Monday, September 12, 2005

Learning Curve on Omaha 8OB

I played my first session in Omaha at the casino last week. I'd give myself an overall grade of a C. I missed a couple of bets with my good hands, and I chased a couple of hands too far. Overall I lost $40 over 2 hours.

Surprisingly the thing I struggled the most with, was how to look at my cards. I tried two at a time in the hold'em mode or stacking all 4 on top of each other and picking them up. Sometimes I just looked one at a time. I tried to watch how the others did it, but they seemed to all do it differently.

These are just random things I have figured out finally in Omaha that should help:
1. You need both cards of the same suit to make a flush. This also means that once 3 of the same suit hit the board, the other suits do not matter. In other words, you are not charging someone with a flush draw if there are 3 of the same suit on the board. He already has the flush or he can't get there. That is different from Hold'em
2. Be aware that playing for one side of the pot also opens you up to being quartered which very rarely makes you any money.
3. It probably only takes one or two big pots in a session at Omaha to make money. The casino has a kill pot, if the previous pot is over $50. This means that at least 25% of the hands dealt are kill pots.

I have also had the urge to play more big tournaments lately after reading Harrington's second book. My results have been the same, so basically I have been pissing money away. It is mind boggling to consider how tough it would be to be a pro player that only plays tournaments. Not only do you have to be lucky enough to have your big favorite hands hold up, but invariably you will be in pots where you are only slightly ahead or even behind. Guess what? You need to win most of those too.

My last tournament was a $22 with over 2000 players. I managed to build my stack up to 4000 and was the chip leader at my table by at least 1000. I had hit 3 different sets to build this up. Then everything turned.

I bluffed off a good amount of chips with a busted straight draw and flush draw. I chased about 3 other straights (with the correct odds) and didn't hit one. Finally I am short stacked and after one limper, I move all in with A6 off. Everyone folds past the blinds and the original limper calls and turns over Ace Queen. I hate it when someone limps with good cards. It just seems so stupid to me. So I think I finished in 800 something place.

On Monday 9-12 I played 4-8 Holdem at the Casino during their Monday Night Football promotion. My table was the perfect combination of a couple of tight players that could be pushed around and a bunch of loose passive calling stations. Unfortunately I dug myself a hole and couldn't climb out. A few times I won a couple of hands in a row to get back to even and then the chips just slowly bled away again waiting for a good hand. I lost $40 by the end of the night.

My one highlight was a great laydown. I had won the previous two pots so I had the Kill. I posted $8. A middle position player went all in for $16. The player on the big blind to my right reraised to $24. I looked down and found two Queens. The same hand I won the last pot with.

The player on my right was just having horrible luck. In the 2 hours I had played with him he had at least 4 high pocket pairs beaten by straights or flushes. Plus he always called down with top pair and bad kickers. But the big tell, is that he never raised preflop unless he had a good high pocket pair. Knowing this I decided to just call his raise instead of reraising.

The flop came Ace-7-Jack rainbow. The BB led out. Seeing the Ace I decided to fold. He turned over Ace-10 of diamonds and beat the all in player for the pot.

Now running the play over again in my head, there are other ways to play this hand. I could have reraised preflop. Knowing what he had now, he probably calls and check raises me on the flop. If he caps it preflop I can be pretty sure that I am only playing for set value. If he was really smart he would check the flop and see if I bet. Then he could check raise me. I think if he had AA or KK though he might have just led out.

All in all, my read was not perfect but I did manage to lose the least amount possible.

Another rule I learned the hard way for hold'em. When you flop two pair with Ace little, play it as fast as possible. I slow played my hand into oblivion when the board paired and my kicker sucked. No more check raises, just lead out or raise when it's bet to you. Maybe I can squeeze out the other Ace or someone with the middle or low pair who might hit the set down the road.

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