Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What more can one do?

I had a little time on my hands this afternoon for a couple orbits of PLO. I try to play at different times of the day to determine the optimum hours for the softest tables. I mostly have been playing late at night, which, while juicy, makes it difficult to get up at a respectable hour in the morning. If I can find a time that is equally profitable, then farm chores can be attended to while it is still daylight. To be quite frank about it, I’m looking for times when players on one side or other of the world are drunk and/or tired. (I haven’t looked, but I’m sure there’s probably threads on this very subject on 2+2.)

One thing that does not change, no matter what time of day, is one or more opponent’s willingness to get it all in on a draw (mea culpa). In Limit games I understand the tendency to call, call, call because pot odds can be favorable. And that’s why there are betting strategies like check-raising that one uses to discourage no fold-em poker. It works well in NL, and maybe not so well in Limit. It would therefore stand to reason that it works somewhat well in pot limit games.

I was in the BB with 7d Th 9s Ts when UTG, a regular in this game, opened up for a pot-sized bet. The Hijack and Button called, as did I. There is $1.40 in the pot. I look at the hand I held as a semi-spread seven-to-ten. I appreciate the suited connectors for the potential they have as well. The pair is nice but I’m not banking on it… or so I thought.

The flop is Tc 8h 2h. Hot diggity! I check and UTG bets the pot. We’re looking at a big pair and good draw here, probably a big flush. Both the Hijack and Button call. Well, someone has the aforementioned combo. Amazing. There are two ways I can play this: I either can call and see what comes, or I can try to protect my hand with a pot-sized bet, which will basically put me all-in (.25 behind). If I call, I am looking to pair the board for a boat or quads. If a Jack or other scare card comes along, I’m going to be mighty reluctant to continue. Raising a pot-sized bet is the only way I’m going to reduce the field, and I know already that is going to be a difficult task regardless. Or, maybe I don’t want the field to get smaller…I opt for the latter. The Hijack and UTG both call. UTG is all-in.

Turn is 2s. I’m in the catbird seat barring some big card on the river. I kick in my last quarter, Hijack comes along, and the 4s on the river secures it. UTG had 9c 9d Qd Js and Hijack had As Ad Ah Kh. Not bad. UTG was drawing dead and only the case Ace could undo me.

The questions remain: Was the collective call of my pot-sized check-raise a good call? Was my check-raise the right play? And the biggest question of all: Do I have to do the math to find out? I am not certain that one figures the odds in the same manner one does when there are four cards in the hole. The unknowns are constant, yet from my perspective, it stands to reason that if twice as many cards are out, then the likelihood of making one draw is diminished. For now, I will content myself with the win and continue to look for the Hwang book in the mail. I suspect a lot of my questions will be answered when it arrives. Can’t wait.


El Forrest Gumpo said...

"Do I have to do the math to find out? I am not certain that one figures the odds in the same manner one does when there are four cards in the hole."

B, I find this site essential for learning the game and often reveals some unexpected results.



James said...

If you google "pot limit omaha strategy," you will get some good info to ponder until your book arrives.