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Playing Plans and Strategies

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  • #16
    I have been learning/playing 1c/2c 6-max PLO for a while and doing reasonably well at single tables playing for around an hour at a time. This is part of a grind for 10,000 hands that I started.

    This morning, after my normal hour ride on the bike, I decided that I wanted the grind to finish quicker and that I should experiment in multi-tabling. My reasoning was that I was doing OK at single tables and it would get the job done quicker.

    I have to say it was not successful, I lost my stack on one table and half of it on the other rather quickly. I found it a very different type of game.

    Whilst multi tabling:

    I couldn’t get a feel for the tables and was unable to make any mental or written notes on any of the players until after the game.

    I found it difficult to adjust to individual players and this meant it was really tough to put anyone on a range and I couldn’t honestly even tell the difference between loose bettors and ‘nut peddlers’.

    My analysis of each hand went out the window, which meant I probably folded to more bluffs, made less hero calls and tended to snap call when I should have raised allowing several annoying outdraws.

    As the game progressed I felt my opening range shrink and I ended up playing only hand value and position. That resulted in a few bad and expensive calls with hands of high value (e.g. under FH) but not the nuts.

    Where did I go wrong many people seem to be able to do this successfully? Does one become a ‘nut peddler’, I rather think I’d become exploitable under those circumstances.

    Is 6-max PLO too much of an action game to multi-table effectively? I do see other players do it.


    • #17
      I’ve been concentrating on learning PLO and I’ve managed to complete my target ‘grind’ of 10,000 hands (10034 hands), played over 146 sessions at the 1c/2c PLO 6-max cash game. Thankfully, I ended with a positive balance of $53.76 (see the graph below), giving me a win rate of 26.8 BB per 100 hands or $0.37 per session. If you believe in the analysis of such a small sample size (see a previous blog ‘Am I a winner? What is the mean length of ants?’) I can be 95% confident that my win rate lies between $0.10 and $0.64 per session.


      Looking back I have really enjoyed playing PLO 6-max cash, it is a real action game. At these low limits (1c/2c) I’ve generally found playing good opening hands and sensible ‘ABC’ poker worked well, although I have been careful to make sure I’m analysing and adjusting my play at each table.

      I had definite periods where I was playing better than other times. I had runs where the cards were favouring me and times when I couldn’t seem to find anything other than bad beats. The period between 6000 and 9000 hands seemed to go nowhere until I had a breakout session. I know I made my fair share of mistakes and sometimes felt annoyed at some of my bad moves and bluffs. I made a mess of one session when I tried and failed at multi-tabling.

      On occasion I played sessions for too long and lost concentration and money. I had moments of boredom, particularly after a dry run of cards, when I just felt the need to push or call in really unfavourable positions. There were some sessions where every hand seemed to hit the nuts and sometimes I felt like I was in total control of my game and the table.

      As I progressed I adjusted my game in response to the lessons I’d learnt in play. At times this was a good thing, at others it resulted in me being too timid and other times in being too aggressive. A couple of times during the grind, I found the variance was very high and so exercised more pot control that reduced variance but may not always have been optimal.

      Overall I think my game has improved over the sessions and I’ve noticed my decisions have become easier to make, although I’ve still a lot to learn.


      A really important part of the grind was the education and I read poker and maths articles, analysed hands EV, watched the excellent recorded training sessions on 6-max cash from Pete ‘Carroters’ Clarke, the informative PLO session videos by Dave ‘The Langolier’ Roemer, Dale ‘Daleroxxu’ Philip, Alexander Kravchenko, Roy ‘GodlikeRoy’ Bhasin, John Paul Kelly, and Andy ‘ahar010’ Harvey. I know the training has still got a long to go and there are many other training and session videos yet to watch.

      I also found posting the occasional hand in the forum helpful with advice coming from Dave ‘The Langolier’ Roemer and others. I think that is an under-utilised resource and would like to post more hands there. I wish there was a more active community in the PLO forum.

      What’s next

      I’m going to move up and try a 10,000 hand grind at the PLO 2c/5c level, possibly both ‘full ring’ and 6-max. I’m sure there will be an improvement in the skill level and maybe just playing ‘ABC’ poker won’t be enough. I will also mix it in with playing a few more PLO tournaments and explore the PLO8 lowest stakes cash game, although I notice there aren’t so many of these games available. I imagine the new challenges will require some adjustment but hopefully can adapt quickly enough not to lose it all.

