Thursday, April 2, 2009

A couple hands

Like a moth to a flame, I'm back to the PLO games, playing my usual $10 and $25 table, one of each. The $10 table is a piece of cake as I have position on the player who may be the most experienced, and I'm besting him to where he alone has doubled me up. Sometimes it looks easier than it is only because of the cards.

The $25 table is a bit tougher. I have position on a LAG regular, and immediately to my right is the gentleman with whom I had the conversation the other evening. I will deal with them in hand #2 of this post.

I had an opportunity to play a type of hand that I have seen other make money on, but one I have not: two pairs in the hole.

PokerStars Pot-Limit Omaha, $0.25 BB (8 handed) - Poker-Stars Converter Tool from

Button ($10.20)
SB ($3.55)
BB ($86.30)
UTG ($5.20)
UTG+1 ($34.05)
Hero (MP1) ($28)
MP2 ($28.90)
CO ($11.70)

Preflop: Hero is MP1 with 6, 6, J, J

2 folds, Hero calls $0.25, 1 fold, CO calls $0.25, Button calls $0.25, SB calls $0.15, BB checks

Hwang says that one should be looking for a set; yet he also cautions against playing pairs lower than 7s because of straight potential for other players when the set hits. Case in point:

Flop: ($1.25) 6, 9, 4 (5 players)

I have middle set, which is not pretty, so I'm not going to get too excited. I want to control the size of the pot yet also find out where I am. Is there a set of nines out there?

SB checks, BB checks, Hero bets $0.75, CO calls $0.75, 2 folds, BB calls $0.75

Apparently not, as a raise would have been forthcoming. We're looking at draws.

Turn: ($3.50) 2 (3 players)

Not the prettiest card because it makes one of those idiot straights that seem to happen with too much frequency for my taste. Some dip comes in with a mini wrap like A- 2-3-5, which plays only two ways if the Ace is suited, and gets crushed by medium wraps. Nevertheless, this card also gives me flush draw, so I'm not too disappointed.

BB checks, Hero checks, CO bets $3.35, 1 fold, Hero calls $3.35

I may have made a -EV move here, but he's made his straight, and I'm not seeing this as a freeroll situation for some reason. I'm looking for a 6, the board to pair or a heart. Hell, that's a lot of outs!

River: ($10.20) 3 (2 players)

Hero bets $3.25, CO calls $3.25

Total pot: $16.70 | Rake: $0.80


Hero had 6, 6, J, J (flush, Jack high).

CO mucked 4, K, 3, 5 (straight, six high).

Outcome: Hero won $15.90

This second hand I may have overplayed. I'm not quite sure, given whom I'm up against. the initial raiser and big stack is the LAG. I've played him twenty times or more now, and I have learned the hard way that I must have position on him to play effectively.

PokerStars Pot-Limit Omaha, $0.25 BB (7 handed) - Poker-Stars Converter Tool from

BB ($14.45)
UTG ($33.20)
MP1 ($66.20)
MP2 ($5.65)
CO ($36.05)
Hero (Button) ($36.90)
SB ($7.30)

Preflop: Hero is Button with J, A, A, 10. The only thing that would improve this hand is if the J was a spade.

1 fold, MP1 bets $0.75, 1 fold, CO calls $0.75, Hero raises to $3.35, 2 folds, MP1 calls $2.60, CO calls $2.60

I am actually happy to see the LAG open with a raise. The CO is the gentleman with the bluffed straight and river Ace from the other night. I have now played with him enough to know that he is a pretty tight player when leading out, yet readily calls preflop raises with big pocket pairs with not much else to go with them. I thought about smooth calling but thought better of it. After all, I had position.

Now, before we go any further, I suppose I should spend a little time on what the other players might think of my play. I think it's pretty basic, actually. The only time I raise is either with Aces or I have position holding a hand with a lot of potential, like a double-suited Broadway wrap or a suited wrap with a pair larger than 9s. I'm sure this does not go un-noticed. In fact, I know that the LAG counts on it as he has used it to his advantage against me. (With this said, I am just as likely to limp with a similar hand when out of position.)

Flop: ($10.40) J, A, 6 (3 players)

MP1 checks, CO checks, Hero bets $9.90, 2 folds

OK, aside from that thing with clubs (you know what I'm talking about), I'm mostly concerned with the ranges of the other players. I am vulnerable to Broadway wraps and I'm not a fan of giving anyone a free or even discounted card. Does the adage of "Got it-pot it" apply here? I am still unclear as to how to disquise one's hand strength in PLO postflop, not that I have that fully mastered in NLHE either. Yet, in Omaha it seems that unless one flops the stone-cold, advertising exactly what you hold may be the only way to shoo the flies. The downside, of course, is when you actually improve to the invulnerable, no one is interested in going any further with their hand no matter how cheap you make it. But I digress...

Total pot: $10.40 | Rake: $0.50


Hero didn't show J, A, A, 10 (nothing).

Outcome: Hero won $9.90


Memphis MOJO said...

I've been meaning to ask, what's a wrap?

bastinptc said...

When your hole cards are coordinated in such a manner that the straight is nearly made in your hand alone. So, a Broadway wrap can be 10,J, K, A.

Memphis MOJO said...

I had J-10-9-8 with two of them spades (last Saturday night). Is that a wrap, or something else?

Also, you you play it? It seemed that the cards were medium ones, and the book said to stay away from that.

I'm afraid I still have no clue what a good starting hand is.

bastinptc said...

Yeah, that's a wrap, and a pretty good one. I certainly will see a flop with it, and if I were more confident, raise in position. It has two things going for it, aside from the flush potential. You have two ways to come at the nut straight with the bottom end of a Broadway and the top end of a medium-sized straight. The downside of the former is that it may result in a chop, or may not even get there. What you would want to see is a flop like 7-9-4 and hope someone is playing the low end of things so you can crush them like a worm.

The flush aspect is a little trickier to play and is contingent on your read. This is where I would try to control the size of the pot. If your opponent is ramming and jamming, chances are they have a better flush.

As for Hwang's attitude about the hand, I think you are mistaken. Look at page 79 where he talks about a 7-10 wrap.

Anonymous said...

The way I use the terms, J-10-9-8 is a "run" or a "run down". A "wrap" is what you can flop with your "run". That is, a "wrap" is a special kind of straight draw. It's better than the standard OESD that we learned in Hold'em as it will have many more outs (13-20) to make the straight. To flop a wrap with the JT98 run, the flop would need to be something like Q9x, where you'd make a straight with any K, J, 9, 8, or 7 (seventeen cards in this example).


Memphis MOJO said...

So what is this: J-10-8-7?

Would that also be a wrap?

Anonymous said...

With that flop, yes.

bastinptc said...

I stand corrected. I need to read more closely. Hwang does indeed refer to the starting hand as a "run down".

MM, therefore your second example would go by the same name, even though there is a gap.