John Beauprez is a PLO cash game pro and entrepreneur who splits his time between Denver, Colorado and Las Vegas, Nevada. He won a WSOP bracelet in a $1,500 Six-Handed No Limit Hold’em tournament in 2013 for a cool $325,000 in cash.

John founded the PLO training site PLOQuickPro in 2010 to help players learn the core fundamentals of PLO, improve their non-showdown winnings and move up in stakes. Last year he created the Bracelet Hunter podcast dedicated to interviewing the most successful WSOP players in today’s games, and allowing them to reveal the proven strategies for succeeding at poker tournaments. With his wealth of live poker experience and his success at the World Series, I’m delighted to have him feature as a guest writer on the blog today.

In this article he explains some key adjustments that online players need to make to their live PLO Strategy. He covers a ton of ground that will make you feel more confident the next time you play PLO offline.

Enjoy!

Three Live PLO Adjustments for Online Players

For online players, there is an understandable lure to playing in big live cash games. In poker, nothing feels better than sitting on a mountain of chips in either…

a big high stakes cash game…

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or deep in a big live tournament…

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Right now it’s the season for online grinders to make the pilgrimage to Las Vegas to compete in the biggest PLO tournaments and cash games in the world, so naturally the timing is perfect to write about live PLO strategy.

As a self-proclaimed PLO pro, one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced in my career was making the transition from aggressive online short-handed games to full-ring deep stacked passive play. Assuming that most of the readers here are primarily winning online players, my goal is to educate you on what I’ve observed to be effective adjustments to playing live poker, all of which I implement in my own game today.

Tip #1: Choose Your Buy-In Based On Table Aggression

Most players mistakenly choose their buy-in amount based on stake, but in reality, selecting the optimal amount of BB’s to come in for depends heavily on the level of table aggression. In the early days of online poker, short-stacking in NL was a highly effective strategy. The combination of “openy” players and their inability to properly adjust to the all in move made 20 tabling an easy task.

In live PLO, limping and passive preflop play is more commonplace. And with the pot-sized re-raising restrictions in place, short-stacking loses its effectiveness because you can’t simply jam over limpers, or re-jam all in like you can in NL. Furthermore, those who choose to buy in short are surrendering an equity edge, because there’s significant profit to be had from “over-nutting” opponents when deep stacked. The average caliber of player is typically lower at small and medium sized games when compared to online, so it’s common to find players who overvalue middle sets and mediocre draws.

Therefore, I typically recommend that competent players buy in as deep as possible (assuming they are adequately bankrolled). Often I advise players to buy in shorter when shot-taking, but that’s not simply because of the monetary buy-in amount, but because shot-taking inherently means higher stakes where from more aggressive games are common. As the number of aggressive openers and three-bettors increases, a short stacking strategy becomes more effective.

Tip #2: The Straddle changes everything

I’ve played games as small as .50/1 and as big as 25/50, and in every game the stakes played considerably bigger than a typical online six-max game. The primary reason is due to frequent and highly encouraged straddling. This is somewhat true in NL as well, but PLO is legendary for it’s gambling nature and the action-starved patrons it attracts. For a recreational player, nothing gets the blood pumping like picking up a big hand on the straddle.

Most Vegas casinos only allow UTG straddles, but in many other casinos (including the Rio during the WSOP) and underground games, Mississippi straddling (straddling the button) is also permitted. Occasionally you’ll even see double straddling. In fact, years ago I played a game at Aria that began as a typical 2/5 game.. But by the end of the night, we changed it to a mandatory straddle of 2/5/10/20/40/80!

Needless to say, frequent straddling results in more action.. Lighter stack offs.. Frequent rebuys.. And deeper stacks than are seen in both online PLO and live NL. For example, buying in for 1.5k at 2/5 is normal, as is coming in for 2-5k at 5/10.