PLO8 Research and Reviews
I have always been more fond of European players (as a whole) over American players. I'm sure you already know this from so many of my rants. At any rate, I figured my more serious responses would come from that side of the pond, which has proven correct.
Ray Zee's book is great for limit, but mentions nothing about PLO8 or PLO. I believe Stuart Reuben has a good book about PLO, in general. I don't have it yet, but plan to purchase it online for my library, even if I don't play the game much in the future, or limit my play to PLO8 tournaments.
Steve Badger has no books available for purchase, but posts all of his strategies online free for all. He has a very good grasp of split games, and Omaha games, IMO. He is a southern California player, so some of his strategies need to be adjusted (sometimes we need to lure in our competition, not bet him out of the pot. As a player in southern CA, he knows they will never fold, but will call and raise pot-sized bets, so he prefers betting right out). In general, though, I think he has the most winning strategy available, especially for online play, since that is where my experience comes from.
Here is his strategy for "good" games. Tell me what you think.
Here is his strategy for high only. I don't think I would be as successful in that game, but who knows! I have read the strategy and it seems sound, yet I do not have any real experience.
I have played on Stars, FTP and UB. I feel the games at UB to be the best overall (at the micro-limit levels). Although the max buy-in is smaller, and that is a handicap, the players are much more loose with that buy-in, and go all-in more often. I also like the 10-handed table versus 9-handed. I usually prefer a smaller table in other games, including O8, but in pot-limit, I feel that my hand is strengthened by adding an additional player, and I feel I get paid out more, overall, with that tenth man in the hand. The games seem to stay better, longer, too. So that is a consideration. FTP plays pretty slowly. I wouldn't suggest single tabling there, but probably some good money could be made multi-tabling, because the games seem to stay good for a decent amount of time.
One thing that I enjoy in PLO8 is limping into many pots. Not only does it give me a bigger view on the kind of hands that will build a big pot for me later, but it gives me more experience playing in a variety of situations. In LO8, that is never a factor, we simply must play tight all of the time. Dumping a hand early post-flop is nothing new for me. I don't have a problem with it, I have gotten used to it in limit games, and I never have a need to "chase" after a pot that I have put little equity into. It's not my style, and I know it's not correct strategy.
Passive overcalling and trying to trap opponents is second nature to me. Having started my poker journey playing 1-5 Stud, that is all I ever did. I got used to a certain style, a flair, and going back to that is like coming home after a long, dangerous journey, lol ;)
When I flop or turn a hand that is a favorite to scoop or 3/4th, I can see it clearly. It is a matter of just a little experience (nothing like the years you need in Stud games). In those cases, I usually want the pot big, early. That is not the most common scenario. Most of the time I try to keep the pot small early. The biggest mistake that I see in these micro-blind games is opponents who try to make the pot huge with a hand that is sure to be beat by the river, or split, at best. He is risking everything to get his money back or less.
PLO8 is more about luring them in, trapping them with a made hand, rather than a drawing hand. Suck them in, don't bet them out, most of the time the only calls you will get will be people you don't want in there, not the people you desperately want to keep, like the 2nd nut draws.
The worst feeling, the most gut wrenching, is when you are quartered or scooped yourself. Avoiding this isn't nearly as hard to do as it is in LO8. It is a matter of paying attention and some experience. Not a lot of experience. Not a lifetime, like Stud and HE games, but more just getting used to the type of hands that a player will play to scoop you, and who that player is. If you mutli-table, I would expect this to happen more often to you. If you stick to one table (just one more reason that PLO8 usually isn't a "good" game), you will avoid being scooped pretty successfully. Obviously, sometimes it's unavoidable, and those aren't the times I'm speaking of.
In conclusion, I will repeat that cash game PLO8 isn't for me. Since I took so long to finish this post (chemo is hell), I have already started my experiment with tournament PLO8. I have only one under my belt, but I can already see that it will be a profitable venture and much more interesting than cash games. I made some sure mistakes, but that is predictable.
I maintain that the type of player that will mostly likely be successful at cash game PLO8 is a player who has a ton of patience, can table hop quickly, does not mind site-hopping as well, does not get frustrated playing at a table for sometimes only five minutes (due to table conditions), does not tilt, does not chase, and can adjust to a variety of conditions. He will be able to look at his hand versus the texture of the flop, and know when to continue on, trap, bet the pot, raise, or get out of the hand completely. It sound like a complex skill set, but in reality, this guy has to be a rockish, patient grinder, who can exercise good table selection.
I hope you have enjoyed my research, and I'll leave you with a list I created in order to help me at the cash game tables.
1) Play more flops than LO8
2) Release more hands after flop
3) Be prepared to release current nuts on occasion
4) Ask "what hand do I want to make?"
5) Try to win big pots, not small pots
6) Don't get scooped