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Opposites

How good is my pot-limit omaha? That's the question Mr. Stewart Reuben posed as I cracked open his aptly-titled book "How Good is Your Pot-Limit Omaha?
". The book is presented as series of hand quizzes of various PLO games that Reuben played over the years or simply made up to demonstrate certain key points. At each step of the way during a hand, the reader is given the choices of passing, checking, or betting and raising various amounts of money. Each answer is then graded by Reuben and the reader's performance is evaluated based on the overall hand score.

So how good is my pot-limit omaha? Pretty average. Well, poor to average...more mediocre than stellar with a dash of ugly thrown in...

In all fairness, even Reuben himself did not score perfectly on all the hands he presents in his book. Much of my difficulty in adequately tackling the scored hands arise from many a couple factors:

  1. I'm a PLO n00b. I have difficulty assessing where I am in the hand when facing aggressive action from other players.
  2. Reuben is a seasoned PLO veteran and a high-stakes live player. Much of his advice and tactics seem fit for experienced and higher-stakes players.  However, I foresee a world of financial hurt were I to try and apply his lessons at the online micro-stakes game given my current level of PLO proficiency and that of my opponents.
I find it rather funny that I tend to score well in Reuben's hand quizzes only by selecting choices that represent the polar opposites to my natural PLO inclinations and instincts. Would this bizarro form of PLO allow me to beat the high stakes games tomorrow? Probably not but it'd be an interesting experiment. I could be the "opposite" George Costanza of the poker world!



Thankfully, I'm not playing high-stakes PLO. The decisions that I face on any given hand are usually pretty simple. Any difficult situations that arise are typically my fault caused by poor pre-flop decisions, poor flop decisions, or poor turn decisions. And let's not forget those -EV river decisions as well.

Here's a hand that I played the other night. I ended up getting into trouble with this hand; I'll try to point out where I believe I made my mistakes. Let's see if "opposite" Klopzi might have performed better in this hand.

Full Tilt Poker $0.10/$0.25 Pot Limit Omaha Hi - 5 players
The Official DeucesCracked.com Hand History Converter

Hero (SB): $25.00
BB: $25.50
UTG: $9.00
Villain (CO): $14.35
BTN: $25.00

Pre Flop: ($0.35) Hero is SB with K K 5 4
2 folds, Villain calls $0.25, 1 fold, Hero raises to $0.85, Villain calls $0.60

(My instinct was to raise in this spot. Despite being out of position, it is a heads-up pot and I should be able to fire out on the flop and take down the pot many times unless Villain can beat AAxx.)

Flop: ($1.80) 3 Q 6 (2 players)
Hero bets $1.80, Villain calls $1.80

(That's a pretty dry flop. I fire out and Villain calls. Set or straight-draw perhaps?)

Turn: ($5.40) T (2 players)
Hero checks, Villain bets $2, Hero calls $2

(I pick up the flush draw and check. Is a bet a better play? I didn't really want to fire out and get raised. I could already be behind Villain given the action thus far and I've got a good enough hand that I want to see the river. Of course, Villain's bet in this spot could simply mean that he was floating me on the flop. I don't know how likely a float is in this spot given the quality of competition at $25 PLO. Would a check-raise be out of line here? I don't think my hand's strong enough but I'm not an expert in heads-up PLO.)

River: ($9.40) 2 (2 players)
Hero bets $9.40, Villain raises to $9.70 all in, Hero calls $0.30

(I bet out because Villain was short on chips and I'd just caught a backdoor flush. I was hoping Villain might call with an unimproved set in this spot. Villain instantly raised my pot-sized bet and I had to call off another $0.30 to see how my second-nut flush would fair at showdown...)

Funny thing: I lost the results from this hand by failing to click a specific checkbox during the hand conversion process. I lost the pot when the Villain showed the Ace-high flush (he hit top pair on the flop, picked up the flush draw on the turn, and hit on the river).

I'm not sure how else I could have played this hand aside from the points I brought up in the hand history. I'm sure Stewart Reuben would have played it differently. I'm sure he would have played it right: his pot-limit omaha is good.

Have a great weekend everyone! I'll be playing some drunken (early) birthday-edition PLO this evening. Given my current skill level, I don't think booze will affect my results one way or the other.

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