Sunday, August 22, 2004

Apologia BigDaveDous

YTD: +$ 47924.00

It’s nice to see that my PLO8b hand has sparked some debate. My initial thought was to show that you didn’t have to just play A-B-C poker to win. Unfortunately, my hand was so far out to right field that I had run out of letters and was getting stuck into the numbers!

On reflection, I don’t like that initial preflop call. However the hand does illustrate some valuable principles, such as how to think ahead and plan your moves and bluffs through the streets, as well as constructing a strategy that is game theory balanced, so that you are not leaking away too much information to those hopefully few players who are paying attention.

Tally raised an interesting point in the comments – why bother with these kind of plays when PLO8b players often simply hand you their money with no risk? Well this is certainly true in the initial stages of a PLO8b game evolution; for more on this see:

But there is a kind of temporary stage, certainly when the stakes become meaningful, where players somewhat wise up but still make fatal errors. By adjusting your game you can then take advantage of this better-but-still-bad play. What kinds of errors are they making? They fall into four areas.

1. Love and Marriage – AAxx is routinely taken to the river, regardless of the board or danger.

2. Hi Fear Syndrome
– If there is a high out there, someone has it. This is a common problem of tight PLO players switching game. I can think of a player on Stars who plays the PLO8b all the way up to 5-10 who is at best mediocre, but makes money just because people don’t look him up when high hands come.

3. I’m Low Therefore I Am – All nut lows must be played. All nut low draws must be played also, regardless of action and counterfeit protection.

4. All Draws are Created Equal – Drawing to nut highs on the turn is debatable in PLO; when there is a low present in PLO8b it is financial suicide, unless you are getting 8 to 1 ish on the bet!

If all you are playing is freerolls and 3/4s you will simply be leaving a lot of money on the table that could rightfully be yours if your foes are making these kind of errors. In B&M, this stage can last quite a while, especially if it is dealers choice where the harshness of PLO8b is mitigated by the kindness of more wilder games. Online it doesn’t last long at all and you have to be careful that you don’t take your looser game into one that has finally gone to a terminal rockfest stage. As an example, although it briefly burnt bright, all the high and medium stakes PLO8b has again gone from Stars. Thank god for PLO! For now :-)


Anonymous said...

Hi Dave

Thanks for more excellent info. I have a confession to make though - I have High Fear Syndrome, LOL. But its based very much on experience. The games I play in(usually $1 or $2 bb) are very loose, and on average there might be 5 players to see a flop. I've found that whenever I try to steal the pot on the flop I get looked up. Suited flop - someone calls with a baby flush, trips or a low draw. Straight flop - they call with trips or 2 pair or a flush draw. Boat flop - someone has at least trips, a flush draw or again the low draw (even backdoor). Or worse, you get checkraised.

A combination of very loose players and an average of maybe 20 cards out against me means the bluff success rate is very low. Which isn't to say I never do it, just that I'm very selective about when.

Interestingly enough, considering you say you rarely raise preflop, they seem to give me more respect when I've done that, whatever the flop.

Best wishes,

PS Re the Stars game, there were plenty of $2/4 PLO8 games on over the weekend and the odd $3/6 still appears too. And the smaller games (my level) can be crazy - I won a $500 pot in the 50c/$1 last night - tho on 2nd thoughts, please stay away! ;o)

Big Dave D said...

I do raise a lot, just only in position. I also find that players are less likely to believe you've hit the flop as the limits go I said they either put you on AA or A2 whichever puts them infront :) On the high hand thing, it is something that comes with experience and understanding of table composition. Clearly if there are 5 callers this isnt a good place to make a move, or pick off a move from someone else. But most of the plo8b I've played recently has probably seen 3 way action in a raised pot most of the time.

Midweek the plo8b games are dead on Stars. As I type only 1-2 is available. The 5-10 and 3-6 run almost never. As I have said b4, the big games simply cannot last.