Had the button and at this table the current big stack. One empty seat meant we were five-handed. I watched as the player under the gun limped and the next folded, putting the action on me. The previous orbits had proven my four opponents were mostly just playing their cards, and usually only if they were especially pretty-lookin’. In other words, there’d been little funny business from any of ’em. Lotsa limpin’. Bets meant made hands. Calls meant draws. And folds all else.
Was one of those “probably-raising-no-matter-what” kind of spots. But wait. What have I been dealt? Four kings.
I currently have about 85,000 hands or so loaded into PokerTracker Omaha -- by no means a complete run, but I’ve been lazy about loading previous years’ worth of hands in there. A quick look shows that in all of those hands, I’ve started with four cards of the same rank exactly once before -- four sixes. In that hand, I folded (promptly, I imagine) to a raise.
Poking around online, I see the odds of being dealt four cards of the same rank in Omaha are apparently a bit worse than 1 in 20,000. Not surprising, then, that there isn’t a lot of discussion about how to play such a hand. No need, of course -- most PLO players know it’s a stinker. Indeed, I’d imagine anyone foolhardy enough to create a “hand rankings” chart of the 16,432 distinct hands in PLO would probably be putting those 13 “four of a kind” hands right at the very bottom of the sucker.
I mean, really, it’s a truly miserable hand. Sort of like a used car with a couple of hundred thousand miles already on it. Not worth much, and can only depreciate further. Can’t make a straight. Or a flush. The community cards could turn the hand into two pair or a full house, I suppose, but that’s just silly talk.
I have a fuzzy memory of Bob Ciaffone talking about the prospect of being dealt four aces in Omaha. I believe it comes up in his Omaha Poker, and I’m pretty sure he was referring to Omaha/8, in which having an ace among your starting four is more crucial than in PLO. Seems like Ciaffone said something about wanting to raise that hand to see if he could force out everyone, since he’d know they couldn’t have aces. (Been searching the book and haven’t found the passage.)
Like I say, I was about to quit. And being up a bit, my capacity for mischief had been increased a touch. So, with full awareness of how loony it was to do so, I decided to play my four kings. Thinking I might at least knock out the blinds, I raised pot. But both blinds came along, as did the original limper.
Four kings. Four players. Pot four-forty. I smiled and shook my head, quietly telling myself “you deserved that.”
But then the flop came . And all three checked. The action on me, I realized that’s about the best flop I could have hoped for. So I bet. (RSSers, you might need to click through.)
The joker wins.