I’ve been a bad boy.
Even though I wrote that I wouldn’t, I played PLO yesterday. And, with mixed results. Ooooo, there’s that bad word, “results.” One hand stands out, partly because of how it occurred, but mostly because of what followed.
I was the BB with suited Kings and the inklings of a Broadway draw. A player in early position raised it up with two callers before me. I flopped a set with two baby cards on the board. I bet the pot and was called by the initial raiser. The turn put another small card on the board, which could have made a middle straight, yet it also gave me a flush draw, so I wasn’t worried about it and bet the pot again. The EP raised me all-in. I called and EP hit his third Ace on the river. Surprise, surprise, a two-outer again.
Generally, when this happens I keep mum, but this time I couldn’t help myself.
“You’ve got to be sh itting me.”
“You should learn how to fold.”
“I had you.”
“I represented the straight.”
“If you get this upset, maybe Omaha isn’t the game for you.”
“Thanks for the advice. I’m comfortable with my play.”
“Well then, good luck at the tables.”
So, what to make of this exchange? First of all, I shouldn’t have written anything, especially since it tips the table to my mindset. Of course, the flip side of it is that his response clues me into how he approaches the game.
I should learn how to fold? There is some truth to this (I make waaay too many crying calls), but not in this situation. So, why would one write this? To my mind, it represents an attitude that relies too much on aggression. I already had a read on this guy as aggressive beyond reason as I had seen him overplay two hands, one to his disadvantage, and another in which he again benefited from a bit of luck on the river. He was working a very thin edge and suffering the variance of such play. It was to my advantage that I called his turn raise. He further confirmed my read when he tried to justify the bluff.
I knew that he was bluffing. Mind you, As5sAc6c is a possible holding when 7,8 and 4 are on the board. But the real issue at hand is what criteria one needs to get all of the money in the middle. A good draw? A made yet vulnerable hand? A risk factor that necessarily indicates a disregard for one buy-in? Perhaps I do take it all a bit too seriously. My Dear Friend, Akileos pulls no punches when he points out that I have bankroll issues, that even though I have considerably more in my account than when I started, I’m still playing with the mindset of a guy who is one the verge of going broke.
I should point out that this exchange took place at a $25 table. As has become my regular practice, I often will be sitting at a $10 table as well. Yesterday was no exception. It is my way of minimizing risk to my roll. The competition at the $25 tables is considerably tougher (although not always), so there is naturally a greater chance that I will lose. I think it is a fair assessment that I often am able to do quite well at the $10 tables, so they act as a safety net. In fact, just after I had lost the one buy-in outlined above, I more than tripled up at the $10 table, nearly erasing the loss.
In my correspondence with Dear Friend Forrest Gump, he has observed that his attitude about stacking off in a $10 room after making the right call, and doing so in a $25 room is considerably different. It is the same for me as well. In a $10 room, I say to myself that I will surely retrieve the loss in short order. In the $25 room, that recovery is a little more difficult as the hands in which all of the money is in the middle are few and far between. There are just far fewer newbies and reckless players, and even the LAGs know when to get out of a hand.
So, once again I am at a crossroads, a very familiar intersection at which I struggle with whether to continue playing in the $25 rooms. Clearly, I am not going to stop playing PLO; yet, there is also the issue of room availability. Sometimes there are no $10 rooms open. Perhaps the answer lies in a different game, and not just as a change of scenery. I am clearly more adept at NLHE than Omaha, even in a tourney structure. But even that’s not the real issue, for when I consider playing $25NL, my concerns once again return to the fact that it is a whole $25. (Oh my!) I’m looking to hang onto what I have won to date, which should not be my primary concern. Therefore, I need to play at a $10 level — and there are plenty of 10NL rooms available — just because I will not worry, which makes me a better player than I would be at $25 anything.