Looking at my Poker Tracker stats, it appears I’m playing almost exactly 150 hands per hour. That compares to about 45-50 hands per hour at a regular PLO table. And while I’m not going to get into win rates too specifically, let’s just say there’s been a similarly significant jump there, too, when compared to the regular ring games. (Insert smiley face here.)
As others have noted, the game is such that it is generally difficult to “get a read” on opponents in the way one might do in a regular ring game. In particular, since with each new hand players have been reassembled around a new table, there is no way of knowing what happened with everyone else just prior to the current hand being dealt. Thus, I don’t know if the guy coming out raising pot from UTG just suffered a horrendous beat and is now tilting, or if he’s a tight player who almost never raises from early position without aces, double-suited.
However, it is not impossible to get reads on players, especially when the pool is small enough that you see the same names coming back again and again. When I’ve been playing the PLO games, the player pool has been as big as 170 or so, and as small as 65, with usually about 20% of the players multi-tabling -- that is, playing two, three, or four tables. (I know the hold’em player pools have generally been much larger.) Thus, I have had sessions where I’ve encountered players several times and thus eventually come to develop some ideas about them from having seen them play previous hands. Gotta pay attention, though.
My sense is the software is assigning the various seat positions fairly enough, even though there have been times when it seems like I’m in the blinds more often than I should be. Again, looking at Poker Tracker, it appears I am, in fact, moving around the table just fine, occupying each of the positions roughly the same percentage of the time I would be in the regular ring game.
There’s one other aspect of the game that took a while for me to figure out. If you’ve played Rush Poker you know that once you fold a hand you are immediately moved from the table and start a new hand, meaning you don’t get to see the previous hand play out among the players still involved. However, the completed hand does make it into your personal hand histories, so if you open up that “Last Hand” window it isn’t too hard to go back and see how the story ended.
Speaking of going back and examining unfinished stories, this weekend I also became interested in this thread over on Two Plus Two regarding the UltimateBet cheating scandal and its aftermath, the one titled “How goes Sebok's hunt for the real (UB) killers?” Some interesting info starting to pop up in that one, including the contributions of Haley Hintze regarding both ownership issues and, more recently, the hand histories Barry Greenstein received from UB.
A month ago I shared the story of how -- after a full year of emails -- I finally received some of my hand histories from UltimateBet. I say “some” because in the end I was only sent roughly two-thirds of the hands I actually played on the site (along with a number of hands in which I was sitting out). As I mentioned then, I stuck to the small stakes, meaning I did not run up against any of the cheating accounts in the hands I played on the site (as far as I know).
Anyhow, Haley has written further about Greenstein’s hand histories on her blog, noting in particular a couple of curious plays made by the cheating account when up against the Bear. You can look at Greenstein’s hand histories, too, if you want, as they’ve been posted over on PokerRoad.
By the way, the scattered, difficult-to-parse text files Greenstein received are in the same user-unfriendly format in which my HHs were sent to me. One difference, though -- Haley points out how some of the hands from particular sessions appear to be missing from Greenstein’s histories (i.e., there are some gaps in the numbering sequences). I noticed no such gaps in any of my sessions, although as I said before, I had a couple of sessions for which the hand histories were not sent to me.
Like I say, if you’re interested in that story, check out Haley’s most recent blog post as well as the Two Plus Two thread for more.
Meanwhile, let me remind you that the World Blogger Championship of Online Poker series begins this afternoon on PokerStars with the first event, a no-limit hold’em freeroll. (For more on that, see here.) I’m planning to be there, although I doubt I’m gonna try to blog and/or tweet much as I play. NLHE ain’t my usual game, so I might need my whole jingle brain to focus on the tourney. Good luck to you, if yr playin’ too.