Thursday, May 29, 2008

Omadraw, and the Mookie

Man I had my most fun night of poker in a few weeks last night. These last few days, in fact, I have been consistently winning more than I'm losing, and I'm doing it at tournaments, sitngos and in various forays into the Omacash tables. 1-2 6max PLO and especially O8 are my latest fad games, and I am enjoying them immensely.

It's fun getting into a new game with some poker friends together. Now, I've been into Omaha for some time, you guys know that. I've been saying for the better part of a year now that PLO is actually my #1 favorite poker game to play in tournament format. Yes nlh would be second, but PLO is the game for me when it comes to donking it up mtt style. But lately, Goat has been playing more and more Omaha for I believe the first time in his life, and I can't help but let myself get sucked in for the ride.

Omaha is awesome. I mean, if you don't know the rules, you will get creamed, but if you are a solid poker play and "get" the game, it can be a real blast. Anyone who has played a lot of PLH and PLO will know this is true, but PLO is a much bigger game than the same-blind structure of a PLH game right next to it. Omaha is just a bigger game, betting-wise, than holdem at the same limits, by nature of the number of nut hands made and the amount of draws that can be chased. Pot-limit is the shizznit and it's the only form of Omaha (high or high-low) I ever try to play. There are good reasons for this.

Limit Omaha high is utter and complete bullshit. With four cards in everyone's hand, the number of draws in this game is sick. On the flop especially with two cards to come, you're getting frigging 10 to 1 or better to call in most situations in most games. 10 to 1 or better to call? You might as well chase with every stoopid flush draw (even 6-high) and two-pair draw (i.e., just a pair of 5s or something) for at least one bet on the flop. Everybody might as well chase on the flop. It is a truly dumb game, and only morons play that game over the long term I would guess.

Conversely, no-limit Omaha high is also not quite the right formulation for the game IMO. In nlh it makes some good sense to have no-limit betting because there are so many situations where you can have the current nuts and be a huge, huge favorite to win the pot. Pair over pair allin preflop, you are roughly 82%. Get called allin on the flop by just two overcards like AK, and you are 75% to win the hand. Get in before the flop dominating someone like AQ vs. A8, and you are what, 75 to 80% again? There are plenty of opportunities early on in hands where the strongest players should want to be able to get all your chips in because you can be a prohibitive favorite to win the money in the middle at that point in time, even on the early streets of a given hand.

In Omaha high, however, this is really not the case at all. As any experienced Omaha player knows, most hands are not more than a 60% favorite or so over most other hands before the flop. Again, with four cards to choose from underneath, that makes really for 6 different two-card holdem hands to play on the flop, turn and river at the same time in every single hand, and it is simply very difficult math-wise to build up a huge edge to win over another four-card hand before the flop over that range of six separate two-card holdem hands playing at the same time for both of you. Even after the flop, in Omaha most draws worth playing have at least 30-40% chances of filling by the river, and many draws are even favorites over things like flopped sets and flopped straights, which may often represent the current nuts in the hand and yet in extreme examples can be behind quite a bit to the biggest Omaha draws with two cards to come.

So with how much harder it is to be significantly ahead both before and after the flop in Omaha, it stands to reason to me that this is not a game over time that any player should want to be playing in no-limit format. It is just too easy to get it all in with the literal nuts on the flop, and yet when the cards are flipped, you are at best racing and often times a substantial dog to win the hand through all nine cards. This is just the nature of the game in Omaha, and that is why I prefer the pot-limit format almost exclusively when I play Omaha, either in high-low or the straight high format. When you can bet the size of the pot on the flop, it effectively prices out all but the largest draws (which aren't going out anyways no matter what structure you use to the betting) or the lesser draws in multiplayer situations, both of which are ok with me and frankly are not much different from no-limit structured games. But the doofus with the regular old oesd or nut flush draw, 8- or 9-outer type on the flop in Omaha, that guy can't effectively call your pot-sized bet on the flop, knowing that you're going to pot him again on the turn if he does not fill his draw. That's why PLO is such a great fucking game to play and to get really good at.

