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All The Pot Limit Omaha Hands

July 19, 2019

I have to admit, I’ve had a hard time getting back on track. The poker has been good. Last week was a pretty amazing week of poker and immediately made up for the annoyance of busting the Main Event without cashing for the second year in a row. Everything else has been a little suspect though. I know what I want my routine to be, but it has been difficult to execute on some days.

I wrote about last Friday’s session, but what I didn’t write about was the fact that I played until 3 in the morning and then didn’t wake up until 2 PM on Saturday. That’s not a good way to start a “Miracle Morning.” Also, I don’t think I’ve ever felt fresh and ready to tackle the day after going to bed super late and waking up super late. Usually, that’s a recipe for being completely useless for an entire day.

My plan was to play some 20/40 Omaha 8 or Better at Muckleshoot, but the list never really seemed to develop and I didn’t help things by not showing up. I think that game is supposed to start at 4 PM most Saturdays and when I dropped Dina off at Palace around 5 PM, the list was only showing 5 players including me and I didn’t feel like waiting around for a game to start.

Playing 20/40 at Fortune could be another option, but that game seems to have either massively dried up or been taken over by no limit Hold’em cash games. I almost never see two 20 games going anymore and there have been times when I’ve looked during peak business hours and they didn’t have a game going at all.

Yikes.

I’m not sure if the big limit games at Muck and Fortune are struggling because it’s summer and players were gone for WSOP or if they are legitimately dying off, but I’m hoping it’s not the latter. Speaking of which, I haven’t seen a single person on the list for the 20/40 Mix at Red Dragon since I’ve been back either. Goodness! What the hell am I going to play when it’s not Wednesday or Friday?

So with no real options on a Saturday night, I decided to stay at Palace and play 8/16. Ho hum. I don’t have much interesting to say about that session except that I ended up getting my ass handed to me for most of it. I was nearly felted from my initial $600 buy in towards the end of the night, playing 3-handed, before I reluctantly reloaded for another $200 because no one has ever seen me felt in a limit game at Palace (except when I’ve sat down with the minimum buy in for fun) and I want to keep it that way.

There were two hands from playing short-handed that kind of blew my mind. I was playing with two Palace dealers, one of them being BlackJack. On the first hand, BlackJack opened on the button, the other dealer called in the small blind and I defended with 53o. Yes, pretty loose, but hey, it’s a straighter!

The flop came down J64 with two spades. We both check-call BlackJack’s continuation bet. In this type of short-handed, or button vs. blinds situation, I usually like to take the lead with my draws – especially if the flop favors my defending range – since everyone’s ranges are much wider than normal, but BlackJack has proven to be incredibly sticky – even calling me down with king high in a spot where I was like, “woah, if he’s not folding there, he’s not folding anything with any showdown value ever.” So I adjust, and after he reads this, I probably adjust again.

The turn is an offsuit 9 and we both check-call again.

The river is an offsuit 2 and I have made the nuts. I definitely like to lead when I make my hands some of the time, but random deuces on the river are not scary and of all the draws I can have on the flop, 53 is probably one of the least likely ones. I elect to check, BlackJack bets, I think the other player folded to the river bet, I check-raised, and then BlackJack 3-bet and put me into a brief moment of shock and elation. I had to double-check the board and make sure that I didn’t overlook some other bigger straight, but nope, my hand is indeed the nuts, so I put the cap on it and he calls. I announce that I have the nuts and he says, “me too” and snap rolls the 53 of spades and I must have sat there looking at his hand in disbelief for a good 20 seconds before finally turning mine over and collecting one of the most disappointing half-pots I’ve ever had the displeasure of sharing.

The other hand that blew my mind was when it folded to the other dealer in the small blind and he raised it up. I defended with the Q3o and we went off to a flop of A93 rainbow. He checked to me and recent history had told me that his check was probably weakness and not a trap, so I bet and he called.

The turn card was the queen of spades and he decided to donk lead into me. Interesting. Obviously, my hand improved and given his check-call on the flop, it’s pretty clear that I’m still good here, so I raise it up and he calls.

The river is an offsuit jack and once again, I’m quite shocked when he decides to check-raise me. This is never a bluff and if he’s not bluffing, my hand is never good. He’s not playing his hand this way and showing up with one pair on the river. Still, this is one of those spots where his line is so weird that I’m happy to pay the $16 to see what the hell he played this way. Really, only two hands make sense to me and I say out loud, “you can only have king ten of spades or queen jack here” before putting in the call. He responds with something like, “you know it’s funny… I have neither of those hands and I played this terribly, but…” and then rolls over the T8 offsuit.