      If it does not go well I need to know the size of bankroll I need to retain for the 1c/2c game if I need to come back down the stakes. A simple bootstrap analysis of my play over 1000’s of hands suggests that as long as I preserve around 9 ‘buy-ins’ ($18), I should be able to go back to this game without going bust. Using the ‘Risk of Ruin’ formula in The Mathematics of Poker by Bill Chen and Jerrod Ankenman gives a similar result of $17 to reduce the risk of going bust to 1%.

      I’m looking forward to increasing my knowledge, getting more experience playing and will update my progress in subsequent posts.
      Last edited by DrIbbo; Tue Apr 17, 2018, 09:31 AM.


      • #18
        Well.indeed u sure said a mouthful there.very good read thank you.sounds all too familiar.1key point you made for me was maybe sticking to shorter sessions before the brain switches to some sort of autopilot similar to many times ive done the same by playing too long.some other useful points there got me thinking too.thanks again for sharing..


        • #19
          Thanks, oneybiggs I'm sorry if the text was a bit long, but I find writing the blogs helps to keep my mind focussed on the game


          • #20
            Graph didn't load first time so here it is


            • #21
              I don’t know how many players are willing to admit that they are just bad players, but I for one am going to admit it. My recent play has been awful. I spent quite a bit of time learning PLO at the lowest level both 6-max and full-ring, and whilst I know I made mistakes I was able to compensate by benefitting from other players more frequent mistakes.

              That gave me the confidence to move up to the 2c/5c PLO 6-max game but it hasn’t gone well.

              The first mistake I made was to think that the game at this level would not be that different, but it is. The play is much tougher, players disguise their hands better, are more difficult to move off pots, make naked bluffs out of position and generally make better reads.

              The second mistake I made was to let the increased challenge result in a kind of frustration tilt. This comes from aggression not working, so you push harder; your good hands are not being paid off, so you bluff too much; sticky players hit miracle cards so you call them more than you should and so on.

              All this leads to the third mistake such as playing hands like this.

              I’m on the button with Ac, Ah, 3h, 9d and 86 BB. All the players are deep stacked. UTG raises to 3BB and the cut-off calls. The table has been tight so I figure a re-raise has a good chance of taking the pot, or at least narrow the field. I re-raise. The big blind and the UTG both call and we go to the flop 3 handed, with 42BB in the pot.

              The flop comes 2d, 8d, Qc, and it goes check, check to me on the button. I know the villains are going to put a high probability on me having AA, so could set me up for a check raise but with 2 ds and a straight draw on the board I don’t want to give a free card so I decide to shove the pot.

              I’m immediately check raised by the Big Blind, but I have to put 32BB into a pot of 116BB so feel committed and so don’t waste any time thinking and put the rest in. I know he is probably going to show me his set, but he might have a straight and flush combination draw.

              He turns over Qs, Qh, Jh, Tc and I’m looking for an Ace that never comes.

              Or like this one

              I’m on the button with As, 7s, 7h, 3s, all the players are deep stacked. The CO open calls, I call, SB folds and the BB raises, the CO calls the raise as do I. The pot now has 13BB in it

              The flop comes Ts, 6d, 3c and we all check.
              The turn comes 9c and the BB and CO check. I see an opportunity holding 77 to represent the 6 to 10 nut straight and wanting maximum fold equity I bet the pot. The BB calls and CO folds.

              The river card is the worst Kc, which could make a higher straight or flush. The BB checks to me and I’m holding nothing with 39BB in the pot. The only way to win is to bet again, so I try to make it look like I’m making a value bet of 28BB. The BB calls and shows me Kd, Qh, Jh, Jd for the straight.

              I expect many players will look at the way I played these hands and shake their heads in despair, but for now I feel I’m suffering from a very bad case of tilt and so am going to rehab playing the 1c/2c game for a while along with a few micro tournaments until I feel I’m cured.


