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Playing, Reading, Relaxing

I hit up Full Tilt to play some $1/$2 O8 last night. I was hoping to sit at a couple tables but there was only one table going at the beginning of my session. I checked my other rakeback sites and was disappointed to find that neither Titan Poker nor Cake Poker had any limit O8 tables running. I considered playing a table at Full Tilt and another at Stars (which had lots of tables) but decided instead to play a second lower-stakes table at FT.

Over the next two hours, I folded my way to a loss of seventy cents. Not too bad for my first O8 session. I found the play to be both frustrating, dull, and wonderfully relaxing. It was nice to kick back and just enjoy watching the cards fly without having to scrutinize my opponents' 3-bet stats and fold to c-bet percentages. The players were all terrible - myself included. But it felt like I was part of an exclusive club of players willing to pass money around the table with little regard for odds or strategy.

Of course, I was playing a strategy: squeaky tight poker. I had a list of hands that I was willing to play and stuck to that list. In the full-ring games, I was happy to limp into a few pots here and there with a solid hand to try and catch a piece of the flop. I played fit or fold poker and managed to throw away most of my marginal hands on the flop.

Since I'm new to O8, I did find myself a little lost at times. For example, I keep forgetting which low is best on a given board; I tend to look at the number from the wrong way. My brain intuitively believes that an A-4-5-6-7 is a better low than 2-3-5-6-7 because I read from left to right. The ace is lower than the two so the A-4-5-6-7 low must be better, right? Wrong. I need to start thinking of the low in terms of a number read from right to left. Which number is smaller: 76,532 or 76,541? The former is smaller and thus the 2-3-5-6-7 low is better.

I also folded my high-only hand on the river twice in small pots when I was actually good for half the pot. New players to a game have a tough time understanding how their hands rate against others' hands come river time and I am no exception to the rule. I'm a n00b, donkey, and nit all rolled up into one when playing O8. I'll get it in time - no worries here. And thankfully, limit O8 has such low variance that it's not too hard to take things slowly at first and learn the game at your own pace.

Speaking of learning, I've also bought a couple more O8 books: High-Low-Split Poker, Seven-Card Stud and Omaha Eight-or-better for Advanced Players and How to Win at Omaha High-Low Poker. I've heard many great things about Ray Zee's book...and Mike Cappelletti's book was required to get free shipping! Throw in Super System 2 and Winning Omaha/8 Poker - both of which are currently sitting in my library (a.k.a. washroom) - and I'd say that I'm well-covered in terms of all that I'll need to know to make a solid run at Omaha 8 or better. I honestly think that I'm addicted to buying poker books. I've probably purchased about 100 titles in the past four years. Mind you, I've read all but eight of those books. And many, such as Small Stakes Hold'em and Professional No-Limit Hold'em Volume 1 have been read so many times that they are falling apart. You'd think my results would be better given the amount of study I've given the game of poker. Though I guess my results might appear stronger had I not spent so much of my bankroll on poker books, right?

Tonight I plan on continuing my $1/$2 O8 journey at Full Tilt and PokerStars. I hate playing at a site that does not offer rakeback but Stars has the traffic and I still need a few FPPs to pick up my $250 FutureShop gift card.

Have a good one!

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