P-L-Ohh-Nooo!

I don’t play much pot limit Omaha (PLO).  A few times here and there, plus a bit online.  A few strategy articles, some discussion with friends.  Enough to think I understand the game and what it takes to win, which really isn’t much different from Texas Holdem — patience, good starting cards, aggression and leveraging favorable position at the table whenever possible.

Last night I decided to give a local, private PLO game a whirl.  And I…

  • … was card dead almost the entire time
  • … won exactly one pot, that coming two hours + 45 minutes after the game started
  • … got slow rolled twice
  • … dropped three buy-ins and went home early

The first slow roll came when I flopped top set on a typically drawy Omaha board.  I had KQQJ, and the flop was QJ4 with two hearts.  Another player bet, after one or two callers I made a pot-sized raise and the first player shoved all-in for just a few dollars more.  The turn was a non-heart 3 and the river was 8♣.  This looked pretty good for me and the villain just shrugged.  After I turned over my hand, the guy on my right says he figured I had a set of queens.  I’m ready to stack some chips.

Then the villain says he has the nut straight and turns over AKT9.  He had a full wrap straight draw.  His outs included any A, K, T, 9 or 8 and the river got him there.  I ran the odds later and was approx. 53% favorite when the chips went in the middle, basically a coin flip.

The hand I won was a small pot.  No one raised pre-flop and the flop gave me a nut straight and bottom set.  I got one caller on a pot-sized bet, but he folded on the turn.  At least I didn’t feel like a sacrificial virgin anymore.

A bit later, I was dealt A♣ A K♣ 8 under the gun.  I limped and the second player to my left obliged with a pot-sized raise.  Nearly everyone called, perfectly setting me up for a large re-raise that was essentially all of my remaining chips (78 big blinds).  The first raiser calls.  The next guy calls.  The next guy says why not? and goes all-in for about 23 BBs more.  The next guy says with that much money in the pot he’s calling no matter what his cards are, and goes all-in for 12 BBs more than my stack.  Both of the players who called my bet call again.

The main pot has over 400 BBs in it and there are two side pots.  My Omaha odds app says my equity against four random hands is 33%.

PLO poker gameThe board runs out 225-T-3 with no possible flushes.  Everybody kind of looks at each other so I table my cards.  The first three are all showing their hands to each other and shaking their heads.  Somebody comments that my pair of aces are good.  No one looks happy.  Trying not to look happy myself before the dealer pushes the pot in my direction, I start feeling happy, like I made it though a minefield unharmed.  A short pause, then the last guy, the one who said he was calling off his entire stack pre-flop no matter what his cards were because there were so many chips in the pot already, that guy, says “I have the nuts” and turns over A468.  They always have it!

A slow burn forms on my face.  Fortunately, I have an iron stomach and rarely puke.  I haven’t puked in nearly 10 years, and since that night (it was the night of the televised Vice Presidential debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin) I haven’t smoked any more cigars either.

I’d been folding hands like A468 over and over since I arrived.  I’m done.

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