              • #22
                As an addendum, I have noticed that moving up a level for a while has helped my game at the lower level, so even though moving up wasn't directly successful it has improved my skill level imo. Probably worth the cost of trying the higher level


                • #23
                  Lets face it Pot limit Omaha is a better game than NLHE, there is more action, more opportunities in each hand, the pots are bigger, more often and it is more fun. Yes the variance is high and higher but if you are an adrenalin junky this is the game for you.

                  Take a look at these two hands from one session of 6-max PLO and tell me this isn’t a great game. Remember this is a flop game, so generally there are more opportunities to enter the pot pre-flop as the implied odds are nearly always high.

                  Hand 1.

                  I’m on the button with Ad, 3d, Kc, Jh, there is a bit of action pre flop and four of us go to the flop with 18 BB in the pot. All of us are deep stacked, with over 300 BB behind the villains.

                  The flop comes Qd, Td, 8s

                  Take a look at my hand and count the number of outs to the nuts, when does that happen in NLHE.

                  Now think about the hands you’d like the villains to have and there are three villains.

                  OK it was a pity, the villains all checked to me and my bet initiated four folds. So maybe they all had air, but look at the next one.

                  Hand 2.

                  I’m on the button again with Kd, 8d, Qc, Ts and, not unusually, there is some action pre-flop and we go to the flop four-handed and 14 BB in the pot. Two of us are deep stacked, one medium and one short stacked.

                  The flop comes Ad, Jd, 8c

                  Have a look at this one and count the number of outs, and think about the hands you’d want the villains to hold.

                  Now the action comes, the BB bets the pot, the UTG re-raises, the CO goes all-in and it comes to me. This is the four-course meal at your favourite restaurant. We’re going all-in and so is everyone else. Should we be scared of what the villains are holding? Well yes, they can have AA, JJ, in combination with the same straight draws along with blockers to our flush draws so we haven’t won this yet and our entire stack is under threat, but we are definitely getting +EV by going all-in.

                  Turn 3s and river 7d, I win the 220 BB with the nut flush. The villains had AAK9, 579T (2d), 688T

                  I admit I am still learning PLO, reckon I’m about one third of the way up the learning tree and I have posted examples of PLO hands in the forum, one where I get crushed by quads. Unfortunately, it is not a very active forum in comparison to the NLHE forum, reflecting the higher popularity of NLHE.

                  But I for one am going to continue pushing PLO as the game of choice.


                  • #24
                    Continuing my PLO education I thought I’d have a dip into playing the low stakes PLO Zoom version. If anyone can remember the fights in the original batman show when the screen fills with words like ‘Biff, Boff, Thwack, Kapow’, well that is what low stakes PLO Zoom is like.

                    By that I mean the games I played in were exceptionally aggressive both pre-flop and post flop. I have to admit it took a bit of getting used to and I managed to lose my entire stack in the first 7 hands. I felt like I’d come out with two black eyes. Normal low stakes 6-max cash PLO is sedentary by comparison.

                    Not being one to take this loss badly, I tightened my belt and went back in for another round. This time I managed to survive a quick 94 hands and make a little more than I’d just lost.

                    Despite the volatility I did enjoy the rapid action and whilst I could see there were some good regulars playing, it does have some advantages over playing normal tables. Obviously, the quick fold option means you can move through a series of dry hands quickly. This is great, but I found that tempted me into the trap of making quick decisions when I had a playable hand. I had to retain discipline to take the time to think about these.

                    To me the biggest advantage is that it can be played for short periods of time. If I’ve only got 20 to 30 minutes before I’m doing something else I wouldn’t bother loading up a cash table because I know by the time I’ve sat down and waited for the blinds, I’ll probably only get 15 to 20 hands played. With Zoom, that is not the case. I didn’t time my experience above but the whole process probably took less than 20 minutes and I got as much poker in as I would in a couple of hours at a normal cash table. I know I’m late to saying it, but I think it is a great invention for busy people.

                    I won’t be playing Zoom all the time but I will sneak in and play a quick 100 hands occasionally when I’ve got small amounts of spare time.


