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Sunday, May 9, 2010

OMG, Rush PLO!!!

My poker ADHD is acting up again. Just as I had started settling back into playing the $1.10, 45-turbos I discovered that Full Tilt has been offering 6-max Rush PLO, at .05-.10 stakes. PLO has always been one of my favourite games in terms of pure enjoyment but I never had the nads to put up with the variance for a long period of time.

If you've never played PLO, the reason why the variance is so high (probably higher than any other mainstream form of poker) is that starting with 4-cards greatly increases the average value of the postflop hands when compared to Holdem. Hands like sets, flushes, straights, and full houses are far more common when you get to start with four cards rather than just two. This also means that the frequency and size of flopped draws is greatly increased. In Holdem a typical draw is an OESD or FD, with a combo straight+flush draw fairly rare. In Omaha, however, an OESD is basically worthless because 13- and 17-out straight draws are far more common. The end result is that Omaha often involves confrontations between big made hands or combo made hands plus draws and big draws, which means you're often putting money into the pot with small edges over your opposition. People who understand the nature of the game also understand that you should pretty much always be betting pot (to charge drawing hands, and to get full value from hands when you have an equity edge), which, when combined with the fact that people love to see flops in Omaha, results in much larger average pots than in NLHE.

Although the variance is high in PLO, there is big money-making potential at the micro stakes because there is a huge gap between the players who understand the game and know what they're doing, and those who don't. The same is true in NLHE, obviously, but the impact of this gap is emphasized in PLO because of the aforementioned factors. The two major mistakes that micro fish make in PLO are: (1) playing way too many hands; and (2) overvaluing marginal hands postflop (sound familiar?). What this means is that if you understand (1) hand selection strategy; (2) how the hand values differ compared to NLHE; and (3) the value of big draws, you can make money off the people who don't understand these concepts. In micro PLO most of your money will come from players who chase baby flushes and stack off to your nut flush, or get their money in postflop with Holdem hands like a bare AA overpair or straight with no redraws, or slowplay bottom set, or whatever.

So, I'm still going to be playing my 45-turbos but I am going to play around with some Rush PLO for a bit. Might also be a good way to accumulate some FTPs for my next run at the WSOP steps...

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