Thursday, November 15, 2007

Life in the Loony Bin (PLO High)

I continue to play mostly PLO high these days. No, not that kind of high (tee hee).

Endured a difficult stretch over the last couple of weeks (aside from one wildly spectacular session), but am on the rebound. Have been observing one fairly obvious rule somewhat dogmatically: never call preflop raises from out of position without a premium hand.

I have a few other guidelines I normally try to follow, but just remaining mindful about this one rule has definitely helped pull me out of that rough patch. A lot. Seems simple enough, right? But you know how PLO goes. Just another coupla quarters. Maybe I’ll flop a boat! Not calling those bets has kept me out of harm’s way trying to build hands from out of position.

Playing so much PLO has also increased the “gamble” in my game. I’ve written here before (many times) about my aversion to risk. Kept me at the limit tables for the longest time. One simply has to take some chances in PLO, though, and I think the game has probably helped broaden my poker-playing personality a bit.

Wanted to share one recent hand of PLO ($25 max.) where I ended up taking a chance. Keep reading to find out how it goes. All I’ll say right now is that someone at the table ended up calling multiple opponents “idiots.”

I was in the big blind for this hand. Had exactly $11.40 at the start, making me one of the short stacks at what had been a very loose table. Kind of a loony bin, in fact, with lotsa crazy ass calls and general buffoonery going on.

I watched as five players each limped in for a quarter apiece and the small blind completed. I had a decent hand -- 6d8cAc7d. In fact, this is precisely one of those "Best Hands To Play" Lyle Berman recommends in Super/System 2. “I like these hands because they are not trouble hands,” writes Berman. “If they’re very good on the flop, play them. If not, throw them away.”

I checked, meaning seven of us had bought a ticket for this here thrill ride. Pot $1.75.

The flop came 9cKc5s. The small blind checked. I thought just a moment, then went ahead and put $1.50 in the middle. Brazen? Perhaps. Can’t claim to have thought it through that fully, but I know I was hoping mainly to mask the fact that I was drawing.

Three players sitting to my left -- Larry, Curly, and Moe -- all quickly called my bet. (I said the game was loose.) It folded back to the small blind -- JerryLewis -- who surprisingly raised the pot ($10.75). Hmmm. That made it about $17 in the middle, so I was looking at around 2-to-1 to call. The Nutty Professor must have a set of kings. Or nines . . . .

Question #1: What would you do with my hand?

You probably guessed what I did. I took a chance and called my remaining $9.65. Larry and Curly both hastily folded, but Moe called, as well. The pot was up to around $39.

The turn brought the Qh, and JerryLewis instapushed his remaining $25 or so. Moe called in a blink. The river was the Th. None of my outs came, and I was clicking on the cashier for more chips.

Question #2: What did Jerry and Moe have?

Jerry showed Ts2h9h9d for the set of nines. Moe showed KdKh2d5h for the higher set. Meaning neither had any draw to speak of -- other than to the boat -- after that flop. Moe scooped what ended up being an $86 pot.

Question #3: Who are the “idiots”?

Actually there’s another question that goes along with that third one. Why “idiots” (plural)? Let’s see . . . Moe flopped the best possible hand, survived the suckout, and took the pot. He can’t be that much of an idiot here, can he? So that leaves JerryLewis and . . . (Shamus looks around) . . .

Hey, wait a minute!?

Actually it was Larry -- who folded when things got serious there on the flop -- who saw fit to call (I assume) both me and JerryLewis idiots. “I folded fives,” he added proudly. I wanted to type “good for you,” but resisted.

Can’t say I disagree with the epithet’s application to my neighbor in the blinds. Jerry’s decision to push on the turn with his middle set (with a possible straight on the board) seems pretty damn sketchy. But what about my play?

If I’m reading correctly, that flop gave me no less than 16 outs to the nuts -- any club (9), 3 more eights, the other 2 sevens, and the other 2 sixes. I was fairly certain JerryLewis had a set, and when Moe called, I assumed he either had a set, too, or perhaps some big bad wrap draw as well. Run this hand through the CardPlayer Omaha calculator and it turns out I’m almost 55% to win on that flop against the set of kings (38%) and set of nines (6%).

Get the feeling Larry finds it necessary to call people idiots a lot. Must be the company he keeps.

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7 Comments:

Blogger loser64 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11/15/2007 8:08 PM  
Blogger loser64 said...

Let me in that game... I agree with your play, but I get scared all I do is miss draws, so it seems. It was the right play but one that will leave you talking to yourself.

11/15/2007 8:09 PM  
Blogger Erwin Blonk said...

How do you go about your stack? I love the short-stack play Rolf Slotboom describes in his book. I made a few adaptions and I need to perfect it but I have never been able to break even on the slightly positive side. So I'll go on with it. Downside is that it is for 9 or 10 seater games, which are non-existent past the low limit games.

11/16/2007 3:35 AM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Have been mostly sitting down with 40 BB at these ($10) and working from there. (Although I probably play a more sound game once I've built up some chips.) I need to read Slotboom.

11/16/2007 7:35 PM  
Blogger Erwin Blonk said...

By the break even comment I meant to say that right now I'm breaking ever since september, when I got my PT and adopted my new strategy. Before that I was on the losing end.
Slotboom's 'Secrets of professional pot limit Omaha' is about this strategy and the adjustments for 6 handed or when you grow your stack, or when you're at a table with other short-stackers.
Good about the book is that it is very in-depth, downside is that, as he says himself, it is his personal strategy. But a poker player should be able to make adaptions in any situation and overall I highly recommend it.

Quick tip the book: full ring 20 big bets, 6 handed 37-43BB is the way to go, depending in preflop raising tendencies of the table, with 37 for a tighter and 43 for a looser table.

You want the maniac to your right to make sure the pot is (re-)raised when you have a good hand, so you can put in all your chips preflop. After that you hope the others go nuts and try to put each other out of the pot (they do the betting for you, so to speak) so you end heads-up or 2 opponents because you go for the kind of hands thar do well heads-up.
You can also limp-reraise if you have a true maniac in the pot.
If you stack is doubled you can use minimum raises, especially on a limpers table to build the pot. When you've acquired serious money (50 or more big bets), leave the table, or if you can cover most players, change to big stack play.

These are the basics :)

11/17/2007 6:08 AM  
Blogger Irongirl01 said...

hey shamus!!

A few months back you mentioned you had gotten ahold of the ESPN pay per view 2007 final table in all its glory. Is it available on dvd or for purchase anywhere that you know of?

Would love to lay my hands on a copy of the whole broadcast as a surprise

11/17/2007 3:32 PM  
Blogger Irongirl01 said...

ps.. you may want to email me any info at Lchrist4@nycap.rr.com rather then leave a blog post... Then it wont be a surprise for its intended!!

11/17/2007 3:33 PM  

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