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New for 2014: Small Stakes Solutions!

The mathematics of in-position play in Pot-Limit Omaha from pre-flop to river explained in 5 interactive lectures.
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PLO Pre-flop Strategy

Omaha Money Traps: The rundown on overcalling a 3-bet

“Those skilled at making the enemy move do so by creating a situation to which he must conform; they entice him with something he is certain to take, and with lures of ostensible profit they await him in strength.”
Sun Tzu, The Art of War

This article discusses a common spot in which there is no clear consensus on the correct course of action. I have regulars in my database overcalling a 3-bet with as tight a range as 2% and as wide as 10% of their starting hands. For the purpose of this article we are going to focus on the situation where a player opens from UTG/MP with a tight range, faces a 3-bet from an aggressive BT and we are contemplating a cold-flat in the blinds

1. The reason this situation is particularly interesting is because both of our opponent’s ranges are quite well-defined, which makes for some interesting behavior in the relative strength of our pre-flop hands.

A concept that seems to elude many players is that hand strength is fluid pre-flop in PLO.

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Show 1 footnote

  1. We neglect the cold-flat OTB situation because it occurs less frequently. The most common spot, where the BT steals, SB 3-bets wide and BB is contemplating a call is also worthy of investigation.
By | 2017-04-10T13:22:54+00:00 February 24th, 2015|

Petty Theft: Policing a Small Blind Steal

“Every election is a sort of advance auction in stolen goods”- H.L. Mencken

It is unfortunate that most of us are confronted by thieves only when they have a significant advantage. Although that advantage may take the form of a weapon, or superior brute force, most often it is one of position. Poker, ever the great equalizer, compels us to tolerate the grand larceny of an aggressive button from our vantage in the blinds. Yet it provides one situation in particular whereby an unwise thief may find his ill-gotten gains slip through his fingers. Let us wade into the Battle of the Blinds!

Defending our big blind against a small blind steal with deep stacks is the most structurally advantageous pre-flop situation in Pot-Limit Omaha. The fact that our pre-flop call is guaranteed to close the action elevates this set-up over a button versus loose cut-off set-up. It is curious then that a very large number of players open a very wide range from the small blind when the action is folded around to them. In this article we are going to take some first steps towards an ‘optimal’ big blind defending strategy against a given small blind opening range.
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By | 2017-04-10T13:23:10+00:00 April 1st, 2013|

Snap out of the small stakes slumber

I took a casual browse through a poker room lobby today, from the top then down…down.. all the way down to PLO 50. I was shocked by what I saw. Despite the proliferation of learning tools available to help people improve their game, the overwhelming majority of regulars that I recognized are still playing the exact same stakes that they did 1 year ago. You may be in this category yourself- stuck in a PLO rut, or you may be new to the game and looking to avoid the mistakes of those who have gone before you. Either way, in this article I am going to detail two major leaks: one technical, one mental that hold back 90% of serious players from ever making it out of small stakes. I will caution you that these are not ‘quick-fix’ leaks, I am not selling a “15 minutes to $15k” formula. However, if you take a couple of weeks to focus on them your game will improve dramatically. Grab a piece of paper and a pen, you’ll need some notes for this one…

1) Technical Game: Nature abhors a vacuum

If you want to beat higher stakes games you need to dramatically reduce the number of ‘vacuum plays’ you make in high frequency spots. These tend to be plays which are highly profitable if a number of key assumptions are correct; unfortunately it is this very contingency chain which makes the ‘vacuum play’ too exploitable to be an option against competent opponents.

The most common pre-flop ‘vacuum play’ is a 4bet/fold of KKxx, usually performed from UTG/MP. The reasoning runs as follows, “My opponent will only 5bet AAxx here, and when he calls the 4bet I can play an ultra-low SPR situation perfectly rather than play a 3-bet pot OOP.” Unfortunately, this line is extremely easy to adjust to: you will hold KKxx almost as frequently as you hold AAxx

1 and so your opponent may shove virtually any hand he 3-bet with that does not contain a King and have you fold close to 40% of the time2. To be maximally exploitative he could just flat his Aces and 5-bet everything else. So if you are going to 4bet KKxx when 100BB deep, make sure you 4bet/stack off.

4-bet pots present many opportunities for ‘vacuum errors’, consider this: You 4-bet AA93r BT versus BB at 100BB effective and are confronted with a T72 monochrome flop and an SPR of 1.5. Your ‘nit’ opponent open-shoves into you… do you make a cunning fold to exploit him? (more…)

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Assuming you open-fold some side-cards with KK that you don’t fold with AA.
  2. With an Ace blocker he will see you fold even more frequently
By | 2017-04-10T13:23:11+00:00 March 18th, 2013|