Anyways, I've had some success at PLO cash lately, but over the past week or so I have actually been playing and winning at O8 cash. Omaha 8 or Better, 1-2 pot limit. 6-max of course because I'm a Man. I never thought I would willingly play any form of O8 for actual cash money, but for whatever reason I've been at it and I've been really enjoying it lately. Of course the players are so awful it is funny, they play horrifically poor starting cards and play them poorly even when they hit the board, so that is always nice. Those of you who are solid split-pot poker players would notice right away that a good half or more of the players at this level simply do not understand the basics of split-pot poker, the whole not raising heads-up at the end with just the nut low sort of stuff, the whole you're-obviously-getting-quartered thing, etc. So with this much fishiness sitting at basically every shorthanded low-limit O8 table on full tilt, you can open up a little bit and play some of the A3- and high-card hands and try to hit a flop and stizznack someone. Which they let you do quite a bit with those second-best hands and those 3/4 - 1/4 pots.

OK, enough about this 4-card bingo shiznit, back to nlh for a minute. Wednesday night I cashed in the Mookie yet again, my third cash in the last four weeks according to faboo tournament host Mookie himself in the girly. This time I busted in 11th place after at one point being in second place out of I think 17 players remaining, and once again I busted restealing with 97s. Of course, I got called by KTs. King fucking Ten. The ultimate donkey hand, the single most dominatable hand there is to instacall with against someone who has just put you allin. I mean, just think how hard this guy was trying to give me the courtesy double-up there. That is final-two-tables Mookie tournament poker right there, you gotta love it. The ole' KTs allin instacall. How could KT not be ahead, right? And it was sooooooooted.

I should not complain too much though. Earlier on in the Mookie this week I laid a stoopidsick runner-runner beat on someone, I believe for all my chips. Got allin behind on the flop, then hit runner-runner hearts out of nowhere to nail the improbable flush. And what's more, I was down from the 3000-chip starting stack to a measly 300 chips or something just a few minutes in to the tournament this week as it is, only to come back to over 30,000 chips at one point when down to two tables remaining. But how I got to 300 chips is your standard story. I made TPTK with big slick on a King-high flop, and eventually blew off almost my entire stack with bets on multiple streets before my opponent flipped up his pocket pair for the flopped set.

The funny thing is, the board was not coordinated at all, so when he smooth called my bet on the flop and again on the turn, it was obvious as shit that he had a set, two pair or something that beat just top pair in some way. And yet, I simply could not fold TPTK with AK. Not in the Mookie, not with all the donkshits who will double you early in this thing with top pair second kicker, second pair Ace kicker, just an inside straight draw, any two soooted cards, you name it. I knew I was beat, but the solid blonkament players out there will recognize this feeling I am describing 100%. Obviously if this were a normal opponent, you're beat. It's clear as day. And yet, this is the Mookie, these are no "normal" opponents, o9only abject cocknoses as you know. So you end up calling or betting through your stack down through the river, only to find you are a victim of the fact that sometimes even donkleshits pick up big hands and hit big flops. It happens, with some regularity in the blonkaments. If you're a solid player, you know exactly what I'm talking about. And if you're not, well, don't worry about what I'm talking about here, it's all just a joke I guess.

Btw, jeciimd folded pocket Kings preflop -- on purpose -- in the Mookie this week for at least the second time he's done this in a blonkament in the past year or so. If the man ever blogged, I would encourage you all to go to his site and let him have it for that kind of decision. Of course he would have been up against AK and TT in that particular hand, and would probably be sitting on his much sought-after BBT3 Tournament of Champions seat, having won his first Mookie this week like I won the Skills event way back when to play my own way in. And speaking of which, Thursday night at 9pm ET of course is the Riverchasers, the last RC of the BBT3, and the second-to-last of the remaining BBT events in total. I will not be there for the Riverchasers this evening, as Lost is running its much-anticipated two-hour shocking Season 4 finale starting at the same time as the tournament, but I expect the crowds will swell as everyone takes their last crack at winning their way in to the ToC. And congrats to Tuscaloosa Johnny for taking down the Mook this week, securing his donkiness forever with the big win in addition to even further reducing the maximum number of players in the ToC to I think maybe as low as 47 by this point in time. I'll have to verify that last one.

Best of luck to everyone tonight at the RC, and let's please hope that Lost does not truly jump the shark like the Lost-haters have been proclaiming all week ever since the spoilers hit the intertubes a few days ago.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

All my friends go busto long-term in Omadraw.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

1:40 AM  
Blogger Drizztdj said...

Variance is a bitch with Omadraw.

Remember that when you have your first 10+ buy in swing if you can handle it.

Some of the best PL/NL Omaha players will tell you about their 30+ buy in downswings.

3:14 AM  

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