Monday, January 14, 2008

Limit Omaha Hold'em Poker, 8 or Better

There's a 6/12 Limit Omaha 8 or better table at GC that's been running consistently. For whatever reason, Thuan and I have gotten interested in it as a way to grind some money.

Here's some excerpts of our conversations:

Thuan:

Are you thinking of GC this weekend? I'm probably gonna go Sat. afternoon, but I might play Omaha to switch things up a bit.
Sean:
...

As far as Omaha, since it has dropped to 6/12 it seems to be holding on pretty well at GC. From what I've heard, O8 is easier to grind in by just playing tight which might fit my abilities. This is of course in the vacuum of not ever sitting in the game and only watching that one time.
Thuan:
Well, I only have 4 hours of GC Omaha experience. My sense was that initally I was playing too loose and you'll fare much better w/stricter starting hand standards. Even so, I haven't come to a conclusion about where to draw the line on hands... i.e. do I play 2347 single suited for 1 bet? How about 2 bets? What if it's 6+ handed? From LP? etc.... I also took some losses in the blinds playing for 1 more (half) bet, so I need to figure out how not to chase that... maybe just give up more often.

I'm also not positive yet on PF raising... when to do for value vs. isolation (if that's even possible). I've read and will reread the Omaha section in Doyle's book, but I think they're a little too tight for this game. I also noticed that at my table, people did play lots of PP and it seemed like boats were the normal winning hand (but I think that's my imagination).

I'll let you know how that goes.
Sean:
A great Omaha resource is Badger's pages:

http://www.playwinningpoker.com/omaha/strategy/
http://www.playwinningpoker.com/omaha/myths/
http://www.playwinningpoker.com/omaha/

Omaha favors tighter standards and punishes looseness, unlike hold'em where loose/aggressives can survive because it is harder to make a hand. Personally, I think Omaha is better suited to my strengths, and a while ago, I tried to grind limit omaha online. It didn't work, mostly because most players were also pretty tight and aggressive. I ended up winning pretty reliably in the small games (2c/4c) but losing when I played higher. But I think a pretty simple strategy will earn money pretty reliably and gradually in a live setting, if players are as bad as I think they are.

From what I've heard, 2347 suited is borderline garbage. Maybe call in late position, but throw it away to a raise or in early position. You should play tighter in LO8 than PLO8 because you can't put any pressure on anyone. Main reason is you have very few ways to make the nuts in either direction.
Thuan:
Thanks for the link... it was pretty elucidating. I guess I always thought that it's ok to play junk for half a bet bc of pot odds, but now i see it really just gets you into trouble. In fact, I remember losing more than a couple of hands w/ the 2nd/3rd nut flush.

After losing my first buy-in... I tightened up and fared much better... winning back everything... (until I loosened up again).
btw... badger says that you need a smaller bankroll for 3/6 Omaha than 3/6 Hold'em.... he didn't really explain why. Do you know his reasoning?
Sean:
Fits with his 'anti-schooling' argument. LO8 is all about starting hands with big edges, growing the pot with large draws (big edges), etc. I'm sure the high/low aspect helps too since you'll usually get part of the pot and if you are playing well you'll rarely get scooped after putting in a ton of bets.
Thuan (after a Saturday session):
So I went... They started a 2nd omaha table... but it was short-handed almost the entire time I was there. I played for 2.5 hrs before the table broke. Overall, I was getting pretty bored folding all the time. In fact, I think the only times I won were when I was playing out of the blinds. The table wasn't overly loose... averaged 4 to the flop. I bounced between +/- 100 until the last 6 hands or so when we were 5-handed. I got aggressive and lucky and ended up +100.

Anyhow back to Omaha... After an hour, I was up 50. I missed some hands and went down 50 (damn A2 got counterfeited on the river in a big pot). So it was up and down and I think I left during an upswing. The rake does hurt because the pots were mostly small. I don't think that game is always so tight, so it can still be profitable... just not sure at what rate. Give it a try... but make sure you sign up on a hold'em list too bc the omaha list moves slow.


So, while I wasn't initially planning to play Omaha when I got to GC tonight, my conversation with Thuan kind of convinced me otherwise. I'm going to check it out and if the game looks good, take a shot. Or get on the list and when my name comes up 2 hours later take a shot :)

For those reasons, I've reviewed a lot of the basic strategies (Badger's site is awesome for that). Here are my goals for tonight:
  • If Hold'em: mix it up a little more, mostly by raising pre-flop with slightly lower standards than I normally do. Also, be aggressive on the flop and with semi-bluffs. Maybe even a little more aggressive than the right mix, to try it out and see how it feels. Of course, my loose is probably a good player's normal game :) Specific pre-flop: raise more weak aces, play unsuited connectors (in position) raise more borderline hands if the table is tight (i.e. KJ, A8, if the situation is right).
  • If Omaha: play tight, exercise solid starting hand choices, and RAISE FOR VALUE. The biggest danger is playing too many hands because I get bored. The other big danger is missing bets and raises.
  • If Omaha: count the pot and divide by two. Well, in the cases where I have a naked low draw or a high draw and a low is possible (or will be possible).
  • For either: Write down big hands in my notebook. Not all the hands, just quick notes on the ones I get involved in so I can judge my play.

Omaha starting hand guidelines (mostly from Badger's discussion):
  • AAxx (raise in any position)
  • A2xx (raise limpers if the xx is coordinated, call in EP position to get other players in)
  • Axxx suited (raise limpers if I'm coordinated, otherwise call; call in EP)
  • A3xx (less raises with this one, unless suited or connected)
  • Four cards ten or bigger (not trips) (get in for cheap, probably no raises unless I've got suits or something else with it)
  • KKxx with two decent cards (probably not raise unless I can reduce the field or I'm really coordinated)
  • Consider other reasonable hands with aces (AK54 suited, AKQ4 suited) These are more marginal and I don't want to go overboard.
  • In position for one bet, large pairs (QQ, JJ, TT, 99) with some coordination if it is a smaller pair.
  • DON'T PLAY 23xx! A scoop is very unlikely, and if I hit the ace, for the low, someone else will have top pair. Thuan says play 2345, and I suppose I'd play that, but barely...

1 comment:

Thuan said...

A couple of comments on your starting hands:

1) For A2xx, unless you're suited, I would not raise a large field unless you have some backup for your low draw because it is a lot easier to get counterfeited than most people think... any A or 2 will screw you up. Also from EP, if xx is really uncoordinated, I would even fold.

2) Four big cards. If you're suited, then I would play for 2 bets from LP with 4/5+ handed. I think it's worth it because you can easily fold the flop if it comes w/3 babies... otherwise you'll be drawing for the whole pot which is ideal.

3) 23xx. I agree don't play. If xx includes another wheel card and something coordinated... I'd consider. Like I'd play 2345, 2346, 2347 for 1 more bet (in other words, I'd play a good triple draw hand. ) My reasons... if the pot is unraised, it's likely that there are aces in the deck and if the flop comes babies, then you might even be drawing to the high end of a straight. Just be prepared to let go of the hand on the flop/turn.