What is winning?
Is it that beautiful pause, the magical disappearance of your opponents’ hands into the ether, the electronic ecstasy of the chips swooping towards your pixelated player?
Winning is decisions.
PLO is not limit holdem. In limit holdem, a good player crafts out his edge on every hand, tweaking the most out of every theoretical EV, especially in small pots, where the odds can be more easily manipulated and the number of foes is fewer. Limit holdem is about every hand.
Speak loudly, carry a bigger stick, and hit often.
I mostly ignore the small pots.
Sure, if “no one” wants them, then I will take them, tyvm. But I am not trying to turn a small pot into a big one unless I have a very powerful hand. And if someone wants to bluff me in these spots, fine. Bully me, that’s ok too.
And if I don’t feel that the situation is right, I am happy to pass draws that it seems everyone else is happy to get broke with.
So where does a PLO player make his profit?
If the pot is raised, or it is multiway, or there is some action then the soft speaking stops. Here is where I can make decisions where the “rightness” of them really matters. Now we are in the territory of the big stick.
Whereas before I was passing nut flush draws with a yawn and a shrug, now I am raising them even though I know I am against trips and there is a weaker flush draw out there too. Or calling a $1000 allin in a massively raised pot with just a middle pin draw. Or raising a big stack when he bets out when a straight hits the turn, even though I just have the trips. The big stick of key decision making is striking out.
All of these hands really happened my friends, and in each and every one of them, win or lose, and some were certainly lost, I was happy with the decision.
Winning may be about decisions, but what kind of decisions? Soft ones, and sometimes brutal ones. It’s where you wield the big stick that makes the difference.