Friday, April 25, 2008

“Made Hand Mentality” in PLO; or, He Who Hesitates Is Lost

Just Do ItHad been sitting on a post about Pot Limit Omaha for a couple of weeks now titled “Made Hand Mentality.” Not sure I’m really up to writing it today, but Dr. Pauly’s post from yesterday about PLO got me cogitatin’ about it again.

Then I read Luckbox talking PLO over on Up for Poker this morning and realized those thoughts have now moved right there to the front of the cerebral cortex. Kind of blocking my view of other things, so I guess I’ll have to try to sort it out . . . .

In Pauly’s post he lyrically details the intoxicating action PLO provides. “PLO has four cards,” writes Pauly. “Double the dosage. Double the rush.” A primary factor fueling the adrenaline surge of PLO is the fact that one is constantly playing draws. Or should be, anyway. Pauly says he “crave[s] the inundation of the gambler’s high that overcomes [his] senses when [he] shove[s] all in with a monster draw.” Likes it even more when he has to come from behind to take the hand. That’ll happen in PLO.

The point, of course, is that PLO requires one to recognize draws, especially “monster” ones, and play them correctly. Otherwise you’re lost. The post I had been thinking about writing had occurred to me during a not-so-hot stretch of PLO play where I realized I had momentarily slipped into a fairly detrimental, almost lethargic state at the tables. The problem, I finally decided, was that -- for whatever reason -- I had momentarily developed a case of “made hand mentality,” which can be deadly in PLO.

Nothing terribly profound here. It’s really a matter of timing. One cannot sit around and wait to put in bets after making hands in PLO. Rather, one has to be reasonably comfortable with the idea of betting without having already gotten there with your sets, straights, flushes, or boats. This goes for both pre- and postflop play.

Preflop, it is perfectly mindless to wait until you are dealt A-A-x-x and/or huge starters like J-T-9-8-double suited before putting in raises. Never mind the fact that you become predictable, announcing to the table every time you put in a preflop raise that yr holding something premo. Those hands don’t come that often. So you have to be willing now and then to raise with less than the best, understanding, of course, that the flop is going to determine whether or not yr gonna stay active with the hand.

In PLO, the most lucrative hands tend to be those you make on the turn, not those you make on the flop. I suppose this phenomenon is true as well in Hold ’em, although the big difference there that if you do flop the nuts in HE you’re are relatively less likely to fall behind later in the hand.

It’s vital in PLO to gauge when and in what situations you want to be putting the chips in the middle. You love it when you flop that “monster” or “nuclear” wrap draw plus a flush draw giving you 17, 20, or even more outs. You don’t wait to get there before betting, though. You go ahead put the money in, get the made hand to call you (often he can’t do otherwise), then really get excited when the turn brings one of your outs. The point is, you don’t wait to make the hand first, then hope to get action. In fact, in a lot of instances, you probably don’t want action with your flopped made hand (unless, say, you’ve flopped quads and yr opponent probably has flopped top boat).

Avoiding getting locked into “Made Hand Mentality” is probably also a good policy in other games as well, although it seems to me especially important in PLO -- or “Omadraw,” as some call it. Probably one of the more important ideas to keep in mind when playing this game.

Like I said, wasn’t completely ready to write on this one, but realized I had to before I could move on to anything else . . . . Then again, the timing seems to have been right, since tomorrow you have not one but two opportunities to put yr PLO knowledge into practice.

Tomorrow at noon (Eastern time) there is Event No. 4 of the Ante-Up Intercontinental Poker Series III in 3-D, a $5.00+$0.50 buy-in PLO tourney over on Full Tilt. Then at 4:20 p.m. (Eastern) there's Saturdays with Pauly, a $10+$1 PLO tourney on Stars.

So stop yr dilly-dallyin’ and jump in the PLO pool, why dontcha?

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Blogger Pauly said...

I love nuclear draws.

4/25/2008 2:23 PM  

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