Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Fierce Creatures

YTD: +$665.90

I thought I would start off the year with an old favourite, PLO8b. One of the things I like about the game is that it enables you to mix both passivity and select aggression, perhaps more so than PLO where pure aggression itself is better rewarded. There is probably only one PLO8b player who plays like it is PLO in the 5-10 game on Stars, and he isn't that effective in ring games.

Hopefully this hand will help illustrate this approach.

PokerStars Pot-Limit Omaha/8, $10 BB (9 handed) converter

CO ($829.30)

Button ($607.60)

SB ($939.50)

BB ($1000)

UTG ($728.25)

UTG+1 ($3271.85)

Hero ($1173.50)

MP2 ($1147)

MP3 ($280)

Preflop: Hero is MP1 with 2c, 9c, As, Td.

UTG calls $10, UTG+1 calls $10, Hero calls $10, 2 folds, CO calls $10, 1 fold, SB completes, BB checks.

This is standard call with a weakish A2 in early position. You want more callers in this spot.

Flop: ($60) 3h, 5c, Th (6 players)

SB checks, BB checks, UTG bets $57, UTG+1 folds, Hero calls $57, CO folds, SB folds, BB folds.

Again I don't mind picking up more callers behind me here. The interesting thing is that this player is a momentum type...he is almost certain to bet again on the turn. Also note my pair of tens alone may be in front.

Turn: ($174) Qs (2 players)

UTG bets $171,

This is a classic PL problem. I may be in front; I certainly have a good draw. Even if I am behind I have some outs to get out of trouble. It is very hard for him to be completely crushing me. Also, I cannot just call here as I know he will bet the river if a blank comes and I will have a tough call with just one pair. I must either fold or raise.

Hero raises to $684, UTG folds.

Final Pot: $1029

Main Pot: $516, won by Hero.

Pot 2: $513, returned to Hero.

When you believe you are either in front, or having a good draw on the turn, but you don't know which way you need to go and will struggle to make a decision on the river, then seriously consider raising if it will put you allin or thereabouts. This is a fairly common situation in all PLO-type games, although this is a "thin" example of it, driven by the fact I knew what kind of player it was.

Faithful readers may notice that this is a flip-side of the "damned if he does, damned if he doesn't" play I talked about in a previous post. Whereas in that example, you were often -EV against nearly all the possible range of hands of your foe, here you are either nicely +EV, or a small dog, coupled with the power of folding equity. A powerful combination.


Belok said...

Just wondering where you learned PLO?
I am fairly good at it...winning at 100$PL on party, whatever that means. Basically my tightness is the only thing making me money right now.

But as far as skill goes... I dont really do much other than push hands that are most likely unbeatable. I tend to not preflop raise, it really doesnt seem effective to me. Especially on calling station partypoker.

Any strategy tips or books (i have PLO8, but couldnt find others) you could suggest would be very helpful


Big Dave D said...


The best books are by Ciaffone...Omaha Poker and another one with a guy called Reuben. They are both worth the investment on Amazon.

The best PLO blog is of course mine ;-)

As to how I learned, I'm a Brit so PLO was my staple cash game from when I started playing, something like 8 years or so ago. Yes poker "in the real world" and not naked in your living room! I foolishly kept away from the game online because I thought my skills would not be transferable, although I always played plo8b.

One of the interesting, even unusual things about PLO is that it can adopt a lot of styles preflop. In the games I play on Stars, I see winning styles that are very very different. In the end, its how you play postflop that matters much much more. A zero raise preflop approach on PP may not be too bad a thing as the crap blind structure there means that it is often a flop all in event, with perhaps only one or two players having 100+ BB stacks. You should start to add some raises, even if they are only in position to your game tho. On Stars you often get several 200-400+ stacks, as well as the rest of the mix. This makes the game more skillful, ultimately. And it also means that a preflop raise doesn't automatically result in a on-the-flop blast off!

Keep posting!



BigChunks said...

Hi Dave,

Do you stick to Stars? Just wondering, as I would like to find a site I can play for real(ish) stakes and also learn a little more about the game. It would also be nice to not loose as much as I usually do playing the 1/2 pot limits games - lol

Usually when I stick my stack in, someone will always call me and suck out. Its realy annoying. I need to either be patent and fold on the river to every bet, or lump it in on the flop with a crappy draw! - lol

all the best,

Tony L.

SimonG. said...

Interesting to see some deep stack element - normally when I muck around with PL it is on a max buy-in site which mainly prevents much post-flop play.

On the odd occasion I have built up a $1000+ stack from a $100 limit buy-in, I find myself thinking along similar lines of trying to predict what needs to happen (or what doesn't need to happen!) on future rounds.

Because of the size of your bet and his remaining stack, there's no decision to make about coming for the rest of it if he pops you back. But how much deeper would the two stacks have to be before you would consider abandoning the hand after the $684 raise? Your hand could be good as you say, and he would have a tough time calling with his typical holding, but you could also find yourself in a spot where you are getting rapidly closer to 2/1 for a draw at a quarter? So how would your approcah have been different (if at all) if you were both very deep in chips?

Aksu said...

And straight to the positive side of YTD.

Congrats for 2004 results too. Very impressive for part time player... or any player!

PLO8 is probably one of the few games where thought's like "I don't mind picking up more callers behind me here" are not that dangerous. For a holdem player like me, it is sometimes hard to adapt for this.

Him betting the turn is crucial for the play as if he checks there is real danger of a checkraise which you could not call anymore. I love it how you take this into consideration in flop allready.


Big Dave D said...

Big Chunks,

Long time no see! Paradise also have some good PLO games of both types, and tend to have at least one 2-4 game of some ilk running there nearly 24/7.



Big Dave D said...


One of the very strange things about plo8b is that raising UTG is very often wrong. Its wrong because you more often want callers against your very strong hands and its wrong because its a very very positional game. too much raising has become a bit of a motif in PLO8b, prolly because of the success of BuklaH, but in ring games the "raise all my good hands" approach is MUCH less successful than the same style as applied to PLO.



Big Dave D said...


Te power of this play is that you are effectively allin on the turn. In a sense you are abdicating having to make a decision on the river, plus trying to get some folding equity on top.

If we both had big stacks, the play would be much more problematic as fear of a reraise which I couldnt call would be a serious factor. Although sometimes, with very very large stacks, and two good players, this "I must have a monster because I wouldnt raise you with anything else" kind of play can start to happen. This is why with two big stacks in a PL game they either play monstrous pots, or tiny ones, but very few inbetween.