Ho
Lee
Shit

I would love to hear what his mind was thinking when he was playing the flop and turn on that one.

I was stuck all session and usually short-handed play is my time to shine and I’ve rallied back from the dead many a time when the game gets short, but not this instance. BlackJack had my number. I can’t say I lost every pot we played together, but he showed down the winner waaaaaaaay more than I did.

I think I was stuck over $600 at some point and I finished at -$436 after 10.5 hours.

Dina and I played even later this time, quitting just after 3:30 AM and again, we didn’t wake up until past 2 PM the next day. So much for hiking in the morning!

Sunday ended up being a complete waste of a day. I spent it playing online poker and watching the WSOP Main Event final table. I played about 16.75 hours total (multi-tabling, so one hour of 3-tabling = 3 hours) and it was basically a wash. I did decent in cash games ($14.68/hour) playing mostly PLO on Global Poker, but I went 1 for 6 in tournaments and my cash was for +$2.60 and my average buy in was $23.50, so I ended a measly +$15.31 for the day.

Needless to say, on both days last weekend I did absolutely nothing productive, aside from play poker and watch poker, and it’s not like I won any money doing that.

Monday was a step in the right direction, as I got back in the gym and did some other productive stuff. We met our friends at a Japanese Steakhouse for lunch and it’s always fun to go into Uncle Batman mode.

I’ve been dabbling in America’s Cardroom over the past month and Monday night I won my first tournament on the site. The structures on ACR are insane. It’s the anti-Global Poker. The blinds are absurdly stair-stepped and players are allowed to late register and re-enter for an insane amount of levels – like 15! A $5 tournament on Global with 200 players could be over in 2-3 hours, but the $5 tournament I played on Monday night on ACR had almost 500 entrants and took me over eight hours to win!

The lesson learned here is that if I want to play tournaments on ACR, it has to be a dedicated session. I can’t just pop in a tournament while I’m making dinner and hope it will be over in a couple hours.

I started with $200 on ACR, so a nearly $500 score was a massive boost to my bankroll.

On Tuesday, I played some online PLO on Global after Dina went to sleep and had what might be my best cash game day ever on that site as I finished the day +$639.87. I usually only play $0.50 blind games and don’t play super long sessions on Global, so winning 13+ buy ins is not a common occurrence.

I’ve talked about playing online PLO on the blog before and how much I’ve struggled to show a profit at it. In 2017, I got absolutely murdered in the $50 PLO 6-max games, but last year I turned myself into a roughly breakeven player. This year, I’ve been running at about 11bb/hr in online PLO. The sample size is still pretty small, but it does seem like things could finally be turning around.

PLO on Wednesday featured an interesting starting lineup. Most of the decent/good regulars were MIA and there were a couple of really juicy spots in the game.

My session started off well enough when one of the spots limped, I made it $20 with AKQ8 double suited, Riddler made it $60 on the button, and we both called.

I flopped the nut flush on the K92 board and since this isn’t the kind of board I expect Riddler to c-bet on, I decided to lead out for $100. Riddler folded but the other player called.

The turn brought an offsuit 7 and my opponent check-called $150.

The river paired the king, so I’m now losing to full houses, but I have a king in my hand and I’m pretty sure he has a flush anyway. I would normally go for the max of $300 here, but with the board pairing, I size down to $200 to increase my chances of getting called. He calls pretty quickly, my flush is good, and I’m immediately up about $600 to start the night.

One player limps in, I make it $20 with KQJ9 double suited and 4 or 5 of us see the Q64 rainbow flop. I have top pair and all sorts of back door draws. I’m not sure this is a flop I necessarily want to bet. I just have a naked top pair at this point, but I have a hand that absolutely needs to see the turn. If I bet and someone bombs it on me, I’m going to have to fold and that is just disgusting. In the moment, I didn’t really think this through and c-bet to $60 and got called by the button only.

The turn card was basically gin for me: the ten of spades. In addition to top pair, I now have a 17-card straight draw (with 11 nut outs) plus a flush draw. After getting called on the flop, if my opponent is drawing, his draws will be around the 6 and the 4, so all my straight outs are usually good if they hit. My hand is big enough now that I definitely want to put money in the pot, so I bet $150 and he raises me to $350. Gross. I can’t recall how much he had behind, but I remember resisting the urge to put him all in because I didn’t think it made much sense to pile while I was still drawing when I can check-fold the river and save x amount on those times I miss. I figured he would probably call on the river most of the time when I improved, so I wasn’t too worried about missing value by just calling.