                    • #25
                      I dont think you played either hand terrible IMO. Don't beat yourself up. In the first hand you 3 bet AA and on the flop the SPR and flop texture here make betting big one of the only plays you have, half the deck is going to be bad for your hand on the turn and river , and folding would be terrible. You could reduce variance and consider flat calling AAxx unconnected here when playing this deep and the table is calling all 3 bets like this as bad AAxx hands play very well multi-way, .
                      Bracelet Winner


                      • #26
                        Thanks nohooknoodle for taking the time to comment, I guess you are right in that the hands weren't played really badly. I think the big mistake in the first hand is that I'm making hand reading easy for the opponents and setting myself up for the easy check raise. In that hand I either win the smaller pot if the villains have nothing or lose the lot if they have made a hand.

                        In the second hand the final bet was foolish, I misread the hand and should have realised the BB was pot controlling with the intention of calling rather than checking with the intention to fold.


                        • #27
                          When one is trying to achieve something I think it is always good to produce a progress report. This can be done so peers can judge progress or to help with personal discipline. In my case I’m doing it because I need to review how I’m getting along.

                          In some previous posts I’ve tried to record my experiences and at the beginning of this year in posts ‘Playing plans and strategies’ and ‘Learning PLO. End of a 1c/2c grind, what next?’ I set myself 2 main objectives for the year.

                          These were:

                          To manage my bankroll upwards by playing PLO cash games and tournaments.

                          To improve as a PLO player and make progress up the stakes.

                          So here it is in tabulated form

                          Table 1. Pot Limit Omaha results by format 1 January 2018 to 30 June 2018
                          Cash (Format) Hands Profit/Loss ($) Win Rate BB/100
                          $2 6-handed 13034 56.74 21.8
                          $2 Full-ring 7129 33.23 23.3
                          $2 Zoom 578 1.25 10.8
                          $5 6-handed 1252 -47.42 -75.6
                          $5 Full-ring 170 -6.56 -77.2
                          Total 37.24
                          Tournaments No. of Ts Profit/Loss ($) ROI (%)
                          Micro up to $5.5 69 -13.11 -13.1%
                          Total 24.13

                          Clearly the effort/reward ratio puts me firmly at the recreational end of poker play. Luckily, I enjoy playing poker and particularly PLO, so I'm not worried. I have been very careful to meet my first objective so have only taken profit from the $2 stakes to play at the $5 stakes and in tournaments.

                          Turning to each objective, I have managed to increase my bankroll, but I would have increased it more had I not tried to meet my second objective. To try and improve my game I have done a great deal of studying by reading a number of books and watching videos, but I cannot present any evidence that my game has improved markedly (yet). This makes me wonder whether the two objectives are incompatible. Perhaps playing at the $2 game too much does not allow you to learn and improve. The problem is the rate of bleeding at the $5 game has been very extreme which did not allow much practice there. I shall have to stem those losses over the next 6 months if I am to make progress upwards.

                          When it comes to tournaments I haven’t played enough, one good result can turn my ROI highly positive, so I’ll wait patiently for that.

                          So I shall keep going on this grind over the next 6 months whilst continuing to study the game. To date I have not used a HUD or any tracking software and wonder whether this might help, in particular with analysing my own game. This is something I need to consider as I think there might be parts of my game where I’m losing money but I can’t see it clearly. However, it is quite an investment for a recreational player on an earn rate of around $50 a year.


                          • #28
                            Wow, it is tough to find time to play poker between work and the school holidays. Now the kids are at home there are demands to entertain them that, frankly, have to be met ahead of poker. That has meant weeks away on holiday in wild places where internet doesn’t exist. Even in the short time gaps when we are home, being away from work means more catching up there.

                            So all I’ve managed over the last couple of months is to snatch a quick game here and there. All is not lost though as I find reading about poker almost as good as playing. So to meet my poker fix I have managed to sneak a couple of poker books into my bag on the holidays and that counts as training. We’ll see if that raises my game once I get back to normal life in September.

                            It reminds me though, how playing poker for working/family members is a different game than for the young, free and single. When you have to work the next morning and maintain a relationship with your family it has always been difficult to play tournaments that last 8-9 hours and finish in the early hours on any sort of regular basis. Cash games are easier, because you can complete a session within an hour, lunchtimes or when the kids have just gone to bed.

                            Anyway, I’m sure there are lots of poker players in my position after all we aren’t all young, single, commitment free individuals. So apart from our other commitments we’ll still find time for some poker, playing and training, still with the objective of progressing upwards and all without neglecting the other important parts of our lives.



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