Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A clarification. And why PLO is a fun (and frustrating) way to spend an evening.

I wanted to provide a bit of a clarification from my student of the month post. We got to talking about this last night during the training session, and I don't think I made myself as clear as I needed to be. When I brought up the comparison of a sports team rising to the level of competition of a better team, I was actually including this as one of my faults. The simple fact is that I should be playing at my highest level, whether I am at a game full of people who have never touched cards in their lives, or surrounded by nine guys who have played for ten years straight. Stepping up my game when faced with better competition is something I feel is a detriment of mine that I will continue to work on. By playing at my highest level at all times, I will increase my winrate and win more often. And that, is what poker is all about. As Nick said yesterday, "What are we here for if not to win and make money?" And with that, he isn't saying that we need to win every game, because we won't. And we all know that, or at least we should, because we wont win every game. Hell, we won't even place a majority of the time. What I think Nick meant, and I'm sure he will correct me if I am wrong, is that we need to continue learning as much as we can so that we are making the correct play as near to 100% of the time as possible. Because as we have seen in other posts on this blog. Correct plays + number of games = profit. Therefore, the more correct plays we make, and the more games we play will equal to outrunning variance and making a profit.

Now, I wanted to put a little something here since I see that Nick has sent prospective students to the blog to see what I have to say. If I can offer those that will become the next group of Nick's students one piece of advice, it would be this. Forget anything that you think you know about poker. Shut your mouth and listen. And above all else, if you ever get to thinking after you have been told to make a certain move or do a certain thing that you think is wrong, open up sharkscope, pull up your graph, pull up Nick's graph, and place them side by side. Then ask yourself, who makes more money? When you see the answer, tell whatever thought popped in your head that this move may not be right to shut the fuck up and listen.

Ahhhhh,gotta love the rants

Now, on to my second point.

For those not aware of what PLO is, it is a poker game invented by Satan to torture those of us who are good and just.

Actualy, PLO stands for Pot Limit Omaha, which says the type of limit the game is (Pot limit) and the type of game (Omaha, a 4 card down version of texas hold em, with very different rules.) I'll do a full write up on the game at some point in the future, as it is my favorite and most fun game to play right now. But, for now, while grinding holdem 180 man poker is what I consider my part-time job, there are times when fun needs to come into play, and I was able to take a generous gift from Nick for being student of the month on the brand new poker site Victorypoker.net to have some fun with. If you are a poker player, check it out for sure. Anyway, I was able to take an night off from the grind and get some time in at my favorite game, and boy what a time it was. The game (being that its on a new site, I hear this is quite normal) was incredibly soft, which is a wonderful thing for someone who understands the PLO game. But PLO can be very frustrating, after being up almost 200 dollars, I ran into a gigantic pot that I ended up losing. Im going to try to do this from memory so bear with me

Two players joined me to the flop after a preflop raise from the button. I held AhQc9c7h. The flop was 8h10h6s giving me a monster of a hand, with the nut straight (best possible hand at the moment) plus a nut flush redraw (The best possible hand if another heart were to come at some point.)

So I did exactly what you are supposed to in the situation. I kept the pressure on. PLO is not a game of slowplaying the nuts on the flop, as there are oftentimes when your nuts can be trumped quickly on the turn or river. There are also times where someone will have the exact same straight cards as you and your redraw becomes very important, as letting go of the nuts on the flop is very very hard to do.

This is running long, so let me sum it up really quick. Both my opponents had backdoor flush draws (they hel two spades in their hand with 1 spade on the board. Two more spades would need to come on the turn and river to make their flush) One had bottom pair and an overpair, which came to basically nothing against my straight, and the other had the dummy end of the straight with the nut backdoor flush draw. Two running spades later, and my money joined theirs across the table. Up 200 playing tight preflop/aggressive post flop. Lost nearly all of it on this one hand. I love where I was, and though I took a bad beat, I was more tilted by the hands I played poorly and won, than the hands I played wonderfuly and lost. That more than anything makes me feel like I am maturing as a poker player.

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