I thought that today we would look at a poker hand. I must state up front that I do not like the way I played the hand at all. I did think at the time that I was gambling and that my chances were fair, but not huge, especially as it was a pot limit Omaha eight-or-better (plo8b) hand where I am normally looking to play large edges. I’ve started playing plo8b again for a couple of reasons: there are games for reasonable stakes again and they seem to be lasting; it’s my best game and my edge in them over the average to good player is very large, based on my slightly biased opinion and many years of results :-) In general it is unusual for me to change games when I am running good…and I was running very good in the 15-30 Party madness, but this form has continued and then some in the plo8b games too.
In the hand in question I’m dealt the reasonable starter of Ad As 4h 3c and even better, get my favourite action with this kind of hand – a raise before me. My tactic, quite simply, is to reraise and hopefully isolate myself against an A2 kind of hand over which I am a nice favourite. Things work out a little strangely however. I end up setting allin THREE other players preflop, for a nice just under $1k pot. Let’s peak under the felt and see what monsters caused this action,
Hero: Ad As 4h 3c
Foe 1: 5c Ah 2c 6c – the original raiser, he then called off his $300 stack to repeated raises
Foe 2: Js 9c Ac 4s – after only calling $4, he then raised his whole $220 stack cold in with this.
Foe 3: Jc 8d 5d Qs - ??? after only calling $4, he then called off his $80 stack with this beast.
So having played God a little, let’s extend our powers and see who is favourite at this point….that’s right FOE 3! Counter-intuitively, I am almost exactly EV neutral – my equity is the same as the probability of my winning, yet Foe 3 has a fairly chunky 30% EV, a nice 5% improvement (yes I know that we haven’t all put in the same money but I’m simplifying here for all (my) sakes :-)
This nicely illustrates my first point, which is that plo8b should not be a big action game preflop, as it is rare to have a massive edge allin at this stage. Interestingly, if I had achieved my expected result and ended up against the hands I would expect to dominate, I would have had nearly a 7% edge, and heads-up against the a2 hand a massive 16% edge. For a transaction that only lasts 30 seconds these are good ROIs.
The flop came a satisfying:
5s Th 2h
So where are we know, EV wise?
I have suddenly shot into an incredible 56% equity position, more than 100% greater than my average chance. I am now sat back, smoking cigars and sipping Courvoisier, whilst my foes are fighting over the scraps from the table. This illustrates my second point beautifully. Plo8b is a game of massive edges, from the flop onwards. Okay I didn’t actually play it that way, but I did say at the start that my play sucked.
Oh, and if you’re interested, the ten paired the turn, the river blanked and I scooped :-)