Friday, September 04, 2009

Shovels, Clovers, Valentines, and Squares

Shovels, Clovers, Valentines, and SquaresFerricRamsium -- who is headed this week to Cyprus to help cover the WPT Merit Cyprus Classic along with F-Train -- was telling us in Kyiv about first playing cards with a relative (an uncle?). Whoever it was, this person shunned the usual names of suits, instead assigning the names listed above.

We all instantly decided we preferred those names for the suits, and thus began using them whenever possible.

“Squares” is particularly inspired, I think. Just turn yr head a little. See?

I continue with pot-limit Omaha, almost always sitting at the PLO25 six-handed tables. Had a nice first hand yesterday in which I not only flopped a valentine straight flush, but somehow got paid off by an opponent. Check it out (RSS readers might need to click through to see the replayer):

The PokerGrump may want to say something here about the mighty two-four (his fave hold’em hand), although I think its power is less obviously applicable in PLO.

A nice way to start a session, that. Found myself thinking a little afterwards about the odds of my having flopping a straight flush like that.

In this particular hand, there were two ways for me to get there with my 4h2h. I’d need either Ah3h5h to come, or 3h5h6h.

Let’s see... with four cards in my hand, that makes 48 unknown cards. There are 17,296 possible flops -- (48/3)(47/2)(46/1) -- and only two of them would give me the straight flush. So I think that means we’re looking at a 1 in 8,648 shot here?

I quickly moved on from that bit of trivia, though, and began thinking about how significant suitedness is in PLO. In his first book, Pot-Limit Omaha Poker: The Big Play Strategy, Jeff Hwang has a short section called “The Importance of Being Suited” where he lists a “number of useful purposes” for having even just two suited cards in your hand. In Omaha Poker, Bob Ciaffone also speaks more than once to how vital it is to have suited cards in your hand.

“The importance of being suited even with little cards is obvious,” writes Ciaffone. “Even though you wouldn’t want to play a small flush-draw by itself,” he says, “there are lots of opportunities to play it in conjunction with another reason to be contending for the pot.”

So, says Ciaffone, he might raise preflop with 9-8-7-6 if it were double-suited, whereas he might just limp in if it were not. With the former hand, he can make a straight or flop a big wrap draw, then have a flush draw to back it up as well, which could put him in a situation where he’s freerolling against an opponent who has or is gunning for the same straight. Another small part of the equation is the fact that if he were up against an opponent drawing to a higher flush, he’d have a couple of his opponent’s outs in his hand.

I’ve heard some -- including top pros -- argue that suitedness can be much overrated in hold’em, noting how some players too often talk themselves into gambling with poor starters simply on the basis of their being “sooted.”

I suppose suitedness can be overrated in PLO, too, especially if a player starts getting into the habit of drawing to non-nut hands. But you’re definitely better off overrating suitedness in PLO than underrating it, I’d think. If I’m gonna see a flop in PLO, I always like to see a couple of shovels, clovers, valentines, or squares in my hand.

Have a good weekend, all.

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Blogger BWoP said...

Just give me clovers, and I'll be happy.

Or is it crovers?

9/04/2009 11:28 AM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

I've heard crovers always get there. :)

9/04/2009 11:44 AM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

from FerricRamsium (via twitter):

"FerricRamsium@hardboiledpoker very nice sir. For the record, it was bestselling author Jerry B. Jenkins who coined that. I'm good friends with his son."

9/04/2009 7:47 PM  
Anonymous Robert Dudek said...

Rhombuses (Rhombi?) would be even better.

9/05/2009 7:48 PM  
Anonymous Spaceman said...

A few days ago I had a player stack off to me in a similar way in a 200BB max buy-in game with 2- and 5-cent blinds. I was in the small blind and he was in the big blind, and there was no raising preflop. I flopped the nut straight with a backdoor flush draw, while he had flopped the second nut straight with no redraws. This is why I love PLO. :-)

9/05/2009 8:04 PM  
Blogger Lucypher said...

My 4 year old son calls clubs "trees" and diamonds "kites" when we play.

9/08/2009 10:51 AM  

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