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In at the deep end: Try something new at the 2018 SCOOP
This year's SCOOP is packed with tournaments that cater for every poker player, no-matter what their chosen game, with weird and wonderful variants, and different formats you might not even know the rules for. Don't let that hold you back and don't just stick to NLHE because you feel safe – it's time to broaden your horizons and jump into the deep end of SCOOP.

Arm yourself with these essential tips for five variants you may not be so familiar with.

Time to try…. BADUGI

Friday May 18
$11 Badugi
$15,000 guaranteed

What is it?
Badugi shares a lot of similarities with lowball games (the lowest hand wins) but plays with a different hand ranking system. It's played with four cards rather than five and you're looking for a low hand with no pairs where each card is a different suit – this is called a badugi. Aces are low, so the best hand is A-2-3-4 with all cards a different suit (straights don't count). If neither player has a badugi at showdown the best incomplete hand wins. A three-card hand beats a two-card hand, and so on.

Tip 1 - Starting hands

A pat badugi is obviously a strong hand and should be played aggressively, but you might want to show caution from early position if it's a weak one. A hand with three low cards five or under is good enough to raise from early position and you can loosen up on the button, where a hand with two cards five or under is good enough to play.

Tip 2 - Playing the draws

If you draw fewer cards than your opponent you should bet regardless of whether you improved or not. If you draw the same number of cards, but you had the betting lead before the draw, you should usually carry on betting. If you were ahead before the draw you're likely to still be ahead now. One big mistake that novices play is to fold too much if they don't make their badugi on the final draw. It's not easy to make one and A-2-3-x is an excellent bluff catcher.

Time to try…. 5-card No Limit Omaha!

Friday May 11
$5.50 5-Card NLO (6-Max, Turbo)
$20,000 guaranteed

What is it?
Why is there so much action in Omaha? Well, standard Omaha – with four hole cards – gives you six different combinations of hold'em hands. But why stop there? In 5-Card Omaha, each starting hand gives you 10 different combinations for the ultimate draw-heavy game. This tournament is no-limit and a 6-max turbo format as well just for good measure.  

Tip 1 - Keep it tight

5-Card Omaha is incredibly good fun and also massively swingy, so you should play it just for the blast if nothing else. We'd recommend playing conservatively with premium starting hands, and ideally that means five connected cards. However, you should also be playing hands with four good connected cards – the dangler rule from Omaha isn't so important here. Having all five cards contribute is obviously the ideal.

Tip 2 - Avoid the dominator

Don't play hands that will be dominated. So avoid low pocket pairs, low suited cards that will make low flushes, and low-to-middle straight hands. All of these can land you in big trouble, especially out of position. More than ever, you're looking for nut hands and hands that can draw to the nuts.

Time to try…. 8-Game Mix!

Saturday May 12
$22 8-Game
$40,000 guaranteed

What is it?
Poker doesn't start and end with no-limit hold'em and this tournament is the place to prove yourself as the best all-rounder in the world. Eight games will stretch your knowledge of poker to the extreme and will invariably find a lot of players out. Not you though…

Tip 1 - Rules of the game

Read up on the rules from all the different formats (limit 2-7 triple draw, limit hold'em, limit Omaha eight or better, razz, limit seven card stud, limit stud eight or better, no-limit hold'em, pot limit Omaha….and breathe!) and pay close attention to what game you're playing. You'll be amazed how many people make crucial mistakes because they're playing a different game. Also, a lot of people simply won't know the rules or basic strategies for all of the games – especially at the Low buy-in level.

Tip 2 - Stick to the stuff you know

All players have stronger games and weaker games. If you know that one or two of the games are weak for you, just play them conservatively and try to make progress in the games where you're a favourite. If you don't like razz then just play nut hands and don't get yourself tangled up in spots where you don't know where you stand.

Time to try….PLO Win The Button!

Friday May 18
$22 PLO (6-Max, Win the Button)
$75,000 guaranteed

What is it?
Six-max PLO is action-packed at the best of times, but this adds the Win the Button element too for added craziness. If you win a pot you also win the button for the next hand. And that's a good thing.

Tip 1 - Stand up for yourself

You should always try to get a handle on the players two to your right and two to your left, but in Win the Button tournaments it's critical. You really want tight, passive players on your right, but if you end up with aggro players you're going to have to play back at them or your stack will be decimated. It goes without saying that a PLO (aggro), 6-max (aggro), Win the Button (aggro) tournament will be aggro-max so don't play like a wallflower, unless you like losing.

Tip 2 - Blind aggression

The big shift you have to make in strategy is in the big blind, where you need to defend much wider, especially from small blind and button attacks. If either of these two win the hand you'll be in the blinds again the following hand – and that's something you really want to avoid. Conversely, if you're the button and you open then you can expect the blinds to defend lighter with a wider range of hands. 

Time to try…. Progressive Knockout!

Friday May 18
$5.50 NLHE (3-Max, Progressive KO, Zoom, Turbo)
$75,000 guaranteed

What is it?
There are plenty of SCOOP tournaments that cater for action junkies, but this is the ultimate if you play just NLHE. Three-max means that you'll be in the blinds two out of every three hands and it's also a Progressive KO turbo and Zoom, which means if you don't like what you've been dealt you can quick fold and see another immediately.

Tip 1 - Ramp up the aggression

This tournament presents a really interesting dynamic that a lot of players at the Low buy-in level just won't appreciate. On a full-ring Zoom table you can quick-fold weak hands out of position, but in three-max you must defend from the blinds more. A lot of people won't get that and will just quick-fold, leaving you to mop up chips. Take advantage, ramp up the aggression (don't be folding or limping buttons) and be prepared to play back at extremely wide button raises.

Tip 2 - Playing the short stack

Playing a short stack in a 3-Max Progressive KO Turbo Zoom tourney is about as hard as it gets. But remember that you've only go to get your shoves past two people and you must shove lighter. Paying the blinds two out of every three hands is a recipe for disaster if you're short and you try quick-folding your way to a premium hand.

And there's more... Check our Poker Forum for more chances to win!


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