankly. Two players limped, I completed from the SB with , and Chris called from the BB. The flop came , giving me the nut low (but not much else). Chris bet the pot (320), the other two folded, and I called. The turn was the . Now I had a (modest-to-crummy nine-high) flush draw for the high. I considered whether I might be in danger of getting quartered here, then somewhat recklessly went ahead and bet 880 (into the pot of 960), leaving me with only 1,070 chips. Wasn’t too thrilled when Chris very quickly called me. The river -- -- stymied us both into checking. I ended up taking the low all to myself, but Chris made the high with his . With the big stack, I could understand his steal attempt on the flop, but I don’t know about his turn call. Of course, I don’t know about my turn bet, either. Lucky for him, though, King-high was good enough. (He typed “lol,” acknowledging it had been a weird hand.)
Shortly before the first break, “zerbet” (a frequent contributor to the Card Club Forums) typed “they should call this game omadraw.” "LOL"'s all around. I managed to scoop a couple of small pots before we hit the first break. I was up to 3,591, actually sitting in 7th place out of the 35 left. (That crazy gnome “willhopper” remained in first with around 6,300.)
As the second hour progressed I started to gain more confidence with regard to how my game compared to that of others. At level 10 I luckboxed my way into knocking out a short-stacked “Offdeadline” -- a.k.a., Scott Long, the other co-host of Ante Up! -- when I rivered a straight and then got him all-in. (Picked up five AIPS player-of-the-year points for that bounty.) I continued to be very selective with my hands and betting, and held steady near the bottom of the top ten chipwise. As we approached the second break, I noticed we had gotten down to just 13 players. I was in right in the middle of the pack in sixth place and with 6,444 chips. That was the average stack at the time, although the leader had vaulted to nearly 20,000 chips (over twice what Chris had in second place). I was starting to believe I might weasel my way to the money here somehow . . . .
At the second break, there were 11 players left. I was still in sixth. I felt if I could make it to the final table, I could then relax as the blinds wouldn’t come around as fast as they were when we were playing five- and six-handed. The short stack at our table raised a pot preflop and I decided to reraise with my . He called all-in, and when the board came A499A I had scooped and we were down to ten. Somebody on the rail typed “that was a babaghanoush special!” Forget what I said about PLO8 being boring . . . this was turning out to be some big fun.
Two hands later we were down to nine. Four hands after that we were down to eight -- bubble time. There were three players with smaller stacks than mine (about 8,000), but I wasn’t nearly in the comfort zone of the chip leaders (all three around 17,000). Only took two more hands for one of those players to bust, and we were in the money! Shortly after that I found myself in a huge hand against one of the leaders in which I was dealt , got it all-in on a flop of Q55, and ending up scooping. A couple of hands later I was the friggin' chip leader with a shade over 20,000 chips. Unreal.
The smaller stacks started to fall, and as we approached three hours of play I found myself one of the last three players standing. We jockeyed around a bit -- I was clearly the least aggressive of the three of us -- and soon I was sitting with about 16,000 in chips while both of them had around 33,000. I picked up on the button and just limped, half-expecting a raise from one of the blinds that I could then reraise. No raise came, though, so the three of us saw a flop of .
Both blinds checked to me. I liked this flop -- a solid low draw, top pair/top kicker, and the nut flush draw as well. I bet 3,600. The small blind quickly raised it to 14,400. The BB folded. I paused, typed “I’m playin’,” and pushed the rest of my chips into the pot.
The SB held . He’d flopped a set, but I still felt great about my chances. He’s drawing dead to the low, and I’ve got ways to pick up that high as well. According to the CardPlayer Omaha calculator, I’m 27% to scoop, 28% to get the high, and 57% to get the low. At first glance, the turn appeared to be a bad card -- -- although quickly I realized that was actually a terrific card for me. I have my flush and he still only has a set. If the low comes, I take it; if not, I still can scoop. The calculator says now I’m 80% to scoop. The only thing that can save him would be for the board to pair.
Alas, the river was the , and I was out in third. The winner of the hand -- who eventually won the tourney & the coveted AIPS banana -- said afterwards he’d liked my hand better than his heading to that turn and river. If I had to go out, this was the best way to go -- having the best of it and getting sucked out. Omadraw, indeed.
Needless to say, I’m glad I took that shot. What a great night. What did I get? Landing the bronze earned me $41.25 (minus the entry fee), 46.25 AIPS POY points, and a whole hell of a lot of fun. Big thanks to the Ante Up! guys for coming up with this swell AIPS ideer. Now I think I’ll go check the paper to see who won that Cardinals-Mets game last night . . . .
Image: Ante Up!