Saturday, November 04, 2006

Humble Pie

D'OH!Been goofin’ in some low-dollar pot limit Omaha High/Low SNGs lately. Can be a bit of a freakshow at times, especially when hold ’em players wander in to give one a go without necessarily reviewing the rules first.

Was in one last week (a $5.00+$0.50, 18-player one on Poker Stars). I was UTG the first hand and folded. Then I watched five players limp in as the action moved around the table to the BB. We all found ourselves waiting a minute or so while the BB timed out. During the wait, one of the limpers -- I’ll call him “Harry Holdem” -- typed “it ain’t hold ‘em . . . lol,” commenting on all the limping. Indeed, one sees a lot more limping in PLO tourneys -- esp. early on -- than in NLH.

I didn’t think too much about the comment until about a half dozen hands later when I saw Harry show down a hand of Kd5d2d8s on a board with two diamonds, then type “so flushes don’t count here?” Hmm, the table collectively thought. A beat later one joker typed “no” and poor Harry responded with a “ty.”

A couple more hands went by, then the misinformer added that “quad jacks” also didn’t count. “I am serious here,” asked Harry Holdem. “I have never seen this played.” No one volunteered to help.

Then came a hand where Harry found himself in an unraised pot when the flop came Ah5s5d. Harry open bet the minumum (30 chips) and got two callers. The turn was the Td, and he again open bet, this time putting in a pot-sized bet of 120. Again, he got two callers. The river was the Js, and he again bet the pot -- 630 chips. This time one of his callers pushed all-in (about 1,000 total) and he called. The river raiser had an ace and a five -- he had flopped a boat.

What did Harry have? 7c3d4d6s. Clearly he thought he had a straight, but in actuality all he had were a pair of fives.

We were all a little dismayed when during the next hand he typed “OK you can have my blinds” and sat out for the remainder of the tourney. In retrospect, the “quad jacks” joke -- though funny -- was probably a bad idea . . . clearly the joker had “tapped the aquarium” (so to speak) and helped to scare our fish away.

I didn’t do too well in this one. In fact, I ended up bouncing out in 13th (even before Harry had finally blinded out!). After picking up a few small pots early, I was forced to endure a stretch of poor holdings and missed flops, finally finding myself midway through Level 5 with only 1150 chips remaining. The blinds were at 75/150, so I was down to a situation where I was likely going to be all-in if I wanted to challenge for a pot. So when I picked up AdQsAs7c in middle position, I figured this would probably be the one. I made a pot-sized raise preflop (to 525) and got one caller (the small blind). So with a pot of 1200 -- and only 625 chips left in my stack -- the two of us saw the flop: 7dAh4d.

I had trip aces, though there was a low on the board (and I wasn’t getting any part of it). My opponent checked and I hastily put the rest of my chips in the middle, hoping to scare him away. He had a comfortably large stack, though, and it only took him a second to call. He turned over 4c2d8cTh. I wasn’t surprised to see he had a low hand. (He might’ve at least wondered whether I might have a better low there, actually.) But he had no high at all to speak of (just a pair of fours), and no obvious draws either. I exhaled, expecting us to split the pot. I watched as the turn and river cards floated down from the top of the screen . . . . . 3c . . . . . 5c. Before I could even comprehend what those cards meant, I saw the chips slide his way. Damned if he didn’t make a runner-runner wheel, scooping the pot with the nut-low and a straight!

Oh, well. Nothing you can do about bad luck. That was my first response.

But wait. There’s more here than crummy luck. There’s some crummy play, as well. By yours truly.

When I pushed on the flop, I knew for a fact that I only had a chance at winning half the pot should we end up showing it down. Indeed, even though I wanted to scare him out, I really expected he would call with any low and a draw to the high. (I was surprised he didn’t have a real draw to the high, but even so, his call wasn’t necessarily a bad move on his part.)

However, my not waiting until the turn to put my chips in was a mistake, I believe. Forget about what the turn card actually was (since he probably would’ve called me, anyway). By going all-in on the flop, I essentially gave my opponent two cards for the price of one. If I wait to the turn to push, he’s got to have more than just a modest qualifying low (that may or may not win) and a tenuous draw to the high (which again, may or may not win).

Really, I made two fundamental errors of Omaha High/Low here: playing for half the pot & not giving myself any kind of fold equity beyond the flop. Basic stuff, really.

All of which is to say, as it turned out, Harry Holdem wasn’t the only one served a slice of humble pie that day.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if he registered by accident or if he was just a bit stupid and thought it was a fancy game of Hold'em! LMAO!

11/06/2006 12:01 PM  

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