Unfortunately, the river bricked me and he decided to check back with Q44x.

I can’t remember what his fourth card was, but I checked out the turn equities for this hand, assuming his fourth card wasn’t a blocker to my draw (i.e. 3 of clubs) and I was actually a slight favorite on the turn. I wondered how much having the queen in his hand affected things, so I replaced it with a suited ace and that changed my equity from 52.5% to 50%.

Shortly after that, I limped along with the KQT5 double suited, some others limp, and the button made it $25 and we all called. The flop was AQ6 with two clubs, giving me the nut flush draw and a gut shot. I check-called $105 and we were heads up.

The turn was the 7 of diamonds, giving me a second flush draw and I check-called $300. I figure my opponent has AA here most of the time, so I found myself in another spot where I have a massive draw on the turn and decided not to pile when I know I don’t have the best hand and I don’t have any fold equity. I’m just going to fold when I miss and bet when I get there. If the board pairs, I’m going to check and if he bombs it, I’m going to fold.

The river bricks me again and for the second time in a very short period I miss a huge draw in a sizable pot. Those hands cost me a combined $860 and my good start has quickly turned into a deficit.

There are some limpers, I make it 20 from the small blind with AATT and they all call. The flop is T77 with two diamonds and I size down to 30 and only Mr. Freeze calls.

I think he’s likely to have a 7 here or maybe a draw, so when the turn is an offsuit 8, I size down again to $50, trying to induce a raise. He doesn’t oblige and just calls again.

The river is the 8 of diamonds and suddenly my flopped nut full house is somehow the FIFTH nuts – even though no overcard has come – as there are now four combos of straight flushes and quads possible. Pretty weird. In Omaha, these hands are far more likely than in Hold’em so I have to admit it is slightly concerning. I did give some consideration to check-calling here, letting Mr. Freeze take himself to value town, bluff, or limit the damage when one of the better hands is out there, but I ultimately decided his most likely holding was a 7 and this time I sized up to $200 and he snap called and my hand was good.

Hit&Run opens to $15 and for some reason I call with AQ72 with three clubs in my hand on the button. I’m not sure what I’m thinking here. I know I want to get involved with a loose, sticky player when I’m in position, but my hand is extremely disconnected and I’m blocking my own flush draw when I flop one. This is just spewy, I think.

I think four of us see the A96 rainbow flop and they all check to me. I think it’s pretty reasonable to bet here. I should have the best hand a lot, plus I have a backdoor flush draw, and there aren’t many draws to speak of on this flop. I bet $60 and only the big blind calls.

The turn pairs the 9 and I decide to check back.

The river is an offsuit 2 and he checks to me again. This player has been getting creamed and I’m pretty sure he’s steaming pretty bad right now, so I decide to get tricky because he’s a thinking player. I down bet to $40 hoping he will see opportunity and try to take the pot away by raising. He starts thinking and does line up a raise and as soon as he puts it in the pot I immediately toss a chip in to call.

And then he shows me quad nines. I owe him $150.

Excellent execution, Dark Knight. I played a hand I should have folded preflop and cost myself $225 while having the worst read of all-time.

I limp in with JT87 single suited and call a raise to $20 from the big blind. It’s 4 or 5 of us to a flop of TT3 rainbow and the big blind leads $25. This player has been passive, so I figure he probably has AA here. There’s a chance he has AATx, but I’ll cross that bridge when I need to. I make it $60, building the pot for value, but also to gauge whether another ten might be out there. One of the spots calls $60 cold from the small blind and the big blind also calls pretty quickly. If you think I’m happy about this development, you would be wrong.

The turn is the 2d and they both check to me. I think the small blind probably has a ten and if he doesn’t have a ten, he probably has threes full. If no one has a full house yet, I still don’t think my jack kicker is super likely to win a showdown, so I check back hoping to fill up on the river and re-evaluate if I don’t.

The river is the 6d and the small blind leads out for $200 and the big blind folds. In addition to my prior concerns, a running flush also got there, so I don’t see any reason to give this much thought and I fold immediately.

Our game went from full to 5-handed in about 15 minutes, with roughly $8000 being picked up off the table. The two presumably weakest players at the table cashed out for over $5500 between them. One of those guys also spanked the 15/30 game for over $2000 profit last week, so for someone I’ve never seen play in the big games before, he must be feeling some kind of adrenaline rush right now.

I played a couple key pots when the game got short and the first one happened when we were 5-handed. I open to $15 with A885 single suited and get two callers. The flop is 882 rainbow and I start by check-calling a bet of $50. I have all the cards worth having here, so raising doesn’t make sense. He either has pocket twos or he’s bluffing and he’s probably not going to stop betting in either scenario. He could be taking a stab with some sort of overpair, but he’s making a pot-sized bet on the flop, so I don’t really think that’s the case.

The turn is a 6 and I check-call 100.

The river is a king and he has about $350 behind. Sure, I could lead out here, but I think if he’s bluffing, he’s still going to fire and if he somehow made a full house along the way, I don’t think he’s going to check back with it. I check, he bombs for $300 and I put him all in. I guess he wasn’t on a total bluff because he put his last $50 or so in and I won a nice pot.

My last key hand of the night came up when we were 4-handed and I’m really conflicted with how I feel about it. I did something pretty dumb. Out of kindness.

I’m playing 4-handed with a dealer from Little Creek, a splashy security guard from Palace, and a really nice regular that normally doesn’t play a long time in PLO. She will stab at it for an hour or two and risk a couple hundred dollars, but today she has built herself up a sizable stack and is hanging around when the game has gotten super short. Last week she invited Dina and me to come by her house (she lives on an island) and use her paddle boards and kayaks around the lake sometime this summer. That extremely friendly gesture is fresh in my mind as this next pot comes up.

She limps in, I make it $20 on the button with 7655 double suited and all three opponents call.

The flop is 985 rainbow, giving me the nut straight, bottom set, and two backdoor flush draws. Uhm. Yum yum. Action checks to the nice regular and she donks out for $80. I make it $300 to go and that clears out the blinds, but she quickly calls. I’m pretty sure she also flopped the nut straight here and with almost no thought before calling after getting raised, I don’t think she has a redraw with it.

The turn card is the 3 of diamonds, so now I have the nuts with flush and full house redraws. She leads out for $300. She probably has about $500-$600 behind. I guess she could have picked up a flush draw also, but I suspect she is mostly donking again because she still has the nuts and thinks she should bet it since the board texture didn’t really change. I’m pretty sure I’m freerolling her face off. So obviously… I call?

The river pairs the 3, giving me a full house and she checks it over to me. I’m pretty sure this is already the biggest pot she’s ever played in this game and I know she just went from having half of it to having none of it, so… I check back?

I felt like I was being nice in the moment – and I was – but it didn’t take me long to regret doing so. I’m sure she would have been really upset to get raised $300 more on the turn and then call off her stack on the river, but she would have gotten over it, and she’s sitting in the game, so there’s always a risk that you are going to lose all the chips in front of you. It’s part of the game. Not only that, but this is my job. I don’t have any other way of making money. It seems pretty dumb to limit my own income being nice when the person I’m being nice to has a job they can go to to replenish whatever they lose. She will be fine. But me leaving that $500 on the table is a car payment I could have covered. It’s inexcusable. If my wife is like wtf when she reads this, I can’t blame her. I’m sorry, honey! It won’t happen again!

Edit: Reading through this post to edit, it also dawned on me that checking the river is bad because when I check back she should believe that she is never losing the whole pot – and rightfully so. So when I checked back – at least for a few brief seconds – she certainly didn’t think she was getting scooped in the biggest pot she’s ever played in this game.

In addition, she still has $500 in front of her. $500 she can still use to take my chips! How dumb am I going to feel when I could have felted her and sent her home, but instead she doubles through me? Or if she loses those chips to the other players at the table? Or how should those players feel if she ends up stacking them when they know I should have stacked her already? These guys probably wouldn’t think that way, but I’ve created a branch of reality that shouldn’t exist. I’m positive if I felted her in that hand she would have left for the night.

It’s a nice reminder that you can be nice in demeanor, but it’s important to always play ruthless poker for many reasons, some of which are purely ethical.

It ended up being a pretty rocky PLO session, but those last few pots helped boost me to +$819 for the day. Prior to the WSOP, I had lost in 6 of my last 7 live PLO sessions for a total of -$5068 and I’ve pretty much erased that entire downswing in my last two sessions and my interest level in PLO has been reinvigorated.

One comment

  1. > but I’ve created a branch of reality that shouldn’t exist.

    I love when your blog gets all metaphysical.

    I also think this line accurately encapsulates some of your mentality about poker and the world..



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