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Reading opponents in PLO

This is a post about Pot Limit Omaha strategy. This game is known to have even more variance than NLHE. This means that you can lose or win a lot of money very fast. Winning money is possible, and one of the keys is to understand each one of your opponents.

What are the things to look for in the other players at the table? Here is a list of the things I consider when I play PLO:

Consistency of betting amounts. How does he vary his bet size? If this player usually pot bets, but sometimes he bets less at the flop such as 60 or 80% of the pot, make sure to take a note if there is a showdown. Does he bet less with monsters, or does he bet less with his draws?

Pre flop raising requirements. At one extreme there are the players who never raise. Rare but highly valuable if you find one, as they let you limp with a wide range of hole cards. Another fish type is the player who only raises with KK or AA, as they do not raise more valuable hands preflop such as KQT9 double suited.

Limping in multi way pots. With what hands does he enter such pot before the flop? You should love to spot players who limp with weak hands such as middle pair only or middle suited cards. Very often he will put all of his chips in the middle with bottom set or a queen high flush.

Flop betting range. Does he play his strong draws aggressively or does he prefer to get a free card? Does he bet with top pair, two pairs, or does he need at least middle set to open bet at the flop? Some aggressive players always play fast as a continuation bet if they raised before the flop. Some of them are Texas Hold ‘em players who have not yet adapted their c-betting frequency, make sure to keep a note of that.

The nuts factor. How close does he have to be to the nuts to put his whole stack in the middle? As before make sure to look at the showdowns to keep track of how prudent or imprudent he is. Rock types only shove with the near-nuts, while other looser players do not hesitate to do it with the third or even fourth nut flush or with top straight when there is a pair on the board.

If you can pay attention to all above factors, you have a nice summary of each PLO player at your table. You need to do that to beat them and take their money.

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Monday, July 26th, 2010 online poker Comments Off on Reading opponents in PLO

Anatomy of a tilt

As I have a tendency to tilt too much, I thought I would sit down an analyze what is going on. I believe as a poker player, understanding and mastering tilt is a major skill, as this has a large effect on your bankroll.

One typical scenario goes as follows:

I am losing slowly. I am sitting at pokerstars playing four tables of NL100. It seems not much is going on. I am not getting good cards pre or post flop. So my stacks all decrease slowly like under the influence of a fast paced erosion. This obviously does not put me in a great mood already.

In addition it seems that I miss all my draws. This adds to the fire of my rising anger. If this was not enough, I try a few continuation bet bluffs and I face a monster once, losing a good chunk of my stack. I get raised a lot pre and post flop, and this annoys me and makes it even worse. Because it feels like the other players at the table are able to play me like a puppet.

So I fold most of the times to these raises, but when I decide to take a stand and to defend my hand, I am against a big hand. Then I pre flop raise AK, miss the flop but got donk bet. This is aggravating as this is the case of a donk calling station making a donk bet, and if I had not missed this would have been the opportunity to take a big pot, but instead this makes me feel even lower.

Finally I cannot take the aggression anymore. A few hands later I reraised at the flop when I have two pairs but got 3-bet. This normally signals a very strong hand in this type of game and the prudent route is to fold as I have no strong draw to back me up. But given how pissed off I am already, I call and end up losing my entire stack to a set.

I could feel it when I got 3-bet, but it was stronger than me, I could not resist calling, as if to say “Ok, you want my stack so much, just take it”, in great desperation.

And that is it I have reached the climax of my tilt and I cannot take it anymore. I am not reloading as I know I have totally lost it and cannot play poker anymore. Only one option for me at this stage: leave the tables and go hit my head on the wall…

So after this self-analysis, the point is: tilting is when I am losing and I lose even more; I cannot stand losing and I lose my self-control in this situations.

Remedy: I need to read about self-control (blogs and books) and be systematic about learning to control myself. Self-awareness first, self-control next. The great players control their tilt, so this must be my goal as well.

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Sunday, April 18th, 2010 online gambling Comments Off on Anatomy of a tilt