Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Adventures In Omaha

Been having (mostly) fun on the $50 Pot Limit Omaha tables on Pokerstars over the last few nights.

I consider myself very much as a beginner at this game. I'm still struggling to get to grips with what does and doesn't constitute a pre-flop raising hand, so I tend to play very tight-passive pre-flop, and hope to hit a monster, or at very least a nut draw.

Based on my reading to date, this isn't optimum strategy, but it seemed to be working pretty well for me. I was generally finishing each session with a reasonable profit.

The texture of the Stars tables can change very quickly. Some tables see seven players to every flop, with no raise. Others see three or four at most, with often a raise and re-raise.

On the madder tables, I've been going even tighter, and letting others do the betting into me when I hit.

Last night I decided to attempt a step forward in my strategy, by going into tight-aggressive mode, and leading the betting more often, as the books recommend.

I was not seeing many flops but generally opening for a raise wherever I got the opportunity.

The results were less than stellar. A few times I did get outdrawn by marginal hands, but mostly I just blew money away, betting out with 2nd best hands, or hammering draws that missed.

Most memorably on a 9-high flop I held an overpair and an open ended straight draw.

My pot size bet on the flop got one caller. The turn missed me but I made another pot size bet, which was called, and again missed the river.

Leaving me with a grand total of not very much, as there are now overcards to my pair.

By now it's pretty damn obvious I'm beat. Equally it seems to me I'm going to get called if I bluff into a pretty big pot. So, I check, expecting to fold to a bet.

My opponent checks behind, and shows 99xx for the flopped top set, which was the stone cold nuts at that point!! So with a medium top set on a drawing board, he simply called my bet.

That's the sort of play the books can't legislate for. Some players seem to make up their mind on the flop that they have a hand, and they are seeing a showdown, come-what-may.

Playing too aggressively I was blundering into their 'trap' - effectively handing the cash over without resistance.

Of course when my draws do hit, these are the guys who will pay off big time, but I need to be more discerning about picking my moments to bet.

90 minutes of all-action play saw me down two buy-ins. An exciting, but expensive, way to pass the time.

By now I was feeling pretty tilty, so I logged out and took a breather.

Once I'd calmed down, I returned to the fray, and reverted to my more passive style.

A short session before bed saw me recover a percentage of the losses.

I know it's not recommended to go back to the tables in these circumstances, but sleep would not have come easy otherwise. I hate ending on a down note.

Still in the red for the night, but feeling much better about things, it was off to bed for a sound sleep.

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