Road Trip Aftermath – part B

In my previous post, I described folding KK pre-flop in a no limit Hold’em game at MGM National Harbor.

That still pains me.

The “fun” part of the trip, however, was playing 5-card PLO late Friday night. This poker room doesn’t spread traditional 4-card PLO, and dammit I wanted to play something other than Hold’em.

As played there, the blinds are $1 and $2, but the “bring-in” is $5, so the stakes are described as 1/2/5, with a buy-in range of $200-700.

The difference between a true 1/2 game and a 1/2/5 game is significant. In a 1/2 PLO game, a pot-sized raise is a total bet of $7 (that’s $2 to call the big blind, plus $5 more equal to the size of the pot including the calling portion of your bet). 

In the 1/2/5 game, a pot-sized raise is a total bet of $15, as the combined small and big blind, while only $3, is treated as if it were $5 as a way of making the math easier for the dealers (as thereafter, everything is a multiple of $5).

In effect, 1/2/5 really means 2/5 in disguise. 

I bought in for $600 and played super tight. My VPIP had to be the lowest at the table over several hours, by far. How can so many 5-card hands be so trashy?

A couple of modest wins and my stubborn refusal to give any of it back built my stack to a little over $700, and Eric was texting me about leaving soon, but…

I looked at AAK93, with a suited A9. This was my first hand of the night with AA, and it came under-the-gun at this very loose table.

The first thing to know is that AAxxx in 5-card PLO is way, way, WAY different from AA in Hold’em. In Hold’em, AA vs. a random hand is an 85% favorite. In 5-card PLO, my AAK93 with one suit is slightly less than 58% favorite vs. a single random hand. 

So I decide to take a passive approach and bring-in for $5. Let’s see what happens. Out-of-position, planning to leave soon and not very experienced in this game, I’m content to treat this like a set-mining hand and surrender quickly.

Several other players called $5, then the small blind announced “pot” and raised to $40. Next the big blind also announced “pot” and re-raised to $150. He had been the most aggressive player at the table; this 3-bet didn’t necessarily signify great strength.

That changed things for me.

The small blind started the hand with a little less than $300, and the big blind had me covered. If I made a pot-sized 4-bet to $560, I’d be pot-committed with the best hand. My hand would be fairly transparent, but so what? If they both fold, I’d have a nice uncontested win. If one of them called, I’d be on the favorable side of a 60/40. If they both called, the side pot with the big blind would be more than my original stack. As long as I beat that guy, I make a profit.

The small blind said “fuck it” and stuck his chips in, and the big blind pushed all-in too for a total pot in excess of $1,700.

Spoiler… the big blind wins. But you should already know that, if you’ve paid any attention to this blog for the past umpteen years.

I only recall four of the big blind’s cards, a JJ and 77. The flop smashed him with both top and middle sets!

The small blind showed two of his cards, an A and 7

Using what we know, the equities in the main pot were 40% for me, 33% for the big blind and 27% for the small blind.

The side pot was about 58% for me and 42% for the big blind.

I made the right